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Jonathan Bernstein

How Trump's Chaotic Presidency Threatens the Economy

Few have adequately priced in the possibility of 5 large, unusual downside risks.
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Photographer: Mark Makela/Getty Images

Sure, you might think: Donald Trump isn't exactly a competent president. But it's a long-standing truism of U.S. politics that, at the end of the day, presidents really don't have immediate and severe effects, for better or worse, on economic performance or jobs. Instead, what really matters are larger-scale forces -- say, the growth or stall of productivity, something that politicians have very little effect on in the short term. We can all play games with economic statistics and where presidencies begin and end, but most of the claims involved are partisan fictions.

But that truism was never tested by Donald Trump.