I am a fiscal conservative (I want to balance the budget) and a social moderate. I voted for Hillary Clinton for president because Donald Trump is a sleazy person and has such a volatile temperament. But I’m also in favor of making big changes and Mr. Trump will certainly do this.
As the Economist points out, “his voters took Mr. Trump seriously but not literally, even as his critics took him literally but not seriously.” The Economist goes on to point out some of the risks involved in making the kinds of changes Mr. Trump is talking about:
- If Obamacare is repealed, 20 million Americans will lose their health insurance. Yes, but it’s not going to happen this way. Obamacare will end up being modified and improved, not abolished.
- His tax cuts would chiefly benefit the rich and would greatly increase our national debt. Yes, but the House of Representatives has a much better plan to do this and it is Congress, not Mr. Trump, which will develop a detailed plan.
- Even if he does not actually deport illegal immigrants, he will foment the divisive politics of race. The illegal immigration problem needs to be solved and Mr. Trump is likely to get this done, with or without a wall.
- Mr. Trump has demanded trade concessions from China and NAFTA. If he causes a trade war, the fragile world economy could tip into a recession. Blue collar workers, his strongest base of support, have had stagnant incomes for years and deserve some help. If he can increase our exports, blue collar workers will benefit.
- He wants to reverse the Paris agreement on climate change which would harm the planet and undermine America as a negotiating partner. Global warming is real but the Paris accord does essentially nothing to slow it down. Increased coal use in China and India will more than negate what the U.S. and Western Europe are doing to cut back on fossil fuels.
- Mr. Trump has demanded that other countries pay more towards their security or he will walk away. NATO members should be doing more on their own and if he can prod them to do this, then NATO will be stronger as a result.
Conclusion. Mr. Trump’s expressed views should be interpreted as initial bargaining positions. They are likely to have the effect of leading to progress on many serious problems which need to be addressed. The risks involved in the negotiation process are worth taking