Trump has been tweeting about the record highs reached by the Dow Jones Industrial Average (DJIA). Those market gains are great news for the financial sector, large investors, and even those of us in the lower bounds of the upper class with reasonable portfolios, but remains a bit hazy what they mean for the rest of the economy. In one sense, it’s not surprising that the market is doing well while interest rates remain low and the economy motors through 100 months of expansion. If, like me, you worry about the financialization of the US political economy, then you feel some ambivalence about the degree of growth in stock-market valuation.
Nonetheless, the degree that Trump focuses on the DJIA and seeks to slap his own “brand” is pretty much indicative of his underlying pathologies. When he’s not trying to discredit any bit of unfavorable news, Trump spends, shall we say, an unusual amount of time bragging about questionable achievements. Appearance and adulation are more important to Trump than, you know, doing his job. The DJIA brag is particularly annoying. It’s actually possible that anticipation of business-friendly policies has marginally affected the markets in positive directions, but most of the performance he trumpets depends on arbitrary cut points. In particular, around the election the markets took a hit. This allows Trump to tweet out this sort of thing:
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) October 17, 2017
But if you simply extend the data back to January 2009, it’s pretty clear that the DJIA is basically on trend.
So, yeah, like most of Trump’s achievements, this is likely a nothingburger.
(data from Macrotrends)