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A Letter to the President
17 May 2019
By Alex Karidis
Dear Mr. President,
I am writing you as both an informed and concerned citizen. While there are many topics to address, the theme of this letter will pertain primarily to the recent breakdown of US/China trade talks, the economy, and the stock market. At the outset Mr. President, I would like to inform you that I voted for you in the 2016 Presidential election. Furthermore, on many issues I am an overall supporter of your goals to rejuvenate this country. Also, while I am only one voice, I do nevertheless adamantly defend you and your administration when it comes to the recent investigation regarding Russian conspiracy allegations. However, despite past and current support in some areas, I have become seriously concerned regarding the aforementioned topics and how both yourself and your administration are handling such topics. Mr. President, I would like to vote for you in 2020, yet you are making it increasingly more difficult to do so daily.
Mr. President, I applaud you and your administration’s efforts to address global trade imbalances, forced technology transfers, intellectual property theft, and several other concerns. However, I am seriously concerned and upset with the near daily Tweets and statements that are published by either yourself or a member of your administration. In my opinion, this is both a great disservice to the American people and an abuse of your executive powers.
First, this acts as a disservice because the people have been told repeatedly for the past several months that a trade deal between the US and China was forthcoming and that it would be, “historic,” “fantastic,” “great,” and many other adjectives describing the deal. Yet, given recent events, we have now learned that we are not close to a deal and in fact, both sides are now escalating – currently in the form of additional and/or increased tariffs. This is a disservice Mr. President because the country looks to you for leadership – making promises and using language that makes people believe that a deal was supposed to be agreed a couple of months ago begins to call into question your credibility. If your credibility is called into question sir, not simply by those who already oppose you, but rather those, such as myself who voted for you, then so does your ability to lead and to succeed. It also calls into question my ability and desire to vote for you once again. I understand and appreciate the strategy, tactics, and nature of negotiations. However, in this regard, giving people simple Tweets and talking points of “great” outcomes for months and then falling short calls into question your credibility and that of your administration. Furthermore, if this is an attempt on your behalf to be “transparent,” this argument falls on its face. Publishing statements and Tweets is not transparency, it is more akin to government talking points and shall I even say, propaganda. I do not expect you to provide the inner workings of the trade negotiations as they are in progress, nor should you. Yet, neither should you “string-along” the American people with talks of grandeur. Mr. President, I implore you to stop Tweeting, making statements, and/or sending a member of your administration out to the media to continue with the narrative that everything is “great.” This is a disservice and the American people deserve better.
Regarding the economy, the stock market, and statements/Tweets, this too serves as a great disservice to the country. Continually telling the American people that China is paying for the tariffs is a factually inaccurate statement. Claiming that China is filling the US Treasury with tens of billions of dollars is also inaccurate. The only thing that stops me short of calling this a lie, Mr. President is whether you know the truth in this matter. Therefore, we are left with two options – you are either lying to the American people or you are incompetent in understanding tariffs? Either is unacceptable. While China may very well end up losing business due to the higher costs of products associated with the implementation of tariffs, this is not the definition of “paying” that you are insinuating to the American people. Further, just this last weekend, your own Economic Advisor, Larry Kudlow, had to finally admit that it is American businesses and consumers who will be paying for the tariffs. I would have to imagine Mr. President that Mr. Kudlow deviated from your message because Mr. Kudlow was concerned about his credibility on the matter, and again sir, I stress that you too should be concerned on the state of your credibility. In addition, while the mechanics of tariffs is not hard to understand, we nevertheless live in a society where economic literacy is poor at best – how else can one reason as to why our national debt is $22 trillion and counting amongst a whole host of poor and flawed economic policies. Therefore, Mr. President, spreading misinformation on whom is paying the tariffs is a disservice and the American people deserve better.
Continuing with how this affects the economy, the stock market, and how this ties into an abuse of your executive powers, allow me to first address another concern. I honestly believe Mr. President that you made a grave blunder when it comes to your taking credit and ownership of the US economy and stock market. You were elected Mr. President, in my view, to go to Washington DC to do your best to undo generations of nepotism, fraud, corruption, governmental abuses of power, burdensome and anti-competitive regulations, remedy our two-tiered “justice” system that protects the well-connected, negotiate/renegotiate trade deals and treaties, and a number of other concerns. In short, you were elected to shake things up and to “Drain the Swamp,” if you will. This is not an easy task and I again applaud you and your administration’s efforts and successes in some areas, especially given the backdrop of how politically divisive our country is today. Nevertheless, it was a flaw to take ownership of the economy and the stock market because it limits your abilities and creates an area of vulnerability for counterparties or even outright “enemies” to exploit. In my opinion Mr. President, it would have been much more prudent to acknowledge that you were sent to Washington DC to restore American idealism, free-market capitalism, and to “Drain the Swamp.” You could have informed the American people that this is going to be a long and arduous journey, but we are Americans, we are the United States of America, this is our country, this is our future, and together, we will be successful. In agreement with this, you could have stated that the economy will perform however the economy may perform – perhaps we will have 3% plus GDP growth or perhaps only 1%. The stock market may appreciate our efforts and results and it may make new highs or it may correct. Whichever is the case being fine, because what we are doing as an administration and as a country is worth the cost of restoring American prosperity. I truly believe Mr. President that had this been your message, that the American people would support you in greater numbers and would believe in your credibility. Typical politicians want to take credit for the economy and the performance of the stock market (if it is good). You, sir, were not elected to be a typical politician. This is a disservice and the American people deserve better.
In addition, the record is clear from your statements and Tweets, as citizen and/or candidate Donald J. Trump that during the Obama administration, the economy and the stock market were in a bubble, government figures were bloated, and that the Federal Reserve and the policies of low interest rates and quantitative easing were devastating to middle class Americans, fueled the bubble, and only served to benefit the wealthy. I do not demonize wealth, unless it was obtained fraudulently, and what the Federal Reserve has done over the past decade was fraudulent and criminal and I agreed with your statements as a candidate – one of the key reasons why you received my vote. Now, we are well within your four-year Presidential term, the economic numbers from the government remain bloated and artificial, most of any “growth” we have witnessed has been at the expense of near trillion-dollar deficits and thus an increase in the national debt. It is not coming from a “stronger” consumer who is all but tapped out with rising use of credit cards to fill their personal spending gaps, which is evidenced by rising credit card debt, student loan, and auto loan delinquencies and defaults. A slowing in capital expenditures as tax cuts and repatriations have gone primarily to stock buybacks and thus executive compensation as opposed to investment and hiring. Also, a widening of our trade deficits, implying that we are not winning these trade negotiations and continue to import well more than we export – thus serving as a drag to GDP. In short, Mr. President, this economy is not the greatest in US history, our stock market indices have been and continue to be in bubble territory, our government figures remain bloated and artificial, and over the past couple of months, we have witnessed statements from you and your administration calling on the Federal Reserve to cut interest rates and to embark on what would be classified as QE4. If the economy is as “great” as you claim, then it would not need stimulus measures such as lower interest rates. It would also most definitely not need QE4, which is an “emergency” measure, which also happens to be deeply flawed and will serve the interests of the wealthy at the expense of the many. This is the exact point you made repeatedly prior to becoming the President. Now in office, you claim title to “great” government economic numbers, stock market indices that remain bubbles, and call for further “stimulus” from the Federal Reserve. This sounds like a typical politician sir, and you were not elected to be a typical politician. These actions and statements are a disservice and the American people deserve better.
Mr. President, your seeming fascination with the economic figures and stock market performance in and of itself is a disservice. Given my prior statements, it appears you simply want to keep this economy and these markets propped up to serve a political narrative as opposed to a fundamental narrative of restoring American prosperity. Being in the midst of a trade dispute does not helps matters either. This take us back to your personal Tweets, statements, and those made by members of your administration. Since Q4 of 2018, we have witnessed calls for more Federal Reserve intervention and continual mumblings of near-term success regarding an “historic” and “great” deal with the Chinese. While the Federal Reserve remains in “wait-and-see” mode, the Tweets and statements have been nearly non-stop. Given your fascination with the stock market Mr. President, your near daily Tweets and statements regarding trade negotiations in my opinion, is an abuse of your executive powers. You know perfectly well sir, that when you make a statement, the markets move. There is plenty of enough evidence to make this case – if it is “positive” news, such as talks are going well and they are “constructive,” the markets rally. Likewise, what we have just witnessed, from a Tweet regarding, “talks taking too long” and that the US must increase tariffs, the markets have sold-off aggressively. Additionally, if the markets are in a “down-day,” either you or a member of your administration makes a positive statement about trade negotiations and lo-and-behold, the markets reverse course and gain. The combined market gains and losses over the last several months amounts to trillions of dollars’ worth of value, gained/lost, in global equities. If this is not an abuse of power, then I do not know what is. I truly hope Mr. President that neither you, your family, a friend, or a friend of a friend is benefitting and profiting from having knowledge of your Tweets prior to being made public or anything of the kind. This would be an egregious abuse of power and would warrant investigation. The powers vested in you, Mr. President, are granted to you by the consent of the American people. You are not a leader with dictatorial powers, and you are most definitely not a global financial dictator who should have the power to move global markets, but from a brief paragraph on social media. In fact, this country was founded on creating limited government powers and our Founders wanted a leader of the executive branch whose powers were also to be limited. Further, we were informed during your State of the Union Address that this country will never be a socialist nation. Yet, just recently, you are once again making statements applauding China’s use of stimulus measures (i.e. lower interest rates and their version of QE), while at the same time calling on our central bank to employ the same policies. Taking the lead from a Communist regime is not fitting with your State of the Union Address, sir. Nor is it fitting with your comments as citizen and candidate Donald J. Trump. Most of the concerns that I believe you have about this economy and our stock markets are self-inflicted Mr. President, because you took title to both. I believe what we are witnessing, is your attempt to find someone to blame, when the economy and/or stock market deteriorates. You will blame endless wars, political divisiveness, continual investigations by the Democrats, the Federal Reserve, and China. Yet, over the course of your administration, you have taken credit for all the “good” to “great” figures. Taking credit for the positive and blaming others for the negative is poor leadership in my opinion Mr. President and is consistent with the kind of leadership or lack thereof that the people of this country have grown tired and frustrated from witnessing and enduring. You were elected to be a different kind of politician. In addition and in agreement with recent statements, you are giving your critics more fire-power by proving them correct when they say you have a “casual relationship” with the truth to put it mildly; and that you are known to “inflate” your personal net-worth and that of your organization; well calling on the Federal Reserve to lower interest rates and embark on QE4, is inflation by definition; and statements around trade negotiations and tariffs is a “casual relationship” with the truth at best. It currently appears from recent behavior that you are unfortunately – a new boss, same as the old boss. This is a disservice and the American people deserve better.
Despite these critiques, I am still looking for reasons to vote for you again in 2020 because I understand the challenges you are up against, but this does not provide you with an excuse for such behaviors herein outlined. However, on a daily basis, with the Tweets, the exaggerations, hyperbole, and flat out lies, you are making it very difficult for me to cast my vote for you for a second time. The Democrats offer little, if any, fundamental change of a positive kind and their policies will prove detrimental to this country. This country needs a leader Mr. President, not another typical politician. The American people have placed great confidence and trust in you and your administration to do the work of the people to restore American prosperity. I know this is not an easy task and I once again applaud you on your efforts and successes in certain areas. However, we are far from the finish line and the work will extend long past your term(s) as our President. My thoughts and prayers are with you, your family, your administration, and the American people. Tell the truth Mr. President, put aside the ego and boastfulness around the economy and the stock market, and restore American prosperity. I guarantee you the American people will make the requisite sacrifices to secure their future, their families’, and their country’s – they just need true leadership.
Most respectfully submitted,
Alex M. Karidis
The Kapital News