The president goes naked

On the balance of the Obama presidency, I wrote that "the next one tries to do better". Unfortunately, Trump did no better. In many ways, he didn't even try to do better.

The title of this column could be about a president who was, inexplicably, getting a bare-chested vaccine, accompanied by reporters. But no, that could be in January. In this case it is about a president, on the other side of the Atlantic, who has performed the task so deliriously that it is time for the people to tell him that he is stripped of any authority.

The first column I wrote for Jornal Económico, in January 2017, was about the balance of the presidency of Barack Obama, and ended with the following challenge: “the next one that tries to do better”. Unfortunately, Donald Trump did not do better, and worse, in many ways he did not even try to do better.

To be honest, expectations for the Republican's good performance in the White House were low. The dubious business past, the ego shown in the television career and the xenophobic and chauvinistic messages he expressed in the campaign in 2016, not to mention the suspicions about Russian interference, made him fear the worst. Even so, he managed, in several aspects, to disappoint.

Let us start with an area of ​​activity in which Obama was criticized - external relations - for making mistakes, such as the disastrous action in Libya, and for failing to control the risk posed by North Korea. In the case of Trump, the deal with Kim Jong Un is the main success in the global arena as it has managed to minimize a serious threat.

Unfortunately, however, it was the exception that made the rule. The American president is against multilateralism, privileging bilateral relations. Only in this field he acted aggressively and impetuously, often unnecessarily, as the bullying that is doing globally to defeat the Chinese Huawei in the construction of 5G networks.

In the field of economics, the mandate is marked by the trade war with China, with mixed results, and fiscal reform, which mainly benefited the wealthiest, as expected. The economy continued to grow, until the pandemic, with the Federal Reserve (Fed) helping, in prolonging the tree of the Obama era.

In internal relations, the balance is terrible. The Fed, Democrats, the media, immigrants, anti-racist protesters, women and even former allies have been insulted and demonized. Politics is war, but not everything goes and Trump managed to further polarize a divided country.

The pandemic has brought the worst combination of these behaviors. China and the World Health Organization can and should be criticized for their poor work in containing the virus, but Trump used them as scapegoats to excuse their erratic and irresponsible management. Internally, it attacked everyone who disagreed minimally, whether experts like Anthony Fauci or politicians like Andrew Cuomo.

In the economy, and after a good initial reaction, which included valiant aid from the Fed (whose board Trump had called useless, among other things), it has not yet been able to reach agreement with the Democrats to launch a new package of crucial stimuli to maintain the recovery and protect those most affected by the pandemic.

In all these aspects, Trump acts and speaks as if he knows everything and as if dialogue and commitments are a mere waste of time in view of his evident superiority in all matters.

Joe Biden is not an inspiring candidate, but he serves. The time has come for Americans to take inspiration from the boy in Hans Christian Andersen's tale and tell the president that he is naked and that we know.


The New Bank and the power games at the end of the cycle

With the pandemic undermining the government's popularity, it smells like the end of the cycle. And both the PSD and the Bloc hope to gain from this, albeit putting the financial system at risk.

The complete legend

Maradona was wonderful as an artist and terrible as a man. It was not the first. It won't be the last. But tell this to young people: football, fortunately, has incomparably better examples.

Break the circle

It is time to try to reverse the process. This requires public investment, well directed and focused, effective and efficient and, above all, a catalyst for private investment. It obviously requires a lot of state.