Democratic leaders of Congress blasted President Donald Trump yesterday for “plunging the country into chaos.” Senate Democratic Leader Charles Schumer (N.Y.) and House Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi (Calif.) issued a statement expressing their concerns about Trump’s behavior that have caused a drop in the stock markets and a government shutdown.
“It’s Christmas Eve and President Trump is plunging the country into chaos. The stock market is tanking and the president is waging a personal war on the Federal Reserve — after he just fired the Secretary of Defense,” Schumer and Pelosi wrote in their statement after the financial markets closed.
It was a short trading day yet the Dow Jones Industrial Average still dropped 653 points Monday in the worst day of trading on Christmas Eve in history. The benchmark average has declined over 4,000 points since the beginning of the month, and has now entered bear market territory.
Other market indices, such as the S&P 500 and the NASDAQ have also experienced huge declines, for the day and for the month. The year-to-date returns for all market indices is extremely bad, with declines of around 15% for the year.
Oil prices also plummeted by nearly 7 percent yesterday, going to an 18-month low. This is sharp decline is a signal predicting weak demand and an economic slowdown in the coming year.
Trump has increased financial market volatility by expressing criticism of the Federal Reserve. The U.S. central bank raised interest rates by a quarter of a percentage point last week, but they are supposed to operate independently of politics and their fiscal policies are not subject to the whims or dictates of the president.
Even though he has created turmoil, Trump continued his attacks on the Fed yesterday, tweeting “the only problem our economy has is the Fed.” He also has reportedly threatened to fire Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell, causing more uncertainty in world markets.
The federal government, of course, is still mired in a partial shutdown caused by Trump’s demand for $5 billion to build a border wall with Mexico. By refusing to sign legislation for government funding he triggered the government shutdown at midnight on Friday. The shutdown may last into 2019 unless Trump compromises.
Schumer and Pelosi have said there will be no government funding for Trump’s border wall, which they believe is a bad idea and a waste of taxpayer money.
“Instead of bringing certainty into people’s lives, he’s continuing the Trump Shutdown just to please right-wing radio and TV hosts,” Schumer and Pelosi said in their joint statement.
I am a lifelong Democrat with a passion for social justice and progressive issues. I have degrees in writing, economics and law from the University of Iowa.