If you follow the current Administration with any persistence, you are likely to realize that they like– especially the current occupant of our Oval Office — to take credit for any economic news which casts their work in a good light, while blaming the former President and anyone else within reach for any negative news related to their performance. To put it more simply, Trump’s “economy” double standard is glaring.
Case in point: Back in February, during a Press Conference, then Press Secretary Sean Spicer was asked by a journalist how Trump took the jobs report, given that he had bashed the reliability of the number throughout the campaign. It was a fair question folks, for if you will recall, then candidate Trump made this statement on February 9, 2016, regarding the unemployment number:
“Don’t believe those phony numbers when you hear 4.9 and 5 percent unemployment. The number’s probably 28, 29, as high as 35. In fact, I even heard recently 42 percent.”
Thankfully, PolitiFact rated Trump’s claim as “Pants on Fire.”
Spicer answered the journalist’s question with the President’s take on the matter, saying:
“I talked to the president prior to this, and he said to quote him very clearly: ‘They may have been phony in the past, but it’s very real now.'”
However, this did not stop Trump from touting economic indicators – specifically the GDP being at 2.6 percent – as though it were a very uncommon occurrence. His statement made yesterday before his Cabinet meeting, regarding the Gross Domestic Product is as follows:
“We have a GDP, on Friday – it got very little mention, although I guess in the business areas it did. But it got, I think, very little mention. 2.6 is a number that nobody thought they’d see for a long period of time…. And 2.6 is an unbelievable number, announced on Friday.”
Can anyone say “Narcissistic?” Notice Trump’s overbearing attention on himself in that quote. He honestly believes this is all about him; not the nation he promised he would be President for. When Trump says “nobody,” he is referencing liberals, those who did not support him, and the supposed “fake news” media. Worse? He feels slighted, too. Never mind how he belittled our former President regarding the economy.
Steve Benen, Blogger and producer of The Rachel Maddow Show, wonders with little confidence whether “Trump has any idea what the GDP is or what the quarterly reports show, but 2.6 percent growth is clearly not an “unbelievable number.” In fact, as Benen points out, “It’s actually quite believable.”
He also reminds his readers that “as recently as last Fall we saw 2.8% growth.” He continues to make his point clearer when he reminds all of us that under the former President we had “plenty of individual quarters in which growth topped 4%, and, at one point 5%.”
Lest you think it is only liberals crying foul here, take a look for yourselves at the Federal Reserve Economic Data site. If you still are not persuaded, you will have to forgive me if I just place you under the conspiracy theorist’s column.
Benen is correct. So is the Federal Reserve. The problem is this: It appears to me – as a psychologist – that both Trump and his supporters suffer from their inability to assimilate and accommodate new information to their respective worldviews. Let me explain.
In Developmental Psychology, Cognitive Developmental theorist, Jean Piaget, believed two key aspects to healthy development for our psyche are, first, the individual’s ability to assimilate new information which assists in one’s development, and second, one’s ability to then accommodate that information by placing it in its rightful place in one’s cognitive structure. Put another way: The current Administration is developmentally challenged and grossly incompetent as a result.
Let’s review: what has this administration accomplished other than renaming post offices and issuing executive orders?
Allow me to give each of you an analogy: If we wanted to get from Point A to Point B, with Point A being on the eastern coast, and Point B being on the western coast, and we are using a map which is over 90 years old, how successful do you think we would be in reaching our destination? The most persistent will finally arrive, correct? But now consider that someone comes up to us, giving us a modern-day map for our journey. How much more success would we experience using that map, if we could accept it and learn to use it? How much faster would we arrive at our destination? How many obstacles could we avoid? And, that is precisely my point here folks.
There were many people arguing this President – including himself — if elected could be “presidential,” and yet, his early morning Twitter rants and behavior tells a different tale. Trump made the same argument after his election too.
It was argued that once he saw the grave responsibilities which accompanied the “Office of President” “he would become presidential.” In other words, many believed that once provided new information he would, in their minds, and from a frame of Piaget, assimilate and accommodate that new information, while integrating it into his administration.
But it appears the President and his Administration want the best of both worlds. They rely on the very departments of government which provided the former President’s economic data but marginalized those organizations when President Obama utilized the data they produced. But Mr. Trump cannot have it both ways, or can he? To the logical person, we say “no,” but his supporters still believe it nefarious when the former President relied upon such data. Perhaps they were not questioning the organization or department providing it so much as they were questioning him, huh?
They want to enjoy the benefits of the new data while never addressing why it is they have an issue with the previous President relying on the same. In other words, in Trump’s world, the map is only something one can trust — if and only if –Trump is the one using it.
Featured image via Wikimedia Commons, Donald Trump Cabinet Meeting, Public Domain