Listen To You Tell Me Texas Friday 2/24/17
According to reports, President Trump is routinely putting in 16 to 18 hour days. Long reputed to sleep only a few hours a night, Donald Trump is working from the very early morning until the very late evening. One can only imagine being a member of the White House staff. The pace is apparently blistering.
Doctors will no doubt tell us that President Trump’s sleeping habits are ill-advised and dangerous. I’m sure they’re right. But good for President Trump anyway. Because he is apparently aware that the window for turning the American economy around and getting its legendary jobs creation machine running again is very limited.
In his now legendary press conference of last week, the president said, “I inherited a mess.” He was referring to many things in that statement, including the state of America’s foreign relations. But he cited the domestic economy as well.
He should have. Eight years of increasingly stifling regulation, avoidance of badly needed tax reform, an increasing reliance on public benefits by an increasing percentage of the population, the burdens and dislocations attendant to Obamacare and a general anti-business attitude throughout the Obama administration; have all conspired to exact a heavy toll.
Conservatives like me and hard-left liberals like Bernie Sanders at last agree on something. The official 4.8 percent unemployment rate is perhaps the single most misleading of all government statistics. The real unemployment rate – the rate that considers those of working age who have given up looking for work – stands well above 10 percent.
In about 12 weeks another three million college graduates will enter an economy that for the past decade has produced a historically low number of fulltime jobs. We now have what some economists call a “gig” economy – one in which a high percentage of workers work at multiple part-time jobs, work as independent contractors or who do project work on an temporary basis. Most such jobs offer few or no benefits and most such employment makes qualifying for car loans and mortgages difficult or impossible.
As a result, young working age Americans are putting off getting married, buying a home and starting a family. More than 40 percent of young adults age 18 to 34 are living with their parents – a 75-year high.
That delay in coming of age economically affects everything from home building to manufacturing to consumer banking to new business creation.
All of this can be fixed by a growing economy but the hour is late. If allowed to become the “new normal,” as some liberals believe that it is, stagnation followed by decline will become inevitable and ultimately irreversible.
Just ask the Japanese. They never recovered from their “lost decade” in the 1990s. The same could become true of our lost decade that began in 2008 if we don’t move quickly.
So the president is working 18 hour days? Let’s hope that he’s spending those hours pushing tax reform, regulatory relief, energy independence and sanity on our borders.
We’ll sleep better if he does.