The president should not judge his success by the stock market


David Micali, Crier Staff

On Tuesday, January 30, President Donald Trump addressed the nation and Congress on the state of our union. The President paraded his successes and his agenda for the following year in an hour and twenty minute (the third-longest State of the Union in history) long speech that addressed everything from North Korea to a border wall.

In his speech, the President stated “the stock market has smashed one record after another, gaining $8 trillion in value,” tying the stock market’s success with that of his administration.

It is true that the first year of Trump’s presidency saw the Dow Jones rise higher than any previous administration. However, the President should be careful when coupling his success to it.

On Friday, February 2, the Dow fell 666 points after “a better-than-expected jobs report ignited inflation fears,” according to the CNBC. On Monday, February 5, the stock market fell an additional 1,175 points, wiping out all the gains the market made in 2018. This time, the drop was caused by investors who “grew more nervous about an overheating economy.” The following day saw the market rally only to experience record losses the next day.

In fact, as I write this article, the Dow Jones Industrial Average “extended losses in afternoon trading, on pace for its biggest one-week drop since the throes of the financial crisis” in 2008, according to the Wall Street Journal.

If nothing else, the past week has showed the unpredictable nature of the stock market.  

Trump should not measure his success by how well the stock market is doing because the unpredictable nature of the market can wipe his slate clean at any time.

If we were to judge the president solely on how well the stock market is doing, then the president has done nothing in 2018 since all gains made in the past year were lost on Monday. In other words, the list of Trump’s successes could disappear in an afternoon.

It is for this reason the president should not tout any success in the stock market as a success made possible by his administration. When he takes responsibility for the good, he is also taking responsibility for the bad.

Furthermore, the president should not measure his success by how well the Dow Jones is doing because his administration has very little to do with what is happening on Wall Street. According to Fortune, a financial magazine owned by Time, President Trump “inherited a stock market that was already relatively high in value.”

Presidential administrations do not occur in a vacuum. Arguably, the stock market’s success could be attributed to the Obama Administration rather than the Trump Administration.

Saying that he should be credited for a healthy stock market is like saying you made yourself rich after you inherited all your wealth from a dead relative.

Finally, Donald Trump should know that successes in the market do not necessarily mean that all Americans benefit from a good day on Wall Street.  According to a 2016 Gallup Poll, only 52% of American adults own stock. That means that the economic gains are not being enjoyed by approximately 192 million Americans.

Even in the State of the Union where Trump directed his speech toward all Americans, in reality he excluded millions of Americans who were not impacted by his so-called success. It is for these reasons that Trump, or any president for that matter, should not claim credit for the stock market.