“I have instructed my representatives to stop negotiating until after the election when, immediately after I win, we will pass a major Stimulus Bill that focuses on hardworking Americans and Small Business,” tweeted President Donald Trump on the afternoon of Tuesday, October 6th. Immediately, the stock market took a dive, falling more than 600 points. It recovered a little, but still ended the day 376 points lower than it began.
Trump’s statement, and all the wild assumptions in it, isn’t good news for many Americans. 11 million jobs are missing, and the unemployment rates is nearly 8%. Entire industries are critically disrupted. Many Americans are doing worse now than they were at the beginning of lockdown, when the first stimulus package included a $600 support payment for the unemployed. That ran out in July. Trump signed an executive order to bolster unemployment benefits by a weekly $300, borrowing that money from FEMA, but it ran out almost immediately in many states, and now FEMA is underfunded while California burns down and the Gulf Coast floods weekly.
It is hard to read his latest statement about stimulus as anything less than a hostage note. If he doesn’t win, will he instruct ‘his’ representatives to still pass that bill? It wouldn’t be consistent with his previous behavior. If he does win, how will he address the current hang-ups in the bill, such as the USPS and where the money is meant to come from in the first place?
“Our Economy is doing very well,” tweeted the President just a few days ago. “The Stock Market is at record levels and unemployment… also coming back in record numbers.”
Leaving aside unemployment, which is the highest it has ever been coming into a Presidential election… The stock market is not the economy, for most of us. Minimum wage is the economy for most Americans. Rent and the cost of health care is the economy. The stock market is only the economy for the wealthy. Perhaps this nose dive will wake a few of them up.