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Vacationing Mnuchin, Paranoid TV-Junkie Trump Push S&P to Worst Christmas Ever

When Rand Paul and I Tweet silly stuff in the slow news days before Christmas, nothing bad happens. When the Trump Administration uses Twitter, it sends the stock market into a Christmas Eve power dive:

Google snapshot of S&P 500, January 2–December 24, 2018.
Google snapshot of S&P 500, January 2–December 24, 2018.

On Monday, the Standard & Poor’s 500-stock index closed in a bear market, meaning the longest bull market for stocks in modern U.S. history has officially come to an end. (A bear market is a 20 percent decline from the all-time high, which occurred in September.)

…Markets fell further after Mnuchin put out a statement Sunday saying he had spoken with the heads of America’s six largest banks and had been told “they have ample liquidity” to keep lending. Almost no one was worried about this — until Mnuchin said he was monitoring it during time away from a vacation in Mexico.

…Analysts’ read on Mnuchin’s statement is that he either made a mistake or he knows something few others know. Neither scenario is likely to reassure investors.

“There were already fires burning in the financial markets and the economy that are related to uncertainty. This simply pours jet fuel onto that uncertainty quotient,” said Mark Hamrick, senior analyst at Bankrate [Heather Long, “Trump’s White House Tried to Calm Markets. It Backfired,” Washington Post, 2018.12.24].

Mnuchin, who is enjoying the government shutdown by vacationing in Cabo San Lucas, Mexico, made this Tweet Sunday afternoon:

The bank CEOs certainly weren’t looking for a call from Treasury:

The CEOs who spoke individually by phone Sunday with Mnuchin were “totally baffled” by the sessions, according to a person familiar with the calls, who said the executives found the encounters puzzling and largely unnecessary.

“It was totally out of left field and an odd thing to do,” the person said, describing the timing of the calls — on a Sunday ahead of Christmas before markets opened — as strange [Kevin Liptak, Donna Borak, and Cristina Alesci, “Mnuchin’s Attempts to Calm the Markets Have Opposite Effect, Leave Bank CEOs ‘Totally Baffled’,” CNN, 2018.12.24].

As the markets sink into bull territory, Donald Trump sinks deeper into his own bull, plus paranoia and television:

At the midpoint of his term, Mr. Trump has grown more sure of his own judgment and more cut off from anyone else’s than at any point since taking office. He spends ever more time in front of a television, often retreating to his residence out of concern that he is being watched too closely….

Always impulsive, the president increasingly believes he does not need advisers, according to people close to him….

…the president has told associates he feels “totally and completely abandoned,” as one put it, complaining that no one is on his side and that many around him have ulterior motives. That extends even to his son-in-law, Jared Kushner, who was credited for helping push through the criminal justice bill, praise that Mr. Trump took note of.

…By all accounts, Mr. Trump’s consumption of cable television has actually increased in recent months as his first scheduled meetings of the day have slid back from the 9 or 9:30 a.m. set by Reince Priebus, his first chief of staff, to roughly 11 many mornings. During “executive time,” Mr. Trump watches television in the residence for hours, reacting to what he sees on Fox News. While in the West Wing, he leaves it on during most meetings in the dining room off the Oval Office, one ear attuned to what is being said [Peter Baker and Maggie Haberman, “For Trump, ‘A War Every Day,’ Waged Increasingly Alone,” New York Times, 2018.12.22].

The White House is occupied by a paranoid TV junkie who deludes himself into thinking he just had a “very positive” week. If you have $100,000 in a 401K (and that’s about average), you just lost $2,700 in a day, the worst Christmas Eve ever for Wall Street. For the year, you’ve lost just about $13,000. Merry Trumpmas!

9 Comments

  1. David Newquist 2018-12-24

    Mnuchin is a financial-predator scavenger. He does not have Trump’s record of grift and failure, but neither are capable of perceiving anything beyond their own egos. Trump betrayed his level of literacy when he did not realize Mattis’ resignation was not complimentary to him until tv news told him. Mnuchin thought calling the six major bank CEOs to check on their solvency and then telling the nation about it would be reassuring to the stock market. Both men have shown that one need not be very intelligent to be successful in the financial industry; one needs only a profound absence of scruples undergirded by a solid base of stupidity–and a political base that thinks stupid is the latest fashion.

  2. mike from iowa 2018-12-24

    Dow down 650 points- worst Christmas EVER!!

  3. owen reitzel 2018-12-24

    all of these people in this administration are downright stupid. Incredible!

  4. jerry 2018-12-24

    In addition to Saudi Arabia owning refineries in the United States, guess who just bought out Venezuela’s Citgo and its refineries in the United States? If you said Putin’s Russia, you get another present under the tree. Lucky you.

    “CARACAS — As allies go, Venezuela is a relatively cheap one for Russia. But the potential returns on Moscow’s investment there could be priceless.

    In exchange for modest loans and bailouts over the past decade, Russia now owns significant parts of at least five oil fields in Venezuela, which holds the world’s largest reserves, along with 30 years’ worth of future output from two Caribbean natural-gas fields.

    Venezuela also has signed over 49.9 percent of Citgo, its wholly owned company in the United States — including three Gulf Coast refineries and a countrywide web of pipelines — as collateral to Russia’s state-owned Rosneft oil behemoth for a reported $1.5 billion in desperately needed cash.

    Russian advisers are inside the Venezuelan government, helping direct the course of President Nicolás Maduro’s attempts to bring his failing government back from bankruptcy. They helped orchestrate this year’s introduction of a new digital currency, the “Petro,” to keep oil payments flowing while avoiding U.S. sanctions on the country’s dollar transactions.” Washington Post 12/24/2018

    We keep up the slide and Putin will buy us for a dime on the dollar or ruble? Thanks republicans , but at least the war on Christmas is over…and it looks like Putin won!

  5. Debbo 2018-12-24

    “praise [for Kushner] that Mr. Trump took note of.”

    Insanity and paranoia are reaching such peaks that even faint praise for anyone other than himself makes Lunatic livid.

    I do not enjoy watching this public decline into babbling incoherence. If the Pootiepublicans or any of Lunatic’s family had even a scintilla of decency, they’d get him out of there. He is literally losing his mind in front of the entire world. While I hate what he is doing and his abject cruelty, it sickens me to watch his continued descent into complete insanity. Will they wait until he wets himself and screams incoherently into the cameras while ripping his clothing off?

    I have never had lower regard for the leadership of the GOP. They are no better than Lunatic. Perhaps worse, because they are sane, but evil.

  6. jerry 2018-12-24

    Valentine Rules! So who will be our valentine? Who will set the price, the rock bottom price?

  7. mike from iowa 2018-12-25

    Markets in Japan droppied and several other nations as well. Drumpf will soon have a full blown world crisis on his head and will be clewless what to do about it. Probably bribe Obama to take charge and save him.

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