Trump’s Favorite Barometer Is Warning Him

The stock market is calling the White House to account, and it won’t be easily distracted.   

The S&P 500 Index has tumbled 19.8 percent from its recent high on Sept. 20 through Monday, just shy of a 20 percent decline that customarily defines a bear market. It’s no doubt a bitter pill for President Donald Trump. He fancies himself a champion of American business and gauges his success by the level of the stock market. With stock prices plummeting, the president can’t feel great about how things are going.  

Nor should he. Economists have warned for months that Trump’s trade policies could squeeze American companies’ bottom lines and that recordbudget deficits could hamper the economy, overshadowing the boost from his corporate tax cuts. With every decline, the market is warning the administration that those risks are growing.  

Rather than rethink its policies, the White House has turned to its well-worn playbook of distraction and blame. It won’t work. Stocks don’t care much for politics, but they care a lot about stability, the economy and how companies perform. If Trump wants to pacify the market, he will have to address the issues it actually cares about.

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