Michael Hiltzik: The plummeting Dow teaches Trump about the folly of bragging on a stock market rise

President Trump may have been unaware of this, but there’s a reason that smart presidents steer clear of boasting about stock market returns during their tenures: It’s because the stock market has a way of biting braggarts in their most tender spots.

For Trump, that spot is his amour-propre. On Wednesday, the stock market took dead aim on that spot and took out a healthy chunk. The Dow Jones Industrial Average gave up 831.83 points, or 3.15 percent, for its worst day since Feb. 8. The other two major indexes were right down there with it: The S&P 500 index fell 3.29 percent and the Nasdaq fell 4.08 percent.

Normally, few people would attribute this sort of record to the actions of a U.S. President, since the stock market’s ups and down are governed by myriad factors, of which presidential policy is among the most insignificant.

But Trump has made the stock market’s gains since his inauguration part of his success narrative. Last October, for instance, he groused by tweet that the “fake news” wasn’t reporting “the virtually unprecedented Stock Market growth since the election.”

In November, he claimed that “the reason our stock market is so successful is because of me.” Etc., etc.

As we write, Trump hasn’t tweeted to affiliate himself with Wednesday’s rout. He certainly hasn’t taken blame for it, which would only be fair, seeing as he took credit for its rise. Instead, on Air Force One Wednesday, he blamed the Federal Reserve for raising interest rates. “The Fed has gone crazy,” he said.

But it’s proper to note that the stock market’s performance during the first part of his tenure was nothing like unprecedented. The period from Barack Obama’s 2009 inauguration to

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