Not Your Grandfather’s Trade War: Wall Street’s Mindless Complacency, Part 3

With his latest $100 billion tariff volley, it can be well and truly said that the Donald has gone stark, raving bonkers on the China trade war. And, no, he is not playing some kind of clever 5-dimensional chess or 3-dimensional chess that the talking heads were gumming about this AM. He’s not even playing checkers—to say nothing of pick-up-sticks.

What the Donald’s actually doing is attempting to stage an episode of “The Art of the Deal” in a venue where he is so far over his head that nary a single orange strand is visible above the water line. Indeed, there is not a shred of rationality, calculation, shrewdness or guile to it.

To the contrary, the Donald’s rapidly escalating trade war reflects the glandular eruption of a monumentally bloated ego—the play acting of a mind that is bereft of knowledge about global trade and economics and which cannot manage to stay focussed on much of anything for longer than a tweet cycle.

But then our purpose here is not to chastise the Donald for his alleged “unsuitability” for the job. In fact, clumsy or not, he’s now hitting on all cylinders with respect to the real purpose of his election. Namely, to bring the faux prosperity of the Bubble Finance era to a crashing end.

And that’s where the stunning complacency of Wall Street comes in. The conceit down there in the canyons is that Washington everywhere and always marches to the tune of the S&P 500. Ever since the GOP rank and file folded when the first TARP vote sent the market crashing by 8% back in September 2008, the casino has assumed that the politicians are petrified of a hissy fit and will quickly back off from any action that threatens the stock averages.



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