Trump’s year

And looking to the next.

Something is happening in the final days of 2017. People are noticing that Donald Trump has gotten a lot done in his tumultuous first year in the White House.

Assume that tax reform passes and is signed into law. If in, say, 2014, a Republican, of either the conservative or moderate variety, predicted that in 2017 a newly-elected GOP president and Congress would —

Cut corporate and individual taxes.
Repeal the Obamacare individual mandate.
Appoint a highly-respected conservative to the Supreme Court.
Appoint a one-year record number of judges to the circuit courts.
Get rid of reams of unnecessary regulations.
Destroy ISIS.
Approve pipeline projects and new oil drilling.

— then a lot of Republicans would probably have cheered. Loudly.

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24 Responses to Trump’s year

  1. Texas Jack

    Words I’d like the President to utter – “actually, we’re quite happy for Mr Mueller to take whatever time he needs to complete the probe into our campaign’s activities with respect Russia. It’ll be a pleasure to see it end and for our team to be exonerated. It’ll also be a pleasure to look into the stony faces of those who thought I couldn’t even spell Moscow, but who repeatedly contended I could be bothered to conspire in some way against the interests of the USA with Putin. The same people who loved it when the Steele dossier became big news and who loved the idea that I was somehow the person characterised in that utter piece of fraud paid for by the Democrats. Really, I can’t wait for Mueller’s report…”

  2. Leo G

    Words I’d like the President to utter – “actually, we’re quite happy for Mr Mueller to take whatever time he needs to complete the probe into our campaign’s activities with respect Russia.

    Wouldn’t that be giving the game away?

  3. Motelier

    And the temper tantrums from the left have never stopped.

    Someone please pass the popcorn.

    2018 will even be better.

  4. Dave of Reedy Creek, Qld

    Australian media are more than 90% negative on Pres. Trump. Pity someone wouldn’t call out all the fake news in the media in Oz! Being reasonably well read on issues like climate change, migration, leftist strategies etc, etc, the amount of half or less truths fed daily to the Australian population is appalling. Sadly, we are a very naive people who mostly believe what is published and on TV. Congratulations to the POTUS for sheer guts, tenacity and truthfulness. At least he has made major attempts to keep his promises, a very rare politician indeed. Wish we had someone of his calibre who stands for values and the best for our nation, not like the leftist hacks who run the two major parties in Australia.

  5. The Pugilist

    His Achilles heel is his trade policy. I seem to get insulted around here for pointing this out. But he really does not get trade and is damaging the rules based international order which diminishes US influence, harms his own businesses and plays into the hands of despots.

    You can’t do trade on your own.

    Bilateral trade deals, based on mercantilist bullshit is the antithesis of sound economics.

  6. Tom

    From Rafe’s link:

    … Trump’s second-year agenda is unclear.

    Actually, it’s not. After the high-speed train crash that killed six people south of Seattle this morning, PDT tweeted:

    Donald J. Trump‏Verified account @realDonaldTrump · 29m29 minutes ago
    The train accident that just occurred in DuPont, WA, shows more than ever why our soon to be submitted infrastructure plan must be approved quickly. Seven trillion dollars spent in the Middle East while our roads, bridges, tunnels, railways (and more) crumble! Not for long!

    The infrastructure bill will be the centrepiece of Trump’s 2018 agenda. If the Demorats oppose it like they did tax reform, they will deal themselves into oblivion at the mid-terms.

  7. nerblnob

    His Achilles heel is his trade policy.

    That part of his campaign rhetoric bothered me. But I see no adverse impact yet.

  8. Trade is a real weak spot for PDT, yet I’m beginning to think he is fine with bilateral trade agreements, it’s just the multilateral that he won’t countenance.

  9. John Comnenus

    The first out takes of his national security strategy appear to be the clearest, most level headed approach to international security taken by any President since at least Ronald Reagan. Trump truly is going to be a great President. Trump sticks it to China, Russia and jihadists in clear terms that reflects reality not a desired state of affairs. And they still say he supposedly colluded with Russia.

    He notes that economic security is national security, that security starts at the border and includes the nation’s immigration policy. He recognises that including malevolent players into international institutions doesn’t make them nice, rather, it gives them further opportunities to undermine America and its allies through propaganda. He states that the goal of Jihadists is to force people to live under Sharia law and this will not be tolerated by the USA. He says alliances and trade must be strengthened by fair and reciprocal agreements where both parties contribute to mutual security.

    I think this is world changing stuff. Finally a recognition of the world how it is, not how you want it to be.

    To answer the Pugilist, I might have agreed with you two years ago. I had to read Australia’s FTA with China for work to prepare a strategic report in the opportunities the FTA. My conclusion was that this was not a Free Trade Agreement but a highly managed arrangement where we gave China many opportunities to invest and trade with Australia in all parts of the industry sector I work in, but there is little reciprocity from China, in fact it locks Australian companies in my industry sector out of most of the Chinese market.

    I think Trump’s recognition that agreements should be reciprocal and fair is a sensible acceptance of the world as it is, not the forlorned hope that the world actually has free and open trade which it doesn’t have, and never will. I think the Pugilist will be proven wrong over time, I accept that perhaps I was too keen on abstract free trade ideology in the face of reality.

    Trump is a far better President than I thought he would be, and he is streets ahead of Obama and anything that Hillary might have been. He was the right choice.

  10. The Pugilist
    #2588056, posted on December 19, 2017 at 6:04 am

    His Achilles heel is his trade policy. I seem to get insulted around here for pointing this out. But he really does not get trade and is damaging the rules based international order which diminishes US influence, harms his own businesses and plays into the hands of despots.

    Yeah I know eh mate? I’ll never understand why these Cats here are opposed to the best shining example of something good getting done by committee. Not just any committee either, the Worlds biggest committee. I mean look, the WTO was achieved after what…..about 40 years? That right there is how things get done.
    If it were left up to muppets like Trump and the Trumpsters here at the Cat, something as complicated as “You sell what you’re able to in my market, and I’ll sell what I’m able to in your market” would never have been achieved. You need committees for that.

    It simply amazes me that Cats here think any trade in humanity gets done one on one, when we all know the best deals are made by committee. That’s why I never go Christmas shopping without the wife and two daughters.

  11. Faye

    President Trump is a knockout. He leaves everybody for dead, especially the other world leaders. Turnbull is so wrapped up in himself that he is oblivious to what has to be done to keep Australia strong, secure and competitive with the rest of the world now that Trump is rejigging international relations, trade, foreign policy, defence, intelligence alliances, etc, etc.

  12. JohnA

    Baa Humbug #2588189, posted on December 19, 2017 at 10:49 am

    I’ll never understand why these Cats here are opposed to the best shining example of something good getting done by committee.

    This is parody, right? Surely??

    The EU is the shining example of exactly what government by committee looks like.
    Yes, Minister/Prime Minister should have taught us that bureaucrats running the country is not what we need.

  13. Arky

    This is parody, right? Surely??

    ..
    Derrrrr.

  14. The Pugilist

    To answer the Pugilist, I might have agreed with you two years ago. I had to read Australia’s FTA with China for work to prepare a strategic report in the opportunities the FTA. My conclusion was that this was not a Free Trade Agreement but a highly managed arrangement where we gave China many opportunities to invest and trade with Australia in all parts of the industry sector I work in, but there is little reciprocity from China, in fact it locks Australian companies in my industry sector out of most of the Chinese market.

    This is why his focus on bilateral transactional trade agreements is a stupid disaster. There would be far greater gains (to the US and the rest of the world) from putting pressure on China to comply with their existing commitments in the WTO rather than pressuring Canada and Mexico into a new NAFTA deal.

    As for the WTO, yes it is shitty, but when you are dealing with sovereign nation States, it is the only way to do things. You need to have internationally agreed rules about standardising rules, how to settle disputes, etc. Standardisation of rules delivers huge gains for businesses and leads to much greater integration into supply chains. Why the leaders of a notional economics blog are not concerned with this confounds me.

  15. Dr Fred Lenin

    If the international committees are stuffed full of globalist communists u,n, lovers there is no way they will be fair to any western society . They prefer the Norks or Venezuelan fascists and of course their islamofascist bed fellows . Trump still has three years till the next election ,the dirty traitorous s fascist communists must be pooping themselves ,Gaia alone knows what their future career prospects are ,dismal I think . Watch the EU implode in the future ,as communist things always do,

  16. Zatara

    This is why his focus on bilateral transactional trade agreements is a stupid disaster.

    No. The basic existence of states depend upon them negotiating for the good of their citizens.

    The treaties in effect when Trump was elected screwed his people. He said no more.

    Globalism uber alles don’t hunt here.

  17. John Comnenus

    I think Trump’s focus on bilateralism with reciprocity is the way to go.

    Unfortunately in any negotiation the big will screw over the small eg China – Australia FTA. Furthermore as Trump rightly points out multilateralism gets more and more veto provisions put in from all the different parties making for a worse agreement that suits no-one. This is the problem with mulitlateralism and why it won’t work. How long have we been trying to get a free trade through the WTO – all my adult life at least. Time to give it away and do what is in our interest with people who want to deal with us directly. And yes we should aim for Trump style reciprosity.

  18. PB

    I suppose if helping ISIS evacuate areas intact, and supplying them with weaponry is “destroying” them, then I guess (to paraphrase another successful past President) “mission accomplished”.

  19. The Pugilist

    The treaties in effect when Trump was elected screwed his people. He said no more.

    This is not what his farmers and businesses are saying. Explain in detail how they have screwed his people? No-one has ever been able to explain how NAFTA is a bad deal. If they tear it up, the cost of vehicles in the US will go up almost overnight. US farmers will lose valuable markets for their feed grain. Tell me how the US gets screwed by NAFTA?

    I think Trump’s focus on bilateralism with reciprocity is the way to go.

    Bilateralism just entrenches the ‘spaghetti bowl’ of different rules and adds costs to doing business across borders. The big screw over the weak by forcing them to adopt their regulations. That is the EU approach writ large.

    You say this:

    Unfortunately in any negotiation the big will screw over the small eg China – Australia FTA.

    Which is fundamentally incosistent with this:

    Time to give it away and do what is in our interest with people who want to deal with us directly. And yes we should aim for Trump style reciprosity.

    How do you propose we become big and do the screwing, so to speak? Maybe we can do deals with little bum fuck nations. The problem is, they are not markets worth pursuing for businesses.

  20. John Comnenus

    We negotiate realistically for the most we can get. Ever was it thus that the big will screw over the small. Just because you are in a multilateral arrangement doesn’t mean the big lose their power. Just look at the way China flouts IP protections.

    At least if you negotiate one on one you can structure something mutually beneficial without being compromised by the cross purposes of third parties who can interfere in striking a deal of greatest benefit to the two principals. As for the spaghetti bowl, the WTO doesn’t achieve much in fixing that. We need to be simple, low regulation and efficient to take advantage of everyone else’s expensive and high regulation environments. Unfortunately the current Govt and ALP want high regulation and complexity. No wonder we cant get the economy moving.

  21. The Pugilist

    Just because you are in a multilateral arrangement doesn’t mean the big lose their power. Just look at the way China flouts IP protections.

    China doesn’t follow the WTO agreements it made when it joined. This is true. But you don’t address them by doing a deal with them. You threaten to kick them out of the club and isolate them. Australia should have never agreed to accept them having ‘market economy’ status. We did it to curry favour for a bilateral deal. We should revoke it – that loss of face would be unbearable for them. Other countries like the US never accepted China having that status.

    As for the spaghetti bowl, the WTO doesn’t achieve much in fixing that.

    There are actually many agreements within the WTO that generally underpin trade and set the rules of the game. For example the agreement on SPS and TBT. It’s a long way from perfect and doesn’t address everything, but it places some disciplines on countries. And the WTO dispute settlement system, while clunky and time-consuming for governments to pursue, does actually work. If Trump really wanted to turn the screws on China, India, the EU and others, he’d be all in and trying to strengthen the WTO, not fatally wound it.

    We need to be simple, low regulation and efficient to take advantage of everyone else’s expensive and high regulation environments.

    The trouble is, the more you engage in bilateralism, the more you have expensive regulatory systems imposed on you as conditions of access. If you do multiple deals , then you have multiple expensive systems imposed on you or, as an individual business, you lose access to other markets if you follow a particular path.

    Unfortunately the current Govt and ALP want high regulation and complexity. No wonder we cant get the economy moving.

    Bilateralism drives a lot of this.

  22. John Comnenus

    Multilateralism via international crap like Global Warming drives a lot of stuff.

    In the end if its meaningful regulation – such as TGA approval for new drugs based on a counterparts approval, you want a specific case buy case approach. For example, the TGA doesn’t automatically accept the approval regimes from a lot of advanced but relatively small Euro Countries, but does accept the US – UK – Canada -Germany etc.

    If its important you need to make sure it is relevant to Australia and passes our standards.

    But the central point is that countries like China dupe the system but are rewarded by maintaining membership. Trump is right when he says bringing this malevolent powers into the multilateral fold doesn’t change their behaviour, rather it provides another avenue for them to attack and undermine the USA and its allies.

    I would accept multilateralsim based on values – which ironically would come back to reciprocity and would exclude players like China.

  23. André M.

    You’re only listing the good things? That’s no fun.
    See how the other half live.
    https://www.quora.com/Is-Donald-Trump-popular-in-the-UK

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