The canary in the coal mine.

Today I’m going to talk about the economy, and I’ll direct your attention dear non-existent reader to this article, because I love these guys for their unfiltered views on the stock market and the broader economy as a whole. Now they aren’t reading some arcane tome or reading the tea leaves here, and the data is there for anyone willing to dig into it. Most of us have other things on our minds besides what the employment rates were for the past decade, despite polling that suggests the economy is a top concern among likely voters. That’s why it’s important to look beyond what current and former presidents are saying about it, and go directly to the numbers.

When it comes to U.S presidents, former and sitting, they all follow the same pattern. Obviously anything bad is quickly attributed to their predecessors in the White House. They are also quick to claim credit when the numbers are glowing. That should make blame or credit taking on behalf of any particular administration immediately suspect, and the current administration is no different.

My absolute favorite number in the article is the number of coal mining jobs created in the past three months. Spoiler alert! It’s a big, fat goose egg. That tells us a few things about U.S presidents and their ability to actually affect the economy. Trump has failed to create any coal mining jobs in an era of record low unemployment, despite making it a key campaign promise, despite easing the regulations around the coal mining industry, despite corporate tax cuts, and despite having a party majority in both houses of Congress.

No matter what the Trump administration does, they will never be able to fulfill that campaign promise. Why? Because no U.S president is directly in control of the economy. While they may be able to influence it with policy, market forces will always “trump” executive action. In other words, Trump’s policies run counter to market forces, forces which literally favor all other forms of energy production other than coal.

So the next time you hear a president take credit for the current state of the economy, or blame it on his or her predecessors, remember that it’s all more or less bullshit.

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