TRUMP: Why POTUS might be good for America (and the market)!
1st November 2019
There are many things that are unsavory, objectionable and wrong about Donald Trump. Or so we are told. But with the US stock market hitting all time highs, US unemployment falling to 3.7% which is the lowest rate since 1969 and significant wins against the world’s most dangerous terrorist organisation...I’m having some difficulty remembering what they were/are or supposed to be.
Ah yes! It’s all coming back to me now. He is racist, misogynistic, dangerous, corrupt and...a bully! An egomaniac who engages in populist politics for personal gain. (Please consult the New York Times or the Washington Post if I have left anything out).
But let’s have a look at each of these allegations and see do they really hold up. J’accuse! But where is the evidence M’Lud?
First, the most ridiculous accusation. All politicians are egomaniacs, not just Trump. That is probably why they get into politics in the first place.
The three main driving forces for mankind are; power, wealth and sex according to a distinguished academic I heard speak on Irish radio recently. (He was not talking about Trump. His point was that the Christian emphasis on obedience, poverty and chastity was intended to check these desires, not repress or eliminate them entirely).
Politicians are driven by the lust for power. Even the great and worthy Mahatma Gandhi must have enjoyed the status and recognition bestowed on him by his people, in his weaker moments.
Americans seem to have this idea that their president should be someone who was born into humble and modest circumstances (the modern day equivalent of the ‘log cabin’) and through great endeavour, intelligence and goodwill attained the highest office in the land. He (for it was traditionally a ‘he’) had no great ambition or interest in the status of high office, you must understand. Oh no! Perish the thought that he was in any way ambitious.
He was of course, according to this myth, very successful in his line of work and quite happily married to his high school sweetheart with two point four children.
But then suddenly, one day, out of the blue......(sound of trumpets).....He had to forsake his comfortable life because: HE HEARD HIS COUNTRY CALLING!
He then went into politics (at great personal cost) to...well....Make America Great Again!
Trump got that final bit right, but being the son of a very wealthy property developer, he is not really ‘log cabin’ material. Also, he has an unseemly high opinion of his own talents. The American presidential fairy tale narrative is that this man of extraordinary talent is begged, yes begged, by all that know him to run for the highest office in the land because America’s problems are so great....He Alone Can Fix It!
I don’t think there was anyone begging Trump to go forward. In fact, I’m fairly certain there were plenty who begged him not to go forward...
Unfortunately, President Trump before he became POTUS (President Of The United States) was perhaps a little impatient at times. Yes, I will grant his detractors that much. He got so fed up of waiting around for other people to say: ‘He alone can fix it!’ that he finally could take no more and he said it himself!
President Trump before he became POTUS, trampled on that part of America’s DNA. But like every fairly tale, it gets debunked eventually.
Allegations of racism (or a more subtle variant, the use of racist rhetoric) arise mostly from Trump’s reaction to a March and counter-demonstration in Charlottesville, Virginia. It was a ‘Unite The Right’ demonstration that had a small and rather motley collection of various groups some of whom allegedly were ‘white supremacists’ but others were merely free speech advocates protesting against political correctness, the removal of the General Robert E Lee statute and the repression of the Confederate flag.
Trump tried to calm the situation by saying that ‘there were many fine people on both sides’. This equivocation resulted in Trump being denounced as a racist by many commentators. However he subsequently distanced himself from the marchers and at a later event in Jamestown, Virginia denounced the evils of slavery and racism. It was one of the few times he did not veer off script.
Allegations are being bandied about quite freely these days. An allegation of racism is a no lose strategy in the bear pit that is politics. If the allegation proves to be unfounded, there are no consequences for the accuser.
Another allegation that is bandied about quite freely these days. Just like allegations of racism, there is no downside for the accuser in the bear pit of politics, in accusing a political rival of being disrespectful to women.
Being coarse and vulgar in describing your imagined interactions with women, or anyone else, is not yet a crime. Consider the actions of the Democratic Party activists who acquired the recording of Trump’s indiscretions. Were they seeking political advantage by releasing the recording to the media a short time before polling day, or were they really concerned about the advancement of women?
Populism, corruption et al
Populism is a very common term used in political discourse in recent times; however, it is poorly defined. It appears to mean that a politician dishonestly presents a very simple solution for a complex problem.
‘Stop immigration and we will have less crime!’ Leave the EU and we will have more money for the health service! Tax the rich (more) and we will eliminate poverty! Seize private property and we will solve the housing shortage!'
The above populist slogans have all been used by politicians in the UK and Ireland recently.
Meanwhile Trump is bashing China, saying it is trading unfairly with the US. This has been denounced as economic nationalism but there is nothing untoward in attempting to negotiate more favourable trade deals.
And what of the current effort to instigate impeachment proceedings against Trump? The allegation, as I understand it, is that Trump abused his powers by conspiring with the head of the Ukraine government in an effort to undermine a political rival. But if Trump had some inkling, or indeed evidence, that a political rival was engaged in some type of improper behaviour, he surely has the right to pursue the matter with some vigour? It seems a bit if a stretch to say that
America’s security or interests were damaged by whatever enquiries he made.
Yes another no lose strategy from his opponents.
Separating children from their parents
The lowest of the low, his detractors told us. These unfortunate and destitute people were separated by the evil Trump administration from their children. But however unfortunate and destitute these people were, they knowingly decided to commit a criminal act by entering the US illegally.
In most countries, we jail people for criminal activity. That involves separating them from their children. I have not yet heard even the most liberal voices say; ‘let them out of prison – it’s inhumane to separate them from their children’.
Corporate Tax Reduction
Trump’s reduction in the corporate tax rate from 35% to 21% clearly establishes his credentials as a right wing, free market, and small government advocate of the Republican Party.
The right wing view is that these corporations will put these savings to productive use and in an effort to increase earnings. This in turn will have a beneficial effect on employment, wages and productivity.
The right wing view is also that the consequent fall in revenue for the government due to the reduction of these taxes is a good thing. The rationale here is that government bodies are very inefficient users of capital. They are often overstaffed, underproductive and have high levels of wastage as they are not subject to the discipline of a competitive market.
The right wing view in the US is that the Democrats are a ‘tax and spend’ party. They do not understand, or care, how new businesses are created and existing businesses expand. Instead they ‘loot’ these businesses and the individuals driving them by forcing them to pay high taxes, collect sales taxes on behalf of the government, and when all of that is done, pay for the pensions and healthcare of all of their employees (as the employees are presumably incapable of doing this for themselves).
Many right wing republicans view the Democrats in the same light as a vandal that smashes the window of a property and helps himself to some of the merchandise inside.
Trump’s cut in corporate tax immediately adds to the earnings per share of all profitable corporations. The impact of this may not yet be fully factored in to share prices due to the preoccupation of analysts with EBITDA (Earnings Before Interest Tax Depreciation and Amortisation of goodwill on acquisition).
In the days of politics pre-Trump, politicians always gave very careful and guarded responses to questions they were asked. Don’t say anything that could create a controversy or a media firestorm, their advisors would tell them. The result was that they said nothing, in a thousand different ways, or they merely stated the obvious. Avoiding difficult questions became an art form.
The absence of saying anything meaningful resulted in media commentators who were apparently experts in reading the president’s mind. These ‘experts’ were inevitably highly educated with a liberal arts degree from some fancy college, and if a microphone was put in front of them, they could keep it going for hours.
Trump has changed all that. He communicates directly with the people on twitter. And, wonder of wonders, when asked a question, he speaks his mind. Many creative people in Hollywood have wondered down through the years, what the political system would look like if only they had politicians who spoke their mind; Mr Smith Goes To Washington (1939), The Candidate (1972), The Parallax View (1974).
Wonder no more, he has arrived!
What a pity he is not quite what you were expecting...
He also is not what that journalistic ‘mind reading’ cohort were expecting either. Now they have no role, because this president speaks directly to his flock by tweeting constantly.
No wonder they hate him so much.