GOP presidents have terrible luck. The last three before Trump took office near economic and market peaks, and Trump may have done the same.

That’s what Gluskin Sheff economist David Rosenberg said at the Mauldin Economics Strategic Investment Conference today. In a sweeping presentation he called “The Trials and Tribulations of Trumponomics,” Rosenberg noted the odd pattern dating back almost 40 years.

David Rosenberg

Stocks Have Crashed under Ronald Reagan, George H.W. Bush

1981: Ronald Reagan came into office under a weak economy—one reason voters tossed out Jimmy Carter—but it would get much worse. Then-Fed chair Paul Volcker tightened interest rates to all-time highs, sending stocks down 30% and the economy into a recession. It stamped out inflation, but didn’t win Reagan much good will.

1989: George H.W. Bush came in on Reagan’s coattails as the economy bounced back from the 1987 crash. He rode high to victory in the first Gulf War but then recession struck. Bush lost his re-election bid to Bill Clinton.

2001: Like Reagan, George W. Bush took office (after the Florida recount) after the decline had already started. The Nasdaq Composite had peaked almost a year earlier, but the Tech Crash was only beginning. Recession followed.

2017: Donald Trump takes office eight years into the weakest growth cycle in history… but a strong stock market. Like Reagan, Trump also has a Fed chair determined to tighten rates.

Chances of a US Recession During Trump’s First Term Are High

Rosenberg thinks the inflation Yellen wants to fight is mostly an illusion. He pointed out that CPI Core Goods (basically anything tangible) has been deflating for months. Unemployment might be 8% or more if we included robots in the labor force. Demographics factors are aggravating all the other problems as Boomers reach retirement age, but don’t retire… often because they can’t afford to.

Can Trump avoid recession in his first and perhaps only term? Rosenberg is doubtful. It will reduce Trump’s already-low public approval and maybe drive him from office. But it really won’t be his fault.

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