Krugman taunts investors who got suckered by Trump only to get a stock market meltdown Christmas present
Donald and Melania Trump in front of the White House's Christmas trees. Image via White House.

Donald Trump's Christmas Eve stock market slide reveals that economists and political spectators were wrong to assume he would not bring harm to the economy, one New York Times columnist argued.

The Times' Paul Krugman reminded readers of Christmas 2016, when "after the shock of Donald Trump’s election, financial markets briefly freaked out, then quickly recovered."

The markets appeared to confirm what many believed: that while Trump was "manifestly unqualified for the job," eventually wiser heads would prevail and prevent him from wrecking the country.

"In other words, investors convinced themselves that they had a deal: Trump might sound off, but he wouldn’t really get to make policy," Krugman wrote. "And, hey, taxes on corporations and the wealthy would go down."

The columnist noted that "just in time for Christmas," people have realized that that "deal" does not exist.

Although "voters have been aware for some time that government by a bad man is bad government" essentially since Trump was elected (as evidenced, the columnist noted, by the major wins by Democrats in the midterms), " market behavior has, until recently, been a different story."

Around 4,000 Dow points and three weeks ago, investors caught on, Krugman wrote.

"First came the realization that Trump’s much-hyped deal with China existed only in his imagination," the columnist detailed. "Then came his televised meltdown in a meeting with Nancy Pelosi and Chuck Schumer, his abrupt pullout from Syria, his firing of Jim Mattis and his shutdown of the government because Congress won’t cater to his edifice complex and build a pointless wall. And now there’s buzz that he wants to fire Jerome Powell, the chairman of the Federal Reserve."

Investors were far from unaware of Trump's past and present misdeeds, Krugman argued. But it's what he may do in the future -- or rather, what he may not do -- that lost them their "what-me-worry attitude."

"When bad things happen, we do need the White House to step up," the columnist mused. "In 2008 and 2009, it mattered a lot that officials of both the outgoing Bush administration and the incoming Obama administration responded competently and intelligently to the financial crisis."

"Unfortunately," he concluded, "there’s no reason to expect a comparable degree of competence if something goes wrong again."

Read the entire column via the Times.