Trump: ‘Only Dummies’ Believe Fed’s Unemployment Figures

By John Crudele

Donald Trump, if elected president, will investigate the veracity of US economic statistics produced by Washington — including “the way they are reported.”

I caught up with Trump, the presumptive Republican nominee, by phone Tuesday morning, and we had a frank talk about the economy and what is making his campaign tick.

“When you look at some of these [economic] numbers they give out and then you go out and see people dying to get a job all over the country, I mean, it’s not jibing with what’s really going on,” Trump said.

The economy is not doing well,” Trump said. “You know, John, I’m getting 20,000 to 25,000 people every time I make a speech, and they are not there just because of the border,” he added, referring to his vow to build a wall between the US and Mexico.

“They are there because — and you know — if you put out a job notice, you’ll get thousands of people showing up to pick up a job,” Trump said.

As I’ve mentioned before, I first met Trump decades ago and we used to talk once in a while, but haven’t for many years.

Trump says he thinks the US unemployment rate is close to 20 percent and not the 5 percent reported by the Labor Department.

Anyone who believes the 5 percent is a “dummy,” he said.

Federal Reserve, of course, always quotes the 5 percent figure and may raise interest rates based on that belief in the coming months. But even the Fed must not be too certain since it produces its own version of the jobless number, something I’ve already written about.

Trump has said in the past that the Fed is also in his cross hairs for an audit. (I would recommend he look into how the Fed interferes with the markets.)

As I’ve been reporting for years, the official unemployment rate is conveniently reduced by a number of factors — each in place during both Democratic and Republican administrations.

One of these factors, for example, is out-of-work people who have stopped looking for work for more than a year because they may have grown frustrated by the lack of jobs.

They are not counted in the unemployment rate.

A less popular unemployment stat, called the U-6, which measures some of these idled souls plus others who are forced to work part-time because they can’t find a 40-hour-a-week gig, stands at 9.7 percent.

The truly frustrated aren’t counted at all.

At least one private economist I know also thinks — as Trump does — that counting the frustrated and idled workers would bring the true unemployment rate to about 20 percent.

As for his Veep pick, Trump repeated something that he’s said before: “I have probably five or six people that I like and a few that I really like” He is reported to have me with Tennessee Senator Bob Corker this week. Retired General Michael Flynn, a national security advisor for Trump, is also said to be short listed.

Trump asked me who I liked as his VP?

I told him that I thought John Kasich, the governor of Ohio who was also a candidate for President until recently, would be the best choice.

Why? Because Kasich would probably deliver Ohio to the Republicans during the November election; he seems well qualified on foreign and domestic policy; can handle the Washington politics that Trump doesn’t understand and because Kasich is “a mope” — my word — who won’t steal Trump’s thunder.

Trump wouldn’t say if Kasich is under consideration but his name has come up in the past. Trump did say that he and Kasich get along well.

We won’t know Trump’s pick for vice president until the middle of July, which is when the Republican convention will take place.

“I’m probably going to release (the VP’s name) sometime during the convention,” which runs from July 18 to 21 in Cleveland. “I’ll go the old fashioned way,” Trump said.

There’s one other thing I mentioned to Trump about picking someone like Kasich, who would have been vastly preferred over Trump by the Republican Party establishment.

By picking Kasich or someone like him, I suggested to Trump that he runs the risk of the Republicans trying to boot him out of office once he was elected.

Yes, that would be akin to a coup — an unprecedented and diabolical perversion of the democratic election process. But it’s not beyond the realm of possibilities since the vice president preferred by the party regulars would move up to the presidency and Paul Ryan, Speaker of the House, would automatically assume the vice presidency.

Trump’s response to my conspiracy warning? “We are a little bit cunning also.”

One more thing. Anyone who tries to steal the great conspiracy plot I just concocted for a movie, know this: I’ll sue. And then I’ll build a wall around you and I’ll make you pay for it.

It became official on Tuesday — nobody did anything wrong during the Great Recession.

That’s because one of the few convictions for wrongdoing during the wheeling and dealing that led up to that dark moment in U.S. history was erased this week by the Second Circuit Court of Appeals here in New York.

In a way, it seems fitting to me to complete the absurdity.

It became official on Tuesday — nobody did anything wrong during the Great Recession.

That’s because one of the few convictions for wrongdoing during the wheeling and dealing that led up to that dark moment in US history was erased this week by the Second Circuit Court of Appeals here in New York.

In a way, it seems fitting to me to complete the absurdity.

The Great Recession turned into a no hitter/touchdown/slam dunk for the bad guys who took the US financial system to the brink of insolvency and have been profiting from the remedial actions taken by Washington ever since.

Anyone who wonders why Donald Trump and Bernie Sanders have been so popular in this election cycle needn’t look any further than the unfairness of the justice system since 2007.

The influential federal appeals court overturned a lower court jury verdict that said Countrywide Financial, now owned by Bank of America, and one of its employees committed fraud when they sold toxic mortgages to Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac.

But Judge Richard Wesley, a Bush appointee, writing for a three-judge panel, ruled that when Countrywide substituted toxic subprime mortgages for investment grade mortgages — something Fannie and Freddie specifically forbade — it wasn’t doing so to defraud Uncle Sam.

It was simply a breach of contract, Wesley opined.

The government, at trial, showed the jury that one Countrywide executive, Rebecca Mairone, was told by subordinates that the shoddy mortgages weren’t supposed to be in the packages sold to Fannie and Freddie — but she shoveled the shoddy paper into the securities anyway.

Get this: Judge Wesley ruled that if Countrywide didn’t intend to defraud Fannie and Freddie when it first signed its deal to sell the companies mortgages, then Mairone and her cronies, legally speaking, could never defraud the government-sponsored entities.

Crazy, right?

But this is what passes as good law these days.

Wesley’s fellow Second Circuit jurist, Barrington Parker, a Clinton appointee, ruled in December 2014 that hedge fund traders and others on Wall Street couldn’t be convicted of insider trading unless they knew the original tipster received a personal benefit for passing along the tip.

So a trader gets info from an analyst who got it from a friend who got it from the inside tipster — a tip that American Widget, say, will report knockout profits two days hence. This trader knows it is inside, non-public info. Knowing when American Widget reports results is what this trader does for a living.

So the trader buys shares of American Widget — lots of shares — and makes millions in a matter of days when the result comes and they are good and the stock skyrockets. It’s not fair. It’s inside info. The trader knew it. The analyst knew it. Everyone knows it — except the Second Circuit.

And now, Mairone, who was fined $1 million, becoming one of the few executives on Wall Street to get dinged for shenanigans undertaken during the Great Recession, has done nothing wrong.

It’s not fraud, said Judge Wesley.

Tsk, tsk, tsk. Shame on you, Second Circuit!

The Justice Department can appeal, but why even bother at this point. Just let the animals on Wall Street run wild.