“Mr. Trump’s Blame List is long,” reported Peter Baker for The New York Times. “On top, of course, is Jerome H. Powell, the chair of the Federal Reserve — never mind that Mr. Trump was the one who appointed him. Then there are the Democrats, and not to mention the news media. And on Friday, the president added American businesses to the list, arguing that struggling companies have only themselves to blame and are rationalizing their own mistakes by pointing to, just to name an example, Mr. Trump’s multibillion-dollar tariffs and America’s biggest trade war in generations.”
Last week Peter Costello accused Malcolm Turnbull of failing to develop an economic narrative to unite the Coalition. Turnbull promised this when he challenged Tony Abbott for the leadership of the Liberal Party, but, said Costello, it never came, and the result is a government struggling to manage deep differences over social issues. There was “jobs and growth”, but this is really just a goal without much of a story about how to get there, except for the company tax cuts.
The big question, though, is why the government does not have a coherent economic narrative.
One possible answer is that it has been too preoccupied with social issues such as religious freedom and before that, same-sex marriage, to give the economy sufficient attention. There is something in that.