Trump is not a complicated politician or businessman. He only values good news, even when it is not true. He is not afraid to lie in order to create “good news.”
So, it is not surprising that the Republican governor of Ohio, Mike Dewine, has complied with a Trump administration request to stop reporting daily unemployment figures and only post weekly ones. What Trump wants to hide are the facts about unemployment claims. Specifically, “Last week (the week of March 16), the Ohio Department of Job and Family Services reported that claims for unemployment filed between Sunday and Thursday had reached nearly 140,000, up from fewer than 5,000 during the same period a week earlier.” The goal is to keep the unemployment numbers out of the public eye of voters in the crucial swing state of Ohio.
What Trump fears is that the unemployment chart will devastate his chances of misleading the country for another four years in the next election. He has a point since it is easy to fool people. Or as Chico Marx said in the classic movie, Duck Soup: “Well, who ya gonna believe me or your own eyes?”
Steve Mnuchin, formerly of Goldman Sachs, and now Trump’s Secretary of the Treasury, as well as Larry Kudlow, Trump’s economic advisor are both working to perpetuate Trump’s lies about the impact of the virus on the economy in order to keep the people happy, so they will not be distracted by the real unemployment numbers.
Mnuchin is no stranger to engaging in bad business practices. If he was, he would not be in the Trump administration. Mnuchin was accused of “asset stripping” (a core practice in private equity firms) after he left the board of director os Sears and Kmart.
Mnuchin is trying the old magician’s distraction trick of saying, “Don’t look at the UI (unemployment insurance) data released today or in the coming weeks.”
He then said:
“To be honest with you, I just think these numbers right now are not relevant, whether they are bigger or smaller in the short-term,” Mnuchin said, in an interview on CNBC.
Here is the chart of unemployed Americans Mnuchin says is “not relevant”:
This chart shows numbers that are released every Thursday and show filings from the previous week. Weekly unemployment insurance claims are the best indicator of current economic activity
So, as more of Trump’s executive inabilities emerge, look for more attempts to ignore the obvious and for him to tell you to ignore what you are seeing. Chico Marx figured Trump out. It’s too bad so many Americans still cannot trust their own eyes.