Can We Trust Donald Trump to Do What’s Best for America?

 

From a reader of my blog:

You are an eternal optimist. Have you factored in these possibilities:

1. Paul Ryan and others will support the Wall and what it costs.
2.
Immigration control will limit much needed manpower.
3.
Trade wars with Mexico and other countries might severely reduce the output of
the USA.
4.
Tax reform will favor the ultra-wealthy, thus not do much to stimulate the
economy, causing a dramatic increase in the debt.
5.
Defense spending will be massive, thus up with the debt.
6.
Charter schools will lack sufficient oversight, thus poor results will follow.

You seem to convey that Trump will execute a strategy much as you think it should be done. I doubt it.

The above outcomes are unlikely for the following reasons:

  • Trump obviously likes being President, will continue to do so, and will hope to be re-elected in 2020. His re-election prospects will depend almost entirely on his boosting economic growth in order to increase the wages of his key blue-collar supporters.capture97
  • The quickest way to speed up growth is through corporate and business tax reform and deregulation. Trump’s entire team of advisors and cabinet secretaries, as well as congressional majorities, agree on this strategy. These things are likely to get done, sooner rather than later.
  • A trade war with Mexico or any other major trading partner (China, Canada, etc.) will badly hurt the economy. Trump knows this as well as anyone and won’t let it happen. A 20% tariff on Mexican imports to pay for a wall will just transfer the cost to American consumers and will be very unpopular. Trump’s people can figure this out.
  • Having 11½ million illegal immigrants in the U.S. is a significant problem and Trump has a mandate to fix it. His plan is to 1) build a wall, 2) deport the 800,000 or so lawbreakers amongst these illegals, and then 3) figure out what to do with the rest. This sounds to me like a reasonable plan and has a good chance of being successfully implemented.Conclusion. I admit to being an optimist. It keeps me going! I’ll respond to the other specifics (debt, charter schools, etc.) in the near future.

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Trump Could Become a Transformational President

 

According to the historian John Steele Gordon, “Trump May Herald a New Political Order,” there have been just four transformational presidencies so far in U.S. history:

  • Andrew Jackson in 1828 moved the locus of political power sharply down the socioeconomic scale.

    capture97

  • Abraham Lincoln in 1860 preserved the Union, freed the slaves and turned the South into essentially a third world country for the next 100 years.
  • William McKinley in 1896 ushered in an era of almost unbroken Republican dominance which lasted until the 1930s.
  • Franklin Roosevelt in 1932 who overcame the Great Depression and greatly expanded the reach and power of the federal government.

Ronald Reagan in 1980, constrained by a solidly Democratic House, was less transformational than the four presidents above, even though he ushered in the era of Great Moderation which lasted until the Great Recession hit in 2007-2008.
Barack Obama in 2008 took office with strong Democratic majorities.  However the last eight years have proved a disaster for the Democratic Party.  They lost the House in 2010, the Senate in 2014, and Republicans now control most governorships and state legislatures as well.
Now consider Donald Trump’s strong political position as he takes office:

  • The Republicans hold a big majority in the House and a small majority in the Senate. And ten Democratic Senators in states carried by Mr. Trump are up for re-election in 2018.
  • He was elected to change the self-serving ways of Washington and owes little to the political establishment.
  • His cabinet picks, many with excellent qualifications, signal profound changes in government policy, especially lower tax rates and a regulatory environment more friendly to business.

Conclusion. Mr. Trump has excellent prospects for achieving faster economic growth and therefore rising incomes for the blue-collar workers who provided his victory margin. If he can also improve life in the inner cities, as he has promised to do, he and the Republican Party will be unbeatable for many years to come.

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