By Pam Martens and Russ Martens: June 15, 2017
A new poll is out from the Associated Press/NORC Center for Public Affairs Research at the University of Chicago. It doesn’t bode well for Donald Trump’s presidency nor for the U.S. economy. Despite Wall Street’s century-old propaganda campaign to convince Washington that it controls the levers to economic growth in the U.S., and thus must be placated on its every desire, informed citizens understand that economic power rests in the hands of the consumer in a nation where two-thirds of GDP is consumer spending.
Likewise, consumer confidence in the President of the United States impacts one’s willingness to open the purse strings and buy. The thinking is: if the country is headed in the wrong direction, how safe is my job? Perhaps I should stop spending and put money away for a rainy day.
The new poll shows that 64 percent of Americans disapprove of the job Trump is doing. Particularly troubling for a democracy, 65 percent say he doesn’t respect the country’s institutions and traditions. On specific issues, 66 percent disapprove of his handling of health care; 64 percent disapprove of his handling of climate change; 63 percent disapprove of his handling of foreign policy; 60 percent disapprove of his handling of immigration and 55 percent disapprove of how he’s handling the economy.
The poll comes on the heels of data out of the Federal government showing worrying economic trends. Job growth in May fell sharply with a tepid 138,000 new jobs created versus an anticipated growth of 185,000 jobs according to data released by the Department of Labor on June 2. Retail sales also declined in May. The U.S. Commerce Department reported yesterday that retail sales fell 0.3 percent in May versus an expected gain of 0.1 percent.
Consumer confidence isn’t getting any boost from Congress either. The only political body in Washington with a lower approval rating than the President is Congress. According to the poll, 75 percent of Americans disapprove of the way Congress is doing its job.
The AP-NORC poll was conducted June 8-11 among 1,068 adults. It used a sample designed to be representative of the U.S. population.
Wall Street On Parade warned about the lack of confidence in either of the two leading candidates, Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump, in September of last year, two months before the election. We emphasized the impact this could have on the U.S. economy going forward. (See The Next President of the United States and the Economy.)
We compared the scandal-plagued records of Clinton and Trump to Senator Bernie Sanders, who had served in the House and then Senate for a quarter of a century with distinction and without scandal. (Sanders was thwarted in his campaign for President by a deeply conflicted Democratic National Committee.) We wrote that Sanders understood what was ailing America just as Franklin Delano Roosevelt had after the financial crash in 1929 and the early 30s. We noted:
“Sanders further points out that almost everything FDR proposed was called socialist at the time. He writes: ‘Social Security, which transformed life for the elderly in this country was socialist. The concept of the minimum wage was seen as a radical intrusion into the marketplace and was described as socialist. Unemployment insurance, abolishing child labor, the 40-hour work week, collective bargaining, strong banking regulations, deposit insurance, and job programs that put millions of people to work were all described, in one way or another, as socialist. Yet, these programs have become the fabric of our nation and the foundation of the middle class.’
“The reality was that FDR put the policies in place to allow a more humane form of capitalism to succeed in America. Those restraints are desperately needed again today.
“What does it say about the American system of elections when a voice of substance and reason like that of Senator Bernie Sanders can be kicked to the curb while two deeply discredited and disliked candidates enter the last leg of the campaign for the highest office in the land?”
The Congressional and Special Counsel investigations of Russian meddling in our elections may be thinking too narrowly. The public also needs answers as to why a man trusted by the American people, who exuded kindness and compassion, who turned out tens of thousands of people to his rallies, was denied a fair chance at becoming President.