There are few things that confuse and aggravate the average person more than the underpinnings of the American economy. What to make of it? Record highs across the Dow, Nasdaq and S&P, seemingly at odds with the latest suspect government labor reports. Which, in turn, are met by perplexing increases in small business jobs, but not corporate ones. For the average worker who keeps a wary eye on their quarterly 401K reports, marrying the economic reality of disjointed labor reports by the US Bureau of Labor Statistics and the National Federation of Independent Businesses and the ADP reports, is near impossible. Turning on the business channel won’t help you make sense of the mess, either.
While no answer is surgical or simple, there is one solution that could bolster our economy to a healthy pace of growth we haven’t seen in more than a decade. In other words: Congress could get off their collective asses and act on tax reform and health care reform. This market is ticking along nicely, making gains off every dazzling media interphase with Budget Director Mick Mulvany and other well-versed policy initiatives from the Trump admin that land in Congress with a thud. Gains have been steady since Trump’s election, but volatility lurks just beneath the surface. That volatility is fueled by the furious and voracious appetite of congressional apathy. Yes, the illustration is a contradiction. Much like the contradiction that Congress represents us and works to improve our lives. Not so much.
The market won’t be courted by the “possible” forever. Inherently, the market craves innovation and government reform. We need a simplified tax system, a health care system that is not riddled with cost escalators and impending catastrophe. Admittedly, these are big ticket items; ones that the president hasn’t been shy about tackling. The harder the White House pushes, the more Congress shrinks and retreats into their parochial cubby holes. It’s a pusillanimous display that turns the stomachs of voters and investors, alike. Tell us again: why bother having a majority in the House of Representatives? What good has it done? Thus far, absolutely nothing. Cobbling together an awkward patchwork health care bill that the Senate greeted like a doggy pile on the lawn, notwithstanding, this congressional session has been a testament to the “what if” instead of the “what is.” That’s a shame. And the markets won’t wait forever for this mating dance between republicans to get these policies to the altar.
So Trump waits, pen in hand, in the Oval Office; ever the anxious groom, awaiting the consummation of sound fiscal policy and government reform. Congress, instead, would rather stage political theatre in the hopes of driving down the cost of the dowry. It’s a profile in cowardice. Consumer and investor confidence are not inexhaustible resources. Time for Congress to take their medicine, or we will provide them a considerable dose next Primary Election.
Congress continues to follow the breadcrumbs laid out by an unhinged media and they remain tone deaf to their own voters’ needs. I’m not sure how you feel, dear reader, but I didn’t elect my representatives to explore the depths of a Russian conspiracy that is starting to resemble a Monty Python skit on government absurdity. I certainly don’t recall voting for an inquest into the removal of a corrupt, manipulative, and egomaniacal FBI director. Do you? Of course not. I don’t sleep well at night, either, while Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos becomes the richest man in the world while utilizing regulatory easing orchestrated by the same man he bashes mercilessly with his fake news publication, AKA the Washington Post. It’s absurd.
Congress, worse than anything delineated above, continues to erode the office of the presidency. With each dog and pony show of a hearing into a non-existent Russia collusion theory, Congress abdicates its responsibilities. With each media circus, courted by entertaining the whimsical musings of a disgraced lunatic like Jim Comey (who apparently writes memos that contradict his sworn testimony), Congress weakens our stature as leading democracy in the world. Blaming Chuck “Head Clown” Schumer or Nancy “Brain-Dead” Pelosi is not the answer. No more than blaming CNN or the Washington Post is the answer. For that matter, casting blame on an unemployed barista in Portland wearing a hankie and throwing M-80s sure isn’t the answer, either. The real blame lies at the feet of the republican chambers in Congress. Blame them. Call them, write them, do something to wake them up before it’s too late.
No tax bill, no health care fix, no wall, no reduction in the deficit will mean one thing to me: no vote for my current congressman. It’s that simple. And if I wanted help killing my 401k, I’d ask my state pension board for investment advice. No thanks. Republicans in Congress are officially “old and in the way.” Stop killing our economic recovery and start doing your job. Or, we’ll help you find a new one.