Negotiations, and the Economy, Hit a Wall

Negotiations on a relief/stimulus bill have fallen apart. It appears there will be no relief/stimulus package out of Congress anytime soon. I can only imagine the suffering and stress this is causing throughout the nation.

Paul Krugman writes that the many economic indicators ain’t lookin’ good.

But things could get much worse. In fact, they probably will get much worse unless Republicans get serious about another economic relief package, and do it very soon. …

… The suffering among cut-off families will be immense, but there will also be broad damage to the economy as a whole. How big will this damage be? I’ve been doing the math, and it’s terrifying.

Unlike affluent Americans, the mostly low-wage workers whose benefits have just been terminated can’t blunt the impact by drawing on savings or borrowing against assets. So their spending will fall by a lot. Evidence on the initial effects of emergency aid suggests that the end of benefits will push overall consumer spending — the main driver of the economy — down by more than 4 percent.

Furthermore, evidence from austerity policies a decade ago suggests a substantial “multiplier” effect, as spending cuts lead to falling incomes, leading to further spending cuts.

Put it all together and the expiration of emergency aid could produce a 4 percent to 5 percent fall in G.D.P. But wait, there’s more. States and cities are in dire straits and are already planning harsh spending cuts; but Republicans refuse to provide aid, with Trump insisting, falsely, that local fiscal crises have nothing to do with Covid-19.

Bear in mind that the coronavirus itself — a shock that came out of the blue, though the United States mishandled it terribly — reduced G.D.P. by “only” around 10 percent. What we’re looking at now may be another shock, a sort of economic second wave, almost as severe in monetary terms as the first. And unlike the pandemic, this shock will be entirely self-generated, brought on by the fecklessness of President Trump and — let’s give credit where it’s due — Mitch McConnell, the Senate majority leader.

We’re heading for something that will be much, much worse than the effects of the 2008 financial meltdown. Even if we can put better policies into place next year, the damage will take many years to correct. And this disaster will come straight out of our political dysfunction, not the virus.

Families are losing homes, children are going hungry, small business owners are losing or have already lost their businesses. People are dying who didn’t have to die. Schools are opening, or about to open, during a pandemic with no money for extra resources. And state budgets may not be able to sustain those schools much longer if they don’t get some help.

And let us be clear that this disaster is fully owned by Republicans. The most recent talks saw the Democrats willing to come down a trillion dollars in their proposal, calling for Republicans to come up to meet them in the middle. This proposal was dismissed as a “non-starter.”

Heather Long writes at WaPo that the U.S. economy is suffering through a “lost year.” No one knows what will happen next. Few can make plans. Businesses large and small are teetering on the edge of oblivion. The allegedly “pro business” Republican party doesn’t see a need to act. It’s like Herbert Hoover all over again.

And this brings us to Paul Waldman’s wonderfully snarky headline, Another impasse on the rescue package. Imagine if the president were a dealmaker.

What this deadlock needs is a master negotiator, someone whose extraordinary skills can break through the parties’ differences and craft a deal both sides can live with, giving Americans the help they need.

Someone like President Trump, the man who wrote “The Art of the Deal”!

You’re laughing, I know. But think about how extraordinary that is: During a difficult and complex negotiation, with incredibly high stakes for the country, we take it as a given that not only would the president of the United States much rather be off playing golf; it’s also probably best for everyone if he isn’t involved at all, because he’d only make things worse.

Actually, I wasn’t laughing. This is so sad.

And this is the man who sold himself to voters as a virtuoso of negotiation whose supernatural deal-making talent would enable him to break through any challenge the government faced.

And, while the issues we face are complex, the basic disagreement is not. Democrats want to do more to address the problems we face. Republicans want to do less.

Axios reports that Trump is “anxious to be seen as being in control of the process.” He can’t be bothered to take control of the process, mind you, he just wants to be seen as being in control. He is not negotiating with Democratic leaders. Instead, he is considering executive orders to cut the payroll tax (which pretty much everyone agrees is practically useless) and to extend unemployment benefits in some fashion and forestall the coming wave of evictions.

Even though these executive orders are of questionable legality and would do far less to aid the economy than legislation would, Trump gravitates to them precisely because they don’t involve negotiation. He can just sign a piece of paper and consider his job done. It’s a lot less work than hammering out a deal with Congress.

It’s a lot less work, and it’s also something he can do without anyone contradicting him. He doesn’t like not being in absolute control. And, in truth, he doesn’t know what a “deal” is. Here’s something I wrote after an earlier “deal” came to an impasse:

People keep calling Trump a deal-maker, but the truth is he doesn’t do deals. A “deal” means that two or more parties have agreed to terms for their mutual benefit, and that they all intend to abide by those terms. Trump has a long and well-known history of getting people to agree to his business plans by making promises he doesn’t keep and had no intention of keeping when he made them. Such an arrangement is not a “deal”; it is a “grift.”

Back to Paul Waldman:

As we look back over the past four years, it’s remarkable to see that Trump, who sold himself as a wondrously talented deal-maker, has turned out to be the world’s worst negotiator — when he bothers to negotiate at all. He hasn’t signed any significant legislation, apart from a tax cut all Republicans wanted (when they controlled both chambers of Congress) and a couple of bills that had plenty of bipartisan support.

Think of the deals he has claimed to have made. North Korea? Um, no. He said that if he pulled out of the Iran nuclear deal other countries would follow. They didn’t. Manufacturing jobs? Mexico paying for a wall? Whatever it was he was trying to accomplish with his trade war with China? Nope, nope, nope.

Maybe he should read The Art of the Deal.

I’m genuinely terrified of what Trump might try to do with executive orders, legal or not. He doesn’t understand anything that’s happening, and his staff are morons. Nothing good can come from this.

7 thoughts on “Negotiations, and the Economy, Hit a Wall

  1. Republican POV:  What are you talking about?  The economy is doing quite well.  The Fed and our bought politicians of both parties have made sure that Wall Street and Big Corporations are okay.  The Dow is back to within 2K of its all-time high!

    I predicted, when the politicians of both parties patted themselves on the back for their 'wonderful' 'stimulus' was passed 4 months ago, that within 2 months the 1%ers would be screaming "We gave you $1200.  Why didn't you take personal responsibility to make that last.  We can't afford to fund you any longer.  Get your lazy asses back to work making money for us."  #MoscowMitch and The Donald have met my expectations of what they would do.

    Meanwhile, projected number of American Covid-19 DEATHS by election day is 250,000.  By January 20th of next year, the number of Covid-19 American deaths will likely surpass the number of American deaths in WWII.

    Your closing sentence "Nothing good can come from this." is a summation of the tRump presiduncy.

  2. Let me just say this,  on our common credit card we are using up our credit limit.  Our leader probably sold out to Russia because he did the same . Rumor has it that Moscow Mitch is in a hole also.  

    Just imagine that your family is using up it's credit limit staying afloat.  Then think about the United States doing the same thing, but pretending we are "in the money".

    That is probably closer to reality than you might want to think.

    Is the reason we hate Muslims… that they are intolerant of borrowed money?

    Distortion and illusion are the name of today's game.  

    I wish the best for all who play, and the worst for those that have admonished me for calling it a game.  It is a game.  And in most games there are real losers.  In this one there are life changing losers.  I quote here Jim Kramer, who called this Darwinian.  It will be Darwinian in the survival of the fittest sort of way.  Kramer is like the blind squirrel who finds the nut some of the time.  He has some impairments but better than lots.

    No liberal can save all of the unfit in this world.  Be it by status as a moral moron, status as a willful idiot, or other elitist dysfunction.  If that is a real problem to you, just try to ask for help from a radical conservative.

  3. Look on the plus side for our top 0.01% American "Master's of the Universe:"  Their multi-martini meals can all be written-off!

    Imo:  One of the reasons the RepubliKKKlans won't go for a money package to give relief to the bottom 50% or more, is that sociopathic quasi-human turds like Senator's Cruz, Paul, and Cotton, and some other GOP nucking-futs, are all positioning themselves as the "Austerity" and "Budget" "Debt Hawks"candidates in 2024 and 2028.

    It's a RepubliKKKLAN tradition! 

    You know:  Fuck the country and budget up ninety-nine (accounting for inflation) ways to Sunday, then whine about how long it's taking to fix their fuck-ups, and then run to "relieve and lower" the debt their latest fuck-up's cost.


    AMERICANS ARE FUCKING STUPID!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  4. Credit to  Steve S.  Portland Oregon, in comment to Paul Krugman Coming Next: The Greater Recession.

    Why mince words? We are sliding down the slope into the Great Trump Depression, the bottom not yet in sight.

    Krugman's lead just kills it, and is an omen of our future.  

    One pretty good forecasting rule for the coronavirus era has been to take whatever Trump administration officials are saying and assume that the opposite will happen. 

    He cites several old examples and ends with Larry Kudlow's prediction of a V shaped economic recovery.  In the opposite case there is no quick recovery but a very long and drawn out economic downturn.  

    It will be the horrid result of the administrations dismal failure to recognize, failure to take quick and appropriate action, and failure to empower experts in epidemiology. In the countries which did, the Coronavirus is being controlled and their economies are in a stable recovery mode.  Steve S. is correct in naming it the Great Trump Depression.  It puts discredit where discredit is due. 


  5. Bunker Boy: "they were only interested in Bailout Money for poorly run Democrat cities and states."

    Let me give you my opinion what this means. I say 'opinion' because I wasn't in the room but I've seen how Trump wants unrestricted power. IMO, the format of what Trump demanded was a slush-fund "for" whatever the Democrats wanted but without restrictions on how the money would be spent.

    That's the "only interested in" phrase. I don't think for a minute that Pelosi had a list of how much money would to to each state or city. The bill Pelosi was working from was the only bill either side of Congress passed. The formula probably specified aid according to population and need and prohibited POTUS from sending $$ to the states which 45 needs to win the election. 

    There's a long list of examples how POTUS uses essential aid (Ukraine) to leverage what he wants. So if you are a city that needs aid, will you incorporate voter suppression? IMO, That's what Trumps thugs were demanding – a slush fund with no controls and that's what Pelosi refused.


  6. Bernie,

    To me, it seems logical that The tRUMP Plague would be followed by The tRUMP Depression.

    He's got "The Midas Touch – in Reverse:" Every single thing he touches turns into a miasmatic turd.


Comments are closed.