Those who are savvy to the stock market’s structural nuances have been saying the same thing for the past few years: we are due for another recession.
The stock market is a jumble of contradictions. Those who are familiar with Matt Taibbi’s reporting understand that the neoliberal deregulation bonanza we have lived through over the past few decades has turned our entire capitalist system into a bubble machine where these gaseous orbs expand and pop in a cyclical nature every decade or so.
At the end of the Obama administration, Donald Trump inherited what amounted to a number of small bubbles, fueled by consumer debt, which were interconnected but also just a tad less volatile than the single large one that had been full of fumes from the subprime mortgage market.
When Trump won the election, Wall Street shot through the roof, but it might very well have been little more than speculation due to fantastic expectations that the Donald did bigly much to not just let down but directly counter.
How in the name of Adam Smith can you expect anything but economic chaos when you declare a trade war on China, revoke the TPP, upend NAFTA, and alienate the European Union in less than four years? The man tried to single-handedly dismantle the post-Cold War worldwide political economy with the exactitude of a blundering toddler!
News reports this week say that the market has not been this low in over a decade (read: since 2008).
With rhetoric that seems to be plagiarizing some of the worst elements of the early Cold War’s Red-Yellow Scare about the Chinese, the Novel Coronavirus seems to have arrived at just the right moment. Danny Haiphong, who recently came back from a tour of China, insightfully wrote:
The fragility of white liberalism is even more apparent in the Western coverage of the novel coronavirus that originated in China. Racist panic over the disease has been stoked by the entire ruling class, with a special role being played by the so-called “liberal” corporate media. Western media outlets have filled their pages and airwaves with racist Yellow Peril tropes. Non-stop coverage of the virus has related the centuries old Western view that China is populated with savages who dine in the most peculiar of meats. Just being Chinese has become associated with the spread of the coronavirus. White liberalism has done nothing but harm to the Chinese effort to eradicate the disease. The New York Times, a bastion of white liberal fragility, has published article after article blaming the Chinese government for covering up the severity of the coronavirus. Authorities in China have been made to look negligent, yet nothing could be further from the truth. The World Health Organization (WHO) has praised China’s wide-ranging effort in controlling the spread of the virus. A national patriotic health campaign has mobilized the whole of Chinese society to research the cause of the disease, prevent its spread, and treat the infected. Two hospitals have been built in a matter of weeks solely dedicated to the coronavirus outbreak. Of course, white American fear of China is not about the coronavirus at all. It is about China’s rise as a global superpower and what this means for U.S. hegemony. China’s response to the disease shows that its government is organized to respond to the needs of the masses first and profit later. The opposite is true of the United States.
See Also: ‘An Outrage’: HHS Chief Azar Refuses to Vow Coronavirus Vaccine Will Be Affordable for All, Not Just the Rich
So not only does Trump get to pawn an economic collapse off on a biological emergency, he can blame the Commie Reds and lace it with xenophobic rhetoric about Asians. It’s a triple-play to feed those gullible toads in his base who jump like hyenas at his red-meat racist
Will it work?
There is the site of a very different debate. Since 1991, presidential races have been swung against the incumbent party by the advent of these recessions. From Bill “It’s the economy, stupid!” Clinton to George “Dot-com goes dot-bust” Bush to Barack “OMFG it’s the end of the world” Obama, the pattern of flipping from one party to another is very obvious.
Personally I do not read this optimistically. Their divided endorsement of his (s)election does not per se equal allowance of his proposed economic regulatory program. The financial sector owns so much of Congress that they could easily install Sanders and then render him a lame duck from Day One by gridlocking the legislature. Sanders’ recent trafficking in RussiaGate kookery and telling Anderson Cooper that he believes in NATO (gotta keep an eye on that Stalinist regime in East Berlin!) conjures the shade of Lyndon Johnson, who squandered his domestic spending in Vietnam, another pothole that could easily sink his efforts. There’s a multitude of ways he could be sunk. Obama saved American capitalism for another decade at a moment when the pitchforks were in the streets.
Leaving aside these gloomy prognostications, we are perhaps headed for rocky waters.