From a reader of my blog:
“I continue to enjoy your blog. A word of warning. Trump is not a normal person and he is extremely self-centered (narcissistic). He has never thought of anyone other than himself (& his family). I believe that will not change. He lies all the time so can only be judged by his actions, not his words. He admires Putin. I think he would like to be an autocrat who rules without any dissent. I do not think he cares about the constitution. Not for a minute.”
I understand that many people feel this way about Donald Trump and I can’t argue with such an analysis. But he is also a change agent and, now that he has been elected President, I am hopeful that he will make good choices for our country. For example:
- The Economy. His appointments of Mnunchin for Treasury, Price for HHS, Pruit for EPA, for example, are excellent. People like these will work closely with the Republican Congress on the tax reform, regulatory reform, financial reform, etc. measures which are needed to get our economy growing faster. Boosting growth to 3% per annum as opposed to our current anemic 2% rate, which is entirely possible, will do wonders to create more jobs and better paying jobs, and therefore restore a stronger spirit of optimism to our national mood.
- Education. DeVos for Education is also an excellent choice. Our K-12 public education system is not working for low-income, minority kids in big cities. We also need far more emphasis on career and vocational education for those unlikely to go to college. In other words, we need big changes in education policy and DeVos is a reformer.
- National Security. Both terrorism and Russia’s Vladimir Putin represent huge threats to the western world. General Jim “Mad Dog” Mattis is highly qualified to lead our defense in such a dangerous environment. The big question remaining at this point is whether Trump will be able to stand up to and outfox Russia’s Putin.
Conclusion. Mr. Trump is making some very good appointments for the people who will lead major governmental agencies. In this respect his presidency is off to a good start.
It’s likely that narcissism becomes a major problem primarily when combined with fundamentalism. President elect Trump has substantially prominent personality traits of the former and possibly the latter. Time will tell.
His reaction to the UN vote by President Obama for Israel suggests a connection with our broader national interests. Remember, outside of the USA, only 9% of the world-wide population live in a nation with our Constitution’s First Amendment rights that are enforced. How their nation’s leaders relate to the other nations and their citizens does not coincide with how we would view the world-wide, nation by nation, support of HUMAN DIGNITY.
In the U.S. we place great importance on the value of human life and human dignity. I realize that this is a fragile ideal in most other parts of the world.
Donald Trump has many personal deficiencies and I do not plan to overlook them or avoid criticism of him. At this point I’m trying to be positive about his potential as president. All I’m saying is that many of his appointments are highly qualified individuals who will bring a useful perspective to their new government roles.
Fundamentally we need change and now we’re going to get it. So far I’m optimistic that it will work out well.
I respect your optimism. And, I hope that I am wrong. I shall not address the cabinet appointees, except in general. First, it is not a balanced membership between business and government experience. We learn best in conflicting dialogue, so I think. As you well know, business aims for profit; government aims to protect all of its citizens from within and without, and address the ‘general welfare’. The individual, wealthy business person protects himself with his fine “castle on the hill,” and gates it when he feels greater fear and wants isolation, not so differently than the kings and nobles of former times. So, this group has few fears from within the U.S, and it seems we shall provide more armaments to protect companies from within the U.S and abroad. Yes, you have pointed out that the working class whites have suffered significantly over the Democratic rule. I have never been comfortable with the ‘liberals’ and their economic policies, besides they lost any working class ideals long ago. Here I am including the membership of unions, whether it be A.F.L O. or governmental workers and teachers.
Still, I think in matters of education, training and integration all of its citizens can expect little from this group. In addition, I am not sure what business interests can do to train adults for jobs. I understand that most college graduates are working below their developed education and skills. Greater education may not be as important as finding a way to integrate and bond communities. Here I would suggest a domestic Peace Corps, not too differently than what Eleanor and Franklin Roosevelt created during and after the depression. And yes, WWII brought us out of the depression with much government support of business to build war materials. This time it can be infrastructure!! Jobs are necessary. But, people knowing and relating to one another can offer more happine
ss and security, particularly for those who have little chance of becoming gainfully and meaningly employed.
Again, I hope your optimism is rewarded. I will be able to smile, when and if you can say, “I told you so!”
An unhappy pessimist,
Maybe I’m an optimist because I believe in private enterprise as the strongest force in creating wealth and prosperity. So especially when the economy has been growing so slowly for quite a few years, I’m optimistic that the business perspective is what is needed to speed things up. We’ll know in a few short years if I am right!
‘Wealth’ and ‘prosperity’ are too abstract for me. I don’t see that ‘castle on a hill’, as wealth. Rather I see a rather dark, isolated place that doesn’t invite others. When I see a corporation, I see people rushing about or standing observing machines move rapidly. ‘Prosperity’ isn’t anymore precise. When I encounter kids not being able to read very well or do basic math problems, I see a loss of reasoning ability to separate out things or make value judgments of right and wrong. Self-control seems to be lacking in most areas around me.
But yes, we will have time to observe. My conservative instincts tell me to be cautious with what savings I have. When I hear about stock prices rising, I think of people wanting to get somebody else to do the dirty work. It is that part of capitalism that morally troubles me.
The way I look at it, wealth and prosperity lead to investment (think Warren Buffett) which leads to more jobs and higher productivity which leads to better paying jobs. “Trickle down” economics is the disparaging term for this but it works, it’s the best economic system there is!