Dear President Trump:
A year ago today you took the oath of office as our 45th President. On that day I kept track of certain benchmarks and promised I would compare them against where they were on January 20, 2018.
To give credit its due, the economy continues to do well:
- The Dow Jones increased substantially from 19,732.40 to 26,071.72. The NASDAQ rose from 5540.08 to 7336.38 while the S&P went from 2663.69 to 2810.30.
- The unemployment rate decreased from 4.7% to 4.1% and most people think we are essentially at full employment. The labor force (the number of people working) increased from 123,570,000 to 125,990,000.
And while I do give you credit, I do want to say that if you insist on claiming credit for success, you will also be held responsible for a downturn. The current bull market began in March of 2009 (the third month of the Obama administration).
For reasons I don’t fully understand, the national debt (the amount of money our nation owes) has remained around the same at $20 trillion. The federal deficit (the difference between what we collect and what we spend) rose from $590 billion to $666 billion. This will likely increase as your tax bill will bring in less money and no serious economist believes your promise that it will pay for itself.
You promised to repeal the Affordable Care Act and despite your best efforts you failed at this. Nevertheless, you were able to increase the number of uninsured Americans from 11% to 11.7%. Since your tax bill eliminated the individual mandate we can expect this number to go up.
And finally, the number that surprises me the most is your approval rating. Last year 38% of Americans had a positive view of you, and it dropped only to 37%. Frankly I expected to to be lower and I give you props for that.
Those are the benchmarks I noted a year ago. As I had no way of looking into the future I couldn’t have known which stories would frame your first year in office. Let me run down a few:
- You can’t seem to keep your employees. You can see the article here, but here is a partial list of people who were once employed by you are no longer are (I’ve made this list alphabetical): Steve Bannon, James Comey, Mike Dubke, Michael Flynn, Sebastian Gorky, Tom Price, Reince Priebus, Sean Spicer, Anthony Scaramucci, and Sally Yates. Some quit, some were fired, but all left before they intended
- Other than the tax plan, you’ve implemented virtually none of what you promised. Don’t get me wrong, I’m happy about this, but you made vast promises both on the campaign trail and in the White House. You promised to repeal the Affordable Care Act, build a wall on the Mexican border (and have Mexico pay for it), and end (or keep) DACA.
- Most of us fear the fact that you have the ability to launch nuclear weapons. Your famous thin skin and overreactions to perceived slights didn’t matter much when you were a private citizen but they matter now. Your position on the world stage put you in contention with North Korean dictator Kim Jung Un who is developing the ability to launch his own nuclear weapons. Your boast about having a bigger button (that I wrote about here) tells us that you and Kim are little boys with loaded guns.
Finally, as I write this the U.S. Government has run out of money. Your party controls both houses of the Legislative Branch, the Executive Branch, and (one can argue) the Judicial Branch. And yet you are not able to sign a bill to keep our government working. Government employees who are not designated “essential” can’t work and those who are essential are working without pay.
Mr. President, count on another post on January 20, 2019.