The Most Dreadful Inaugural Address in History

A speech traditionally used to unite was instead a continuation of a divisive campaign.

trump-inauguration-speech

George Will has aptly described Donald Trump’s first address to the nation as its president as “the most dreadful inaugural address in history.”

I was able to listen to only the first few minutes before going off to a meeting but that was more than enough to be appalled. I came in with the lowest of expectations; it was worse than I could have imagined. It began with promise:

Chief Justice Roberts, President Carter, President Clinton, President Bush, President Obama, fellow Americans, and people of the world: Thank you.

We, the citizens of America, are now joined in a great national effort to rebuild our country and to restore its promise for all of our people.

With those simple words–“all of our people”–Trump seemed to signal that he understood the heated rhetoric of his stump speeches and some of his choices to staff his administration genuinely terrified large swaths of the country who believe their freedom to be endangered with the transfer of power. Alas, it turned out to be throat-clearing, not an olive branch.

Together, we will determine the course of America and the world for years to come.

We will face challenges. We will confront hardships. But we will get the job done.

Every four years, we gather on these steps to carry out the orderly and peaceful transfer of power, and we are grateful to President Obama and First Lady Michelle Obama for their gracious aid throughout this transition. They have been magnificent.

There is humility and graciousness in these words. But, again, it turned out to be pro forma.  This was the first sign of trouble ahead:

Today’s ceremony, however, has very special meaning. Because today we are not merely transferring power from one administration to another, or from one party to another — but we are transferring power from Washington, D.C. and giving it back to you, the American People.

While not particularly inflammatory or original, this is the language of stump speeches designed to stir up a crowd, not an inaugural address designed to unify the country by reaching out to those who voted for the other candidate.

For too long, a small group in our nation’s Capital has reaped the rewards of government while the people have borne the cost. Washington flourished — but the people did not share in its wealth. Politicians prospered — but the jobs left, and the factories closed.

The establishment protected itself, but not the citizens of our country. Their victories have not been your victories; their triumphs have not been your triumphs; and while they celebrated in our nation’s capital, there was little to celebrate for struggling families all across our land.

Aside from the absurdity of these implied causalities, Trump is now leading that government and needs to work with politicians to get things done.

That all changes — starting right here, and right now, because this moment is your moment: it belongs to you.

It belongs to everyone gathered here today and everyone watching all across America. This is your day. This is your celebration. And this, the United States of America, is your country.

What truly matters is not which party controls our government, but whether our government is controlled by the people. January 20th 2017, will be remembered as the day the people became the rulers of this nation again. The forgotten men and women of our country will be forgotten no longer.

Everyone is listening to you now.

Aside from insulting President Obama and the other former presidents who he thanked at the beginning of the speech, this isn’t particularly horrible. It’s a half-baked populism devoid of meaning, in that, in point of fact, governing decisions will continue to be made by the people’s representatives, not the people themselves, just as it has since the beginning of our republic. And “rulers” is not really a word one uses in the context of a democratic system.

You came by the tens of millions to become part of a historic movement the likes of which the world has never seen before.

I have no idea what he’s talking about here. The inauguration was sparsely attended by any modern standard and certainly a small fraction of a million people, let alone “tens of millions.” If he’s talking about those who showed up on election day, well, millions more voted for his opponent.

This is just awful on so many levels:

At the center of this movement is a crucial conviction: that a nation exists to serve its citizens.

Americans want great schools for their children, safe neighborhoods for their families, and good jobs for themselves. These are the just and reasonable demands of a righteous public.

But for too many of our citizens, a different reality exists: Mothers and children trapped in poverty in our inner cities; rusted-out factories scattered like tombstones across the landscape of our nation; an education system flush with cash, but which leaves our young and beautiful students deprived of knowledge; and the crime and gangs and drugs that have stolen too many lives and robbed our country of so much unrealized potential.

This American carnage stops right here and stops right now.

Again, this is the stuff of stump speeches, not inaugural addresses. Obama painted a much, much brighter picture of America in his 2009 speech, which took place at the apex of the Great Recession. While we have all manner of problems, we’re simply not a post-apocalyptic society rife with crime, violence, and hopelessness. And, to the extent our public schools and inner city policing are in peril, there’s precious little the head of the executive branch of the federal government can do about municipal-level problems. Nor, frankly, has he heretofore given any indication that he much cares about the plight of the inner city poor.

The phrase “American carnage” has rightly appalled many observers. It’s simply a bizarre and unseemly description.

Next, a brief respite:

We are one nation — and their pain is our pain. Their dreams are our dreams; and their success will be our success. We share one heart, one home, and one glorious destiny.

The oath of office I take today is an oath of allegiance to all Americans.

Those sound like lines written by a professional speechwriter and which belong in an inaugural address. Alas, the tenor immediately shifts back to our regularly scheduled demagoguery:

For many decades, we’ve enriched foreign industry at the expense of American industry; subsidized the armies of other countries while allowing for the very sad depletion of our military; we’ve defended other nation’s borders while refusing to defend our own; and spent trillions of dollars overseas while America’s infrastructure has fallen into disrepair and decay.

We’ve made other countries rich while the wealth, strength, and confidence of our country has disappeared over the horizon.

One by one, the factories shuttered and left our shores, with not even a thought about the millions upon millions of American workers left behind.
The wealth of our middle class has been ripped from their homes and then redistributed across the entire world.

That’s just a bizarre description of reality. We’re richer than ever and our military is lavishly funded. It’s true that the manufacturing economy that existed in the 1950s and 1960s has been replaced by a much different one. It’s true that the middle class has shrunk, with the wealth distribution polarized. It’s not, however, true that it’s because jobs have gone overseas. Nor is there any way for the president to restore that bygone economy.

Beyond that, though, it’s simply not the unifying, uplifting rhetoric one expects in our quadrennial ceremony celebrating our democracy.

But that is the past. And now we are looking only to the future. We assembled here today are issuing a new decree to be heard in every city, in every foreign capital, and in every hall of power.
From this day forward, a new vision will govern our land.
Democratic leaders do not issue decrees. Especially dictating national visions.
From this moment on, it’s going to be America First.

By now, he knows the historical connotations of that phrase. That he continues to use it is startling. So is his interpretation of how to use it as a governing vision:

Every decision on trade, on taxes, on immigration, on foreign affairs, will be made to benefit American workers and American families. We must protect our borders from the ravages of other countries making our products, stealing our companies, and destroying our jobs. Protection will lead to great prosperity and strength.

So, back to the good old days of Smoot-Hawley and mercantilism.

I will fight for you with every breath in my body — and I will never, ever let you down.

America will start winning again, winning like never before.

We will bring back our jobs. We will bring back our borders. We will bring back our wealth. And we will bring back our dreams.

We will build new roads, and highways, and bridges, and airports, and tunnels, and railways all across our wonderful nation.

We will get our people off of welfare and back to work — rebuilding our country with American hands and American labor.

We will follow two simple rules: Buy American and hire American.

Aside from the simplemindedness of it, all, that’s not terrible by the standards of the speech thus far.

We will seek friendship and goodwill with the nations of the world — but we do so with the understanding that it is the right of all nations to put their own interests first.
We do not seek to impose our way of life on anyone, but rather to let it shine as an example for everyone to follow.
We will reinforce old alliances and form new ones — and unite the civilized world against radical Islamic terrorism, which we will eradicate completely from the face of the Earth.

That’s a rather convoluted foreign policy but nothing particularly objectionable.

At the bedrock of our politics will be a total allegiance to the United States of America, and through our loyalty to our country, we will rediscover our loyalty to each other.

I have no idea what the hell that means, much less how it would be implemented.

When you open your heart to patriotism, there is no room for prejudice. The Bible tells us, “How good and pleasant it is when God’s people live together in unity.”

We must speak our minds openly, debate our disagreements honestly, but always pursue solidarity.

When America is united, America is totally unstoppable.

That’s a muddled governing vision but seems innocuous enough.

There should be no fear — we are protected, and we will always be protected.

We will be protected by the great men and women of our military and law enforcement and, most importantly, we are protected by God.

That’s a ten-year-old’s view of both national security and religion but inoffensive.

Finally, we must think big and dream even bigger.

In America, we understand that a nation is only living as long as it is striving.

We will no longer accept politicians who are all talk and no action — constantly complaining but never doing anything about it.

The time for empty talk is over. Now arrives the hour of action.

Do not let anyone tell you it cannot be done. No challenge can match the heart and fight and spirit of America.

We will not fail. Our country will thrive and prosper again.

Again, simpleminded and inelegant but fine insofar as it goes.

We stand at the birth of a new millennium, ready to unlock the mysteries of space, to free the Earth from the miseries of disease, and to harness the energies, industries and technologies of tomorrow.

The millennium started sixteen years ago but fine.

A new national pride will stir our souls, lift our sights, and heal our divisions.

It is time to remember that old wisdom our soldiers will never forget: that whether we are black or brown or white, we all bleed the same red blood of patriots, we all enjoy the same glorious freedoms, and we all salute the same great American Flag.

That’s simultaneously noble and weird. Why is he making up soldier wisdom? What blood has he bled? He never served in the military, unless one counts boarding school. (And one doesn’t.)

And whether a child is born in the urban sprawl of Detroit or the windswept plains of Nebraska, they look up at the same night sky, they fill their heart with the same dreams, and they are infused with the breath of life by the same almighty Creator.

 

None of that is true but fine.  He closes out with a more traditional set of homilies:

So to all Americans, in every city near and far, small and large, from mountain to mountain, and from ocean to ocean, hear these words:

You will never be ignored again.

Your voice, your hopes, and your dreams will define our American destiny. And your courage and goodness and love will forever guide us along the way.

Together, We will make America strong again.

We will make [America?] wealthy again.

We will make America proud again.

We will make America safe again.

And yes, together, we will make America great again. Thank you. God bless you. And God bless America.

We’re gonna need it.

FILED UNDER: General
James Joyner
About James Joyner
James Joyner is a Security Studies professor at Marine Corps University's Command and Staff College and a nonresident senior fellow at the Scowcroft Center for Strategy and Security at the Atlantic Council. He's a former Army officer and Desert Storm vet. Views expressed here are his own. Follow James on Twitter @DrJJoyner.

Comments

  1. C. Clavin says:

    Russia attacked us.
    Jim Comey committed an act of treason.
    We stood by and passively watched.
    This absurdity is the consequence of our inaction.

  2. Tony W says:

    God save America…..

  3. Jen says:

    It’s a half-baked populism devoid of meaning

    This is what I expect of the next four years given that speech. The entire thing was depressing and baffling. I also think he’s setting himself up for failure, but he thinks he’s managing expectations. As though his speech is going to be the metric by which he is measured: if he says America is a crime-ridden ruin on Day 1 of his presidency, and it isn’t in four years, then voila, he has saved us all.

    In other words, he’s expecting the historical record to have the same amnesia/inattention to reality that his supporters exhibit. Dreadful and depressing.

  4. HarvardLaw92 says:

    That moment during the dance – the one where he sidelined his “wife” and took the stage singing ‘My Way’ – that’s the Donald Trump I know. Physically unable to sidestep any and every opportunity to shout “pay attention to me!”

    And yea, that speech was dreadful. He still sounds like he’s running because he has no idea how to lead. These people are an embarrassment …

    🙄

  5. Facebones says:

    @Jen:

    In other words, he’s expecting the historical record to have the same amnesia/inattention to reality that his supporters exhibit.

    Can you blame him? He’s paid zero consequences for any of the crazy things he said the last year and a half. Why should he expect that to change now?

  6. JohnMcC says:

    The best descriptive phrase I have run across for our present administration: ‘…a test-to-destruction of the U.S. government’. From Tom Levinson at Balloon-juice.

  7. Pch101 says:

    Hey, he’s already helping the disenfranchised with higher mortgage insurance payments and less healthcare. And the term has barely started.

    Populists on both sides of the aisle are idiots, but at least the ones on the left aren’t so mean-spirited.

  8. Slugger says:

    In the early days of the campaign I was talking to a Trump supporter who spoke this language of an America on the brink of ruin. I tried to cite some statistics showing that unemployment, crime, murder, police killed in line of duty, teenage pregnancy, abortions, teen alcohol use were all improved in the last few years. Actually, many things were a lot better than twenty five years ago. My friend remained convinced of our impending doom. In the address, Trump talks of making America safe again; I will confess to being a smug elitist, but I feel safe and see very little to feel unsafe about. Young guys driving jacked-up pickups at speeds inappropriate for snowy roads are the biggest threat to me dying quietly in bed of Alzheimer’s. Obviously, our country has problems, but do others see us on a sharp downward slope?

  9. Barry says:

    In addition to everything else, the speech was a string of lies from the beginning to the end:

    1) Every attempt to help the US people was bitterly opposed by the right.

    2) The right has worked hard to f*ck over the American People.

    3) Tump’s (and the GOP’s) plan is to f*ck the American People like they’ve never been f*cked before.

  10. Trump is not a populist, he is a cheap demagogue. He is the caudillo/coronel of Latin American Tradition, not a populist.

  11. Terrye Cravens says:

    I read that Stephen Bannon wrote this speech and said it came from a deep well of patriotism or some such nonsense. It came from a deep well of self serving cynicism.

    BTW, are the Trumps planning on bringing all of their international businesses back to the USA so that starving Americans can feed their children and put a roof over their impoverished heads?

  12. michael reynolds says:

    I was encouraged by the speech for this reason: Trump has no capacity to reach beyond his 46%. This is a good thing. He doesn’t have an ‘A’ game. He has nothing but what we’ve already seen, which means he’s weak. He’s a comic who has five good minutes trying to film an HBO special.

    He started with 46%. The RCP average has him at 42% now. He is the least popular, the least prepared, the least capable, the nastiest and most repulsive creature to be elected to the White House certainly in living memory, and probably ever. And he lacks the capacity to broaden his appeal.

    BTW Obama leaves office 57 to 39, making him one of the more popular recent presidents. Why? Because Obama is not a psychopathic toddler in a creepy old man’s body. Watching the orange slug dancing with his mail-order bride is if nothing else aesthetically appalling.

  13. S. Fields says:

    @Terrye Cravens:

    For too long, a small group in our nation’s Capital has reaped the rewards of government while the people have borne the cost. Washington flourished — but the people did not share in its wealth. Politicians prospered — but the jobs left, and the factories closed.
    The establishment protected itself, but not the citizens of our country. Their victories have not been your victories; their triumphs have not been your triumphs; and while they celebrated in our nation’s capital, there was little to celebrate for struggling families all across our land.

    You’ll note it’s never business that isn’t sharing the wealth and rewards.

  14. CSK says:

    @michael reynolds:

    The aesthetics of this administration may be among the less crucial of its issues, but I will say that the thought of seeing on the news each evening a face that is capable only of snarling, smirking, and pouting is…disquieting.

    President Donald Trump: three words I never thought I’d see in conjunction.

  15. @HarvardLaw92:

    He still sounds like he’s running because he has no idea how to lead.

    This strikes me as accurate.

  16. @Andre Kenji de Sousa:

    Trump is not a populist, he is a cheap demagogue. He is the caudillo/coronel of Latin American Tradition, not a populist.

    I would argue that those are not mutually exclusive. One be can a demagogic populist (or a populistic demagogue if one prefers). Chavez certainly was.

  17. MBunge says:

    I fail to see how the “Happy Happy, Joy Joy” nonsense James Joyner was obviously craving would have made for either a better or more truthful speech.

    We’ve been at war for well over a decade and not one single person in our supposedly responsible and wise political establishment has the slightest clue when or even how that war will end.

    Unlike every other demographic in America, the death rate for middle-aged whites is increasing and experts directly link that to a rise in suicide and substance abuse.

    See that thing over there that has grown tremendously? That thing we were worried about when it was a fraction of its present size? That’s the federal deficit and debt and every projection, even those made when Barack Obama was still President, has it massively increasing as far as the eye can see.

    Wage growth has been significantly below the 20 year historical average during the entire six years since The Great Recession and income inequality has only worsened.

    And the list could go on and on.

    Is it quite as bad as Trump makes it out to be? No. Is he actually going to do much about it? Probably not. But just as it’s not terribly helpful to tell Black Lives Matter activists that African-Americans are far more likely to be killed by other African-Americans than they are by white cops, turning a blind eye to the real problems and impotent responses to those problems that led us to President Trump is not going to make those problems go away.

    And there’s one more thing this whole inaugural speech brouhaha illustrates. For the next four years or however long Trump is in power, Tantrum Politics aren’t going to work. Too much of our political discourse has degenerated into this person or that group pitching an irresponsible fit and then expecting someone else to act like a grown up. Conservatives did it to Clinton. Liberals did it to Bush when they stopped cowering in fear of him. Conservatives and some liberals did it to Obama. Now liberals and some conservatives want to do it to Trump, except Trump is NEVER going to be the grown up.

    Liberals have spent the last 16 years romanticizing and idealizing the brutally combative way Bill Clinton responded to the Monica mess. They’ve internalized it as the way you have to fight Republicans, even though it’s not at all how Clinton conducted himself for most of his Administration. It’s not how he actually accomplished any of the things he accomplished and it’s the fallout from such behavior that helped poison the well for Hillary.

    Well, the way Bill Clinton dealt with his scandals is the way Donald Trump is going to deal with EVERYTHING. He’s not going to use his inaugural to extend an olive branch to those who’ve spent the last two months viciously attacking his legitimacy. Should he have? Perhaps, but he’s never going to do that kind of thing and we had all better understand that.

    Mike

  18. Stormy Dragon says:

    @Pch101:

    Hey, he’s already helping the disenfranchised with higher mortgage insurance payments

    1) No he didn’t. The reduction in question wasn’t going to go into effect until next week, and wouldn’t have affected anyone who already has a mortgage anyways.
    2) It was a regressive proposal; it mostly benefited rich people who bought large houses
    3) Obama raised the rates .75% in 2012. If Trump is so horribly awful for failing to lower them .25% now, where was the outrage in 2012?

  19. Gustopher says:

    He began his campaign with “the American Dream is dead” along with comments about most Mexicans being rapists and drug dealers.

    He begins his administration with “American carnage”, but without any references to brown people swarming across our borders to rape our women.

    I think he is getting better? Maybe?

  20. Senyordave says:

    @MBunge: That thing we were worried about when it was a fraction of its present size? That’s the federal deficit and debt and every projection, even those made when Barack Obama was still President, has it massively increasing as far as the eye can see.

    Let’s see if we can all figure out the major source of the massive increase in federal debt under Barack Obama. We’ll go back in time to the beginning of the GW Bush administration. He came into office with a federal budget that was running a surplus. We could finally start to pay down our debt. No, we won’t be doing that. Instead we’ll put in a massive tax cut that will be 100% paid for by increased growth. And obviously they didn’t pay for themselves, because we went from a $200 billion surplus to a $500 billion deficit in no time at all. What the Bush tax cuts did was to create a structural deficit in the US budget. Obama started with a $1 trillion dollar deficit and has managed to decrease it over time. He was handed a shit sandwich and has done pretty well with it, considering the opposition party started out by telling him they would never work with him. Our taxes are too low for what we spend. The run up in the debt, IMO, is due to Bush’s complete and total fiscal irresponsibility. I work in finance and some of my co-workers are definitely right wing, but to a person they agree that Bush is responsible for the budget problems in the US. If the Bush tax cuts had never gone in, I believe our debt would be less than half of what it is.

    Now we have Trump and his people pushing for a tax cut that will be paid for by, you guessed it, the magical higher growth fairies. That will work out well.

    And as far as the attack on Trump’s legitimacy as POTUS, you have to be effin kidding us. Trump made a living as a birther, pushing a divisive racist narrative for years after Obama produced his birth certificate. Trump deserves any scorn he gets. It must be all Obama can do to have to stand next to Trump without strangling him.

  21. anjin-san says:

    Trump has but one gear. This is not news…

  22. al-Ameda says:

    Let me preface my evaluation of Trump’s inaugural address by saying that I’m proud of myself, I forced myself to watch it, and not only that, watch it without hitting the mute button, or turning it off entirely in mid cesspool stream.

    This inaugural address is exactly what I expected from a real estate developer, salesman, con man. This was the address I expected from a proven ill-tempered vindictive narcissist. On the basis of my very low expectations I have to say, Trump delivered.

  23. wr says:

    @Stormy Dragon: “2) It was a regressive proposal; it mostly benefited rich people who bought large houses”

    Rich people who buy large houses generally put down more than a 10% deposit and thus don’t require mortgage insurance.

  24. Al says:

    Yeah, so dreadful it was downright DEPLORABLE.

    MAGA!

  25. An Interested Party says:

    See that thing over there that has grown tremendously? That thing we were worried about when it was a fraction of its present size? That’s the federal deficit and debt and every projection, even those made when Barack Obama was still President, has it massively increasing as far as the eye can see.

    Certainly now, with Republicans in charge of everything, that thing over there will explode as never before…as we’ve seen, deficits only matter when Democrats are in charge…

    For the next four years or however long Trump is in power, Tantrum Politics aren’t going to work.

    Bullshit…Tantrum Politics is how Trump and Republicans got where they are today…

    Liberals have spent the last 16 years romanticizing and idealizing the brutally combative way Bill Clinton responded to the Monica mess.

    Perhaps he should have simply resigned to show good will to Republicans who treated him as illegitimate before he ever took office…

    He’s not going to use his inaugural to extend an olive branch to those who’ve spent the last two months viciously attacking his legitimacy.

    As if his election is completely legitimate? Please…your concern trolling is just so lovely…

  26. Stormy Dragon says:

    @wr:

    Mortgage Insurance is based on the amount being secured. So for whatever group is using it, most of the benefit is going to be to the people buying the most expensive houses. Not Warren Buffet rich types, sure, but it’s still mostly going to concentrate on people making well above median salary, which seems a bad idea, particularly when reducing money going into the FHA insurance pool increases risks of financial contagion effects.

    This is a textbook moral hazard; putting all taxpayers at risk so that a select few better off can buy bigger houses they maybe shouldn’t be buying to begin. If we want to help actual poor people, there’s better ways to do that than manipulating mortgage insurance rates.

  27. Pch101 says:

    @Stormy Dragon:

    Er, FHA loans balances are capped at 115% of the median home price in a given area. High cost areas effectively have a lower cap than that, as the maximum loan allowed under the program cannot exceed $636k.

    So you can’t use an FHA loan to buy a McMansion. Your comment is false.

  28. @Steven L. Taylor: Caudillos/Coroneis usually have a populist rhetoric. But they are not populist, they only make use of populist rhetoric. Chavez had lots of populist policies: he did not take healthcare from poor people.

  29. Terrye Cravens says:

    @Andre Kenji de Sousa: No, he just took food away from them. Healthy and hungry.

  30. @Terrye Cravens: I don’t like Chavez and I don’t like people praising him. But he did not INTEND to take food from anyone.

  31. Gromitt Gunn says:

    @Stormy Dragon: You are conflating the mortgage insurance premium required by FHA guaranteed loans with the mortgage insurance that private lenders generally require when someone’s down payment is less than a given threshold.

  32. Stormy Dragon says:

    @Gromitt Gunn:

    The measure being discussed was the the rate for the FHA “Upfront Mortgage Insurance Premium” charged on mortgages with a down payment of less than 5%, which is mostly equivalent to the private mortgage insurance you mention.

  33. Eric Florack says:

    But Reagan is 63, and looks it. His hair is still remarkably free of gray, but around the mouth and neck he looks like an old man. He’s never demonstrated substantial national appeal. His hardcore support today consists primarily of the kamikaze conservatives who thought the 1964 Goldwater campaign was jolly fun. And there’s a reason to doubt that Reagan is well suited to appeal to the electorate that just produced a democratic landslide. If a Reagan third party would just lead the “Nixon was lynched” crowd away from the Republican party, and into outer darkness where there is a wailing and gnashing of teeth, it might be at worst a mixed course for the Republican party. It would cost the party some support, but it would make the party seem cleansed.”…

    George Will.

  34. Guarneri says:

    “A speech traditionally used to unite….”

    With who, the same, tired old establishment? They have been doing such a sparkling job. This was the speech of a turnaround guy. Government is broken. The critics simply can’t come to terms with that. It crushes their worldview.

  35. Dumb Brit says:

    @michael reynolds: one of his mail order brides!

  36. Pch101 says:

    @Guarneri:

    Do your Russian overlords pay you for this tripe, or are you foolish enough to provide it for free?

    (If you’re going to be a dupe, then you should at least demand some compensation.)

  37. wr says:

    @Guarneri: ““A speech traditionally used to unite….”

    With who, the same, tired old establishment? ”

    The American people, you moron. You know, all those millions and millions of us who voted against this turd.

  38. Gromitt Gunn says:

    @Stormy Dragon: FHA MIP and private lender PMI are different in several key ways that render invalid any assertion of their eqiuvalence.

    First and separately, the Upfront MIP and the annual mortgage insurance premium for FHA loans are separate things. It is a rate reduction in annual MIP and not the upfront MIP that is under consideration here.

    Second, witb an FHA loan, the annual fee exists for the entire life of the mortgage, regardless of the age of the loan. The annual mortgage insurance portion of my monthly payment is about $120 (I’m not at home to look up the exact amount) per month in the third year of my 30 year fixed loan that originated at $101,500. While it will drop each year as my acciunt balance does, it never goes away. I am assumed to present the same level of default risk regardless of how far along I am into the life of the loan.

    By contrast, private lenders are only allowed by law to require mortgage insurance for as long as the loan to value ratio is higher than 80%. The borrower can initiate cancellation at 80%, and the lender *must* cance the requirement by the time the loan hits 78%. This is because all borrowers with a loan to value of 80% or less are considered to have a sufficiently low default risk, regardless of the ratio at loan origination.

    For my loan, I would hit an 80% loan to value ratio around the end of the 10th year. However, since I have an FHA mortgage, I will still have to pay the annual insurance fee for the remaining 20 years, whereas someone with a private mortgage would not.

    That is a diference for most borrowers of a cost of borrowing in the tens or thousands or hundreds of thousands of dollar over rge life of the loan. For a low income borrower, that is a significant incrental difference in borrowing costs (typically amounting to several years of gross wage income), which certainly makes the two not equivalent.

  39. DrDaveT says:

    @JohnMcC:

    The best descriptive phrase I have run across for our present administration:

    I prefer “The Dumpster Fire of the Vanities”.

  40. Pch101 says:

    @wr:

    Have you noticed even a single right-wing blogger or internet poster or Facebook buddy or whatever who has acknowledged in the last 2 1/2 months that Trump came in a distant second?

    Personally, I haven’t. Not even once. You would think from their comments that Trump had won by some sort of decisive landslide — there isn’t even a hint that he didn’t come close or that Clinton received more votes.

    If there was ever any doubt that these people are utterly devoid of integrity, then consider it to be erased.

  41. Gromitt Gunn says:

    @Stormy Dragon:

    3) Obama raised the rates .75% in 2012. If Trump is so horribly awful for failing to lower them .25% now, where was the outrage in 2012?

    Oh, man, how did I miss this assertion the first time?

    The FHA maintain a mortgage guarantee fund, which is what the annual MIP is paid into. The guarantee fund needs to keep enough of a fund balance in order to reimburse the holders of the FHA mortgage debt if the borrower defaults.

    In order to do that, the annual MIP rate needs to be sufficient to keep the fund balance healthy enough to pay out anticipated defaults over the near future. If the balance drops down to far – as it did as a result of the economic crisis in 2008, 2009, 2010, then then the rate needs to go up to build the fund back up.

    Once the fund is healthy again, the rate is supposed to go back down.

  42. An Interested Party says:

    With who, the same, tired old establishment? They have been doing such a sparkling job. This was the speech of a turnaround guy. Government is broken. The critics simply can’t come to terms with that. It crushes their worldview.

    Uh huh…funny how the “turnaround guy” is stocking his cabinet full of establishment figures…people like Steven Mnuchin and Elaine Chao aren’t exactly part of the vanguard of the revolution…the worldview that is being crushed is that of those who voted for Trump with the expectation that he would help them rather than other rich fat cats like himself…

  43. Gustopher says:

    The best that can be said about his speech is that hardly anyone saw it, despite assertions from the Trump Administration that it was the largest, most viewed inauguration in history, and that the white tarps protecting the grass made it just look like no one was there. (Also, tv viewership was down)

    There were more protesters today than people turning out for the inauguration yesterday.

    An embattled, unpopular president took office yesterday, and made a bitter speech about carnage.

  44. HarvardLaw92 says:

    And predictably they followed up a disaster of an inauguration speech with a disaster of a maiden press conference.

    What did Spicer talk about? FHA? Obamacare? Any one of the multitude of other important issues facing us as a nation?

    No. Inauguration attendance numbers. I shit you not. He sent Spicer out there to throw a tantrum about inauguration attendance numbers.

    This is the sort of amateur hour unforced errors I was hoping for. He’s physically incapable of ignoring anything he sees as a slight to his ego; he’ll try to kick the football and land on his ass every. single. time.

    It’s going to be an amusing four years.

  45. gVOR08 says:

    Came back from the Women’s March on Cincinnati. On the way home I looked around and noticed Trump’s only been in office a day and a half, and the country is great. Oh wait, it was also great last month. Carnage? I ask people what horrible thing Obama did. I get word salad with nonsense dressing. But apparently this carnage is obvious if you never pull your head out of the Conservative Echo Chamber.

    Sorry Doug, I think the inaugural address headed south in the second line:

    We, the citizens of America, are now joined in a great national effort to rebuild our country and to restore its promise for all of our people.

    Trump seems to believe this carnage stuff.

    I see the Japanese are talking with China about a trade deal to replace TPP. Looks like the American Century is over. Republicans killed it.

  46. C. Clavin says:

    @Guarneri:

    This was the speech of a turnaround guy. Government is broken. The critics simply can’t come to terms with that. It crushes their worldview.

    I believe you are stupid enough to believe this.

  47. Just 'nutha ig'rant cracker says:

    @Terrye Cravens: Patriotism/self-serving cynicism, Potayto/potahto…

  48. Liberal Capitalist says:

    At the bedrock of our politics will be a total allegiance to the United States of America, and through our loyalty to our country, we will rediscover our loyalty to each other.

    I have no idea what the hell that means, much less how it would be implemented

    When one is constructing a fatherland based on a unitary national identity, it is very clear what that means.

    Ein Volk, ein Reich, ein Führer.

  49. Terrye Cravens says:

    @Just ‘nutha ig’rant cracker: Not really, one requires sacrifice…something Trump would know nothing about and the other requires a lack of character…something he knows a lot about.

  50. Paul Hooson says:

    I’m still unsure how Mr. Trump intends to “Make America Great Again” if he only panders to dirt ignorance and prejudice, while the superior education systems in China, Korea and Japan run circles around Americans, and these nations continue to engineer, develop and market so many high tech goods that Americans only know how to operate. Setting up trade barriers to imported Samsung cellphones is a poor substitute to providing Americans the education to engineer and develop and market high tech products of equal quality.

  51. Mikey says:

    @Liberal Capitalist:

    When one is constructing a fatherland based on a unitary national identity, it is very clear what that means.

    Ein Volk, ein Reich, ein Führer.

    Now that we know it was actually not Trump, but rather Bannon and Miller, who wrote the speech, this makes a great deal of sense.

  52. Dark Ages says:

    @Slugger: Google article by David Stockman use “stockman obama jobs” and read. Total work hours have not improved, wages are way off and job increases are a cooked figure. Its interesting stuff.

  53. HarvardLaw92 says:

    @Dark Ages:

    Seriously? David Stockman, Reagan’s director of OMB and one of the primary architects of “Reaganomics”? Mr. Supply Sider himself?

    You’ll have to excuse me for discounting the opinion of an abject moron.

  54. Guarneri says:

    36 hours. I’m afraid to look out the window. Is the world still there?

  55. Scott O says:

    @Guarneri: It’s still there It doesn’t look the same as it did a couple of months ago.

  56. Ebenezer_Arvigenius says:

    I read that Stephen Bannon wrote this speech and said it came from a deep well of patriotism or some such nonsense. It came from a deep well of self serving cynicism.

    That would explain why it sounded so eerily like Goebbels Lustgarten speech.

  57. SC_Birdflyte says:

    @S. Fields: I noticed that Sheldon Adelson was among the invited guests on the inaugural platform. Trump may drain the swamp, but he’s leaving the alligators in place.

  58. Daryl says:

    If Obama had delivered Donald Trump’s inaugural address it would have been hailed for its eloquence, nobility and resolve. But it was not merely a Republican at the lectern, it was a maverick Republican, so the consensus insists the entire known world is in mortal peril