Donald Trump and American Progress


I am a non-ideological (registered independent) fiscal conservative and social moderate. I was not very excited about either presidential candidate last fall but finally decided to vote for Clinton because of Trump’s sleaziness.
As it turned out Mr.Trump was elected because of his strong support from the white working class, especially in the upper Midwestern states of Wisconsin, Michigan and Pennsylvania.  Interestingly, the Democrats are responding by proposing legislation to try to appeal more strongly to blue-collar workers.
Of course I disapprove of Donald Trump’s poor handling of the Charlottesville tragedy but I try to avoid being distracted by all of the drama and rather stay focused on his policies and actions.  In this respect there are both plusses and minuses.

On the positive side:

  • North Korea. He is handling this crisis well simply by working through the UN to condemn North Korea’s provocative testing of ballistic missiles. Also his Administration has clearly stated that the goal of U.S. policy is to denuclearize the Korean peninsula, not to achieve regime change in North Korea.
  • The economy is still chugging along at 2% annual growth. On the deregulation front, the annualized pace of new regulations for 2017 is 61,000 pages, down from 97,000 in 2016. This is the lowest level since the 1970s and has the potential to speed up growth.

On the negative side:

  • NAFTA renegotiation is just getting started. Any shrinkage of U.S. exports will badly hurt the economy, especially in states like Nebraska which depend so much on agricultural exports.
  • Immigration. Mr. Trump proposes to dramatically decrease annual legal immigration quotas, especially for low-skilled workers. This is a very poor idea  which will hurt the economy, especially in states like Nebraska which have low unemployment rates.

Conclusion. President Trump’s record at this point is mixed, all the more so since the two very important issues of the 2018 budget and tax reform have yet to be resolved in Congress. Mr. Trump’s election may or may not be good for progress in America.  We simply don’t know yet.

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5 thoughts on “Donald Trump and American Progress

  1. Jack,
    I don’t imagine I will gain any friends by making the following suggestion on North Korea. Still, I will suggest that the U.S. ought to begin with a policy similar to what we first tried with Stalin and our offering to Russia as to Germany and Europe at large, a share in the Marshall Plan. That effort to help restore Europe to its status before WWII by large grants of aid assured the loyalty and revival of Europe from the ravages of war. Of course some form of cooperation would have to take into account the conflicts with Japan, China and related Eastern countries.

    Perhaps the North Korean leadership will follow Stalin’s rejection; however, I think in the long run it could have the result that brought many European countries to develop satisfactory trading channels

    I would think a place to begin would be to aid in the reduction of use of resources that further effect climate change in order to reduce global warming. War and saber rattling is childlike in this era of nuclear weapons.. Perhaps the olive branch can do more than hyperbole.


    • The problem is that past Administrations have tried to reason and negotiate with North Korea, and NK has systematically broken all agreements and continued to develop nuclear weapons. We simply have to get tough with them this time. The only question is how to do this in the least dangerous way.

      • Jack,

        My problem with the phrase “get tough” is too vague, especially when it comes to matters of mass destruction and death. On such issues, any form of talking is ideal to the US government policies that fall into a pattern of relying upon the military. Such policies continue to fail since WWII.

    • It is important to remember that 90% of our world’s citizens, out side of the USA, do not live in a society that has Constitutionally enforced freedom of expression. The level of Social Capital necessary to solve the Social Dilemmas faced by the citizens of a totalitarian government does not exist….or for a government of a nation that is largely unchanged in the last 1,000 years. The level of illiteracy in Afghanistan is unimaginable.

      • Trump is so different from any previous president (perhaps Jackson would be most similar to him) that it is virtually impossible to predict what the outcome will be. To what extent he will succeed or fail in achieving any lasting changes is impossible to foretell.

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