Coming to Terms with a Donald Trump Presidency
Politics and politicians have a long history of creating tension and being the source of disagreements and arguments. This has been true as long as I can remember and throughout my adult life. It doesn’t matter who is President or which political party control the House or Senate, there are always plenty of people griping and unhappy about the state of affairs and the direction of the country.
Of course, there are periods of time when relatively smaller portions of the populace are greatly disgruntled but there’s always a sizeable chunk of the electorate who are disenchanted. This was true under Presidents Nixon, Carter, Reagan, Bush, Clinton, Bush, and Obama. President Trump has had plenty of detractors, including within his own political party.
To some people’s surprise, President Trump’s approval numbers are almost identical at this point in his first term to President Obama’s. That may not be great news for the GOP in the upcoming midterms though. Remember that President Obama’s party (Democrats) suffered major losses in his first Congressional mid-term election.
Before I get into discussing more about President Trump, I must disclose up front that I find most politicians “lacking.” It was highly disappointing to me that in the 2016 Presidential election we had the two final candidates that we did (a feeling that I’ve often had when considering the final choices I’ve had in many other elections at all levels of government). In a country with over 300 million people, can’t we do better than Hillary Clinton versus Donald Trump?!
I remember back in November, 2008 when President Obama was elected. The economy was in decline, layoffs were mounting, the country was tired of costly Middle East wars and to top all that off, conservatives were dismayed by the election of a very liberal and relatively young politician with no real-world business experience to be President. In the months right after that election, stock prices continued their sharp declines and talk was in the air of another Depression.
Those who tossed in the towel and sold their stocks because of their political dislike of President Obama have ended up missing out on one the greatest bull markets in U.S. stocks in history. Those who followed my advice stayed invested even if they didn’t care for President Obama’s political orientation.
In November 2016, when President Trump won the election, overnight stock prices/futures sold off sharply. Many liberal commentators were apoplectic and distraught. Consider the following excerpts from the liberal and cranky “economics” writer Paul Krugman in his New York Times column entitled “The Economic Fallout” which was published just before 1 am on election night:
It really does now look like President Donald J. Trump, and markets are plunging. When might we expect them to recover?
Frankly, I find it hard to care much, even though this is my specialty. The disaster for America and the world has so many aspects that the economic ramifications are way down my list of things to fear.
Still, I guess people want an answer: If the question is when markets will recover, a first-pass answer is never.
Under any circumstances, putting an irresponsible, ignorant man who takes his advice from all the wrong people in charge of the nation with the world’s most important economy would be very bad news. What makes it especially bad right now, however, is the fundamentally fragile state much of the world is still in, eight years after the great financial crisis…
Now comes the mother of all adverse effects — and what it brings with it is a regime that will be ignorant of economic policy and hostile to any effort to make it work. Effective fiscal support for the Fed? Not a chance. In fact, you can bet that the Fed will lose its independence and be bullied by cranks.
So, we are very probably looking at a global recession, with no end in sight. I suppose we could get lucky somehow. But on economics, as on everything else, a terrible thing has just happened.
I suppose if President Trump were to tweet about Krugman’s misguided missive, he could rightfully refer to “Clueless” Paul Krugman and be correct. I’ve written previously about Krugman’s terrible economic prognostication track record. His election night predictions have been (thankfully) terribly wrong.
In summary, I’d like to bring you back to a column I wrote last year about how much/little power the President of the United States actually has. Please keep that in mind, especially if the current or a future occupant of the Oval Office isn’t from your political party of choice.
One of the keys to managing your personal finances and investments well is to be dispassionate and to keep your composure. Don’t let Donald Trump being President upset you and get in the way of your making good financial decisions. You can have whatever opinion you wish about his personality but be able to recognize his strengths, accomplishments and capabilities. If hearing around the clock criticism adds to your unhappiness with his being in office, tune out most of such coverage (from outlets like MSNBC, CNN and the New York Times) and be sure to counterbalance your consuming such coverage with getting some news and opinions from media outlets (like Fox News and the Wall Street Journal) that don’t think he’s the devil in disguise!