I describe myself as a non-ideological fiscal conservative and social moderate. I try to discuss political issues in an objective, rational manner and avoid personalities as much as possible. But it is hard to avoid expressing opinions about the most important political actor of all, the President of the United States.
Mr. Trump is a highly polarizing figure. Most people either strongly approve of how he is handling the office or else loathe him. I am in the middle. I recognize that he is crude, mentally clumsy and divisive but I also think that he is handling several difficult issues quite adroitly. For example:
- The economy. Economic growth is much improved since Mr. Trump became President, hitting 3% in 2018 and likely to continue strong for at least another year or two. Faster growth means lower unemployment which, in turn, means more jobs and better paying jobs. This is a big boost especially for hourly workers. The economy was already picking up steam (because of deregulation) before the December 2017 tax cuts which were a big mistake because they badly increase the national debt.
- Trade imbalance with China. Trump is tightening the screws on China’s unfair trade practices which is likely to lead soon to major improvements in how China interacts economically with the free world.
Our Current Wall on the Mexican Border
- Immigration policy and the Wall. With roughly 12 million foreigners illegally residing in the U.S., current immigration policy is a big mess. Whether or not more wall is needed (see map), border security needs to be greatly enhanced. Mr. Trump rightly insists on getting this done.
- Foreign policy. Trump is not an isolationist. How to handle the Middle East is our biggest foreign policy challenge. Withdrawing 2000 troops from the Kurdish area of Syria represents a possible shift away from Saudi Arabia and towards Turkey. Pulling Turkey away from the Russia-Iran axis could be a smart move.
- Global warming. The evidence for man-made global warming is overwhelming. Carbon emissions are declining in the U.S. (because coal is being replaced by less expensive and cleaner natural gas) but still continuing to increase worldwide, in spite of the 2015 Paris Accords, because of massive increases in the use of coal by developing countries such as China and India. Trump is not doing anything to address this problem, but neither is he making it worse (as he is often accused of doing).
The above are a few of the areas where the Trump Administration is moving in the right direction, or at least avoiding the wrong direction, on difficult issues. Credit should be given where credit is due.