By Chris Faure for The Saker Blog
It was a good speech that Mr Trump made at Davos. He studied his lines and his part well. Starting off with a serious sonorous recitation of The Great American Comeback and following with economic numbers that are so incredibly good, the best ever, a turnaround and a boom, he ended this part stressing the best in the entire world and in all history forever. These numbers quickly sound too good to be true.
It was a speech in the American Family Movie Tradition. First, the sketching of the plot, then the roll-out of the American open to buy (the promise) and then the emotional tug on some heartstrings somewhere.
So, with this recitation of numbers that are too good to be true, Mr Trump unfolded the made for teeeveee movie plot:
The Great American Comeback.
“US is in the midst of an economic boom the likes of which the world has never seen before.
“We regained our stride; we discovered our spirit and reawakened the powerful machinery of American enterprise.
“America is thriving, America is flourishing and Yes! America is winning again like never before
“Just last week alone the United States concluded 2 extraordinary trade deals – the agreement with China and the United States/Mexico/Canada agreement – the two biggest trade deals ever made they just happened to get done in the same week!
“These agreements represent a new model of trade for the 21st century that are fair, reciprocal and that prioritize the needs of workers and families (My question is do all new models now start with a 2 year trade war that is not over yet?)
“America’s economic turnaround has been nothing short of spectacular. When I took office three years ago America’s economy was in a rather dismal state. Under the previous administration nearly 200,000 manufacturing jobs had vanished, wages were flat or falling, almost 5 million more Americans had left the labor force and more than 10 million people had been added to the food stamp rolls.
“The experts predicted a decade of very very slow growth or maybe even negative growth, high unemployment and a dwindling workforce and very much a shrinking middle class. Millions of hardworking ordinary citizens felt neglected, betrayed, forgotten – they were rapidly losing faith in the system
“Before my presidency commenced, the outlook for many nations was bleak. Top economists warned of a protracted worldwide recession. The World Bank lowered its projections for global growth to a number that nobody wanted to even think about. Pessimism had taken root deep in the minds of leading thinkers, business leaders and policy makers.”
Enter the Hero, Captain America, Mr Trump Himself.
“Yet despite all of the cynics I had never been more confident in America’s future I knew we were on the verge of a profound economic resurgence if we did things right – One that would generate a historic wave of investment, wage growth and job creation. I knew that if we unleashed the potential of our people, if we cut taxes, slashed regulations (and we did that at a level that has never been done before in the history of our country in a short period of time), fixed broken trade deals and fully tapped American Energy, that prosperity would come thundering back at a record speed, and that is exactly what we did and that is exactly what happened.
“Since my election, America has gained over 7 million jobs, a number unthinkable (I would not say it, but that was the number that I had in mind) – the projection was 2 million, we did 7, more than 3 times the government’s own projections. The unemployment rate is now less than 3.5 percent and at 3.5 percent, that is a number that is the lowest in more than 50 years.”
Then he spoke about how he is “lifting up Americans of every race, color, religion and creed. The average unemployment rate is the lowest for any US president in recorded history … for black Americans, for disabled Americans, for women, for Latinos , for millennials, for low income workers …” and for grandpa and all of the family dogs. (Well, we have to be truthful and say that he did not really mention grandpa and all of the family dogs – seems like he should have tho).
And at this stage I invite you to go and listen to the rest of the numbers yourself. I found myself just too giddy and on a sugar high with all this good news. (Do not mention shadowstats. Do not go and visit that .com – you will spoil the plot.)
In this staccato recitation of the range of numbers, Ivanka gets a mention as a bit player having been instrumental in creating “a full blown national movement and rounded up 400 companies who have committed to creating new job and training opportunities for 15 million workers and students” – (all by her leadership self!?).
Then, the penny dropped. Mr Trump had a press conference after the speech where he called on Larry Kudlow for a few words. Kudlow says we’re coming into the new year with a lot of positive momentum, and all the confidence surveys are coming in positive but all of these ‘transformational free enterprise policies’ have happened ‘just recently’. So, if you ask them in 6 months or so what happened to these numbers, they may have changed again ‘just recently’. This is what is called in the software world dream-ware. They’re putting up a movie and a spectacular feel-good movie it certainly is.
At this time, you may be tempted to go and read one of those confidence surveys. Don’t Do It. You will spoil the plot.
Let me be the plot spoiler for you. As at 31 December 2019, it looked like this:
31 December 2019 the Leading Economic Index was flat. So, if we are to believe Larry Kudlow, all of these positive indicators must have happened as recently as between January 1st and the day of the speech, January 20th. (On a sidenote, these guys must be super-good and have numbers that the rest of us do not see; but, oh wait, the whole Federal budget has gone dark, sure, so we do not see their numbers; but those 9 points CEO’s must know something that we do not know. Secret money for secret armies and deals, as Catherine Austin Fitts explains, or perhaps the election year middle class tax cut which will be clawed back in other ways).
Its all in all SPECTACULAR, GOOD NEWS, USA, USA, USA.
Enter the Antagonist
Now, the enemy has to creep in. The antagonist – the bad character in the movie. No American feel-good movie can survive without the antagonist; the Heathen Indian to the Noble Cowboy, the ones who want to stop ET from going home vs the good kids that want to get ET home, the shaping of the rest of the characters in the movie. Russia is the Indian that is an unreliable partner, says Mr Trump (but he does not mention them by name – they are surely not important enough to warrant a mention), Europe is the good guys (but not Germany! Mutti Angela has been visiting Mr Putin, and that is not a good thing! Let’s not mention them).
Oh yes in between all there, he is going to plant a gazillion trees and the stupid environmentalists are just stupid and “perennial prophets of doom and their predictions of the apocalypse”. “The heirs of yesterday’s foolish fortune tellers” (nice alliteration, if you like such things – pay-rise for the speech writer!).
A bit more feel-good, the two trade agreements signed in ONE WEEK, no less. The US/Mexico/Canada Trade Agreement (the broadest coalition ever assembled for a trade agreement we are told) and the China Trade Agreement, Phase I although China had to make some changes (Mr Trump lifts his shoulders to present a fierce and strong broader and bigger personal profile). Soon phase 2 will start – (can you get better than bestest)? No matter, it will be the biggest bestest that this world has ever experienced. (In the mean-time, if you read the Chinese commentary, they consider this barely a ‘cease fire but keep the guns pointed’ in the trade war and will take the next 8 months to see if the US keeps to its commitments. (There is this ‘hidden part’ to this cease fire agreement and we will probably never know who kept to commitments but let’s not mention that as some animals are surely more equal than others, and they are the only ones to get to see the real inside story). Now, the setting of expectations – the expected ‘tremendous new deal’ with the UK, who has a wonderful new Prime Minister and wants to very much “make a deal”. (Behind all this, Europe gets threatened with a 25% tariff on vehicles, new sanctions on Venezuela is announced, and I am sure I forgot some of the sticks behind the Davos Carrot that we saw in this last week).
I don’t know what to make of the American Energy Independence that is being “embraced” knowing what many of us know about fracking, and will leave this to the experts. However, we are told that the United States is now By Far the Number One Producer of Oil and Natural Gas in the World. (One cannot help but wonder if the Syrian oil is included and counted in this “American Energy Revolution” and if the Venezuelan Oil is entered in that nexus as projected growth?). Of course the European friends are urged to buy American and “achieve True Energy Security” as even they no longer have to be at the mercy of “unfriendly energy suppliers”.
Oh btw, Trump loves Xi. He loves him very very much! (In the meantime back at the ranch, Mr Xi Jinping did not even turn up to sign this biggest agreement in the world ever ever made). The relationship with China, Mr Trump says, has never ever been better and Trump’s relationship with Xi is ‘extraordinary’. (I don’t hear Mr Xi Jinping echoing these statements but, no matter, in this movie, it must be true).
Enter the End
Now we move to the end, the part where the emotions must be milked, where the cowboy and the Indian face off and the cowboy wins, where ET starts to find his way home – The part in American Family Feel-good movies that makes one cry. With hardly a stumble, Mr Trump wrapped his tongue around the Duomo of Florence in Italy and in France, the Cathedral of Notre Dame. Notre Dame will be restored magnificently he says with confidence “and the great bells will once again ring out for all to hear giving glory to God and filling millions with wonder and awe”. (He has to praise something in Europe! He wants them to buy, so, something, anything that grabs those heartstrings – somebody else must bask in the sunshine of all this glorious greatness even if just momentarily).
To summarize, America will always be the “proud, strong and unyielding bastion of freedom”, is open to buy, the best ever, Ivanka did something, Russia is dismissed, China is now held by the short and curlies. (Mr Trump really thinks he has China under his thumb, or he just infers), The right parts of Europe have been stroked to prove that he has a sense of culture, and nothing else is important (Oh yes, a gazillion trees!) and the only missing part is respect for others and a peaceful message of brotherhood of all mankind. Missing of course also is the biggest and most best that the world has ever seen reeking pile of growing debt and a shameful systematic plunder of various areas in our world. No matter any of that – Come into my Parlor, says the spider to the fly. In my house, I have an open to buy.
In Davos, Mr Trump laid down the lines of future war and we all know that economic war may be but a precursor to a kinetic state. He sketched how he sees the enemy lines developing and nothing is new, excepting that he now considers China the wild-card, the one that he thinks he can win over. It is the traditional sales pitch where you come home with the order signed or come home to get fired. Mr Trump wants to come home with the open to buy orders signed. If not, once the illusion is exposed by reality, beware the war – buy or die.
It’s a wrap – take it to the production room.
1. Despite the stellar cast and stellar acting at times, the plot is made for teeeveee, thin and this film fails to convince.
2. Honey, do you really want me to watch this whole thing, asked my husband?.
3. Sure, Yeah Right – the MAGA Macarena makes the list of the best one hit wonders of all times.
4. A most astounding competition based TV Reality Show bent on destroying all other participants one by one.
Drum roll, Cameras roll, ACTION! – Stay tuned for the next reality show – The Impeachment (soon there will be nobody left to lie to).