Trump the Terrible

To say that Trump’s future presidency promises to be a mixed bag, while true, seems increasingly too kind. On the positive side there seems to be a very good chance of a truly monumental tax reform. House Ways and Means Committee Chairman Kevin Brady recently released the outline of a major tax reform plan as part of Speaker Paul Ryan’s “A Better Way” agenda that would, if enacted, introduce a dramatic, growth enhancing reform of U.S. personal and business income taxation. While there are a few differences with the President Elect’s tax reform proposals, it should not be that difficult to resolve them. Prospects for adoption are the best they have been for decades.

On the growing negative side Trump is adding to the nasty character traits he seemed unable to control during his campaign—a level of blatant corruption that would even embarrass the Clintons. After having his daughter, who is also his business partner, at his side during his private meeting with the Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, a few days later he put Ivanka on the phone with Argentina’s President (Trump is seeking approval to build a real-estate project in Buenos Aires).

For me these examples of Trumps many conflicts of interests pale in comparison to the deal he claims credit for to keep 1000 Carrier jobs in Indiana where Mike Pence is still the governor. The Chicago Tribune reported today that “Carrier would receive a $7 million package of incentives to keep its factory here from moving to Mexico, the company said Thursday, under a deal negotiated with the state after an unusual intervention by President-elect Donald Trump that could reshape the relationship between the White House and private enterprise.” http://www.chicagotribune.com/business/ct-trump-carrier-jobs-subsidies-20161201-story.html

This goes beyond the corruption of personal enrichment and vote buying from the public purse to measures that undermine the very basis of our national wealth. And Trump proudly stated to the press that he would give any other company that wanted to move production abroad a VERY hard time. He is gloating over his “skillful” use of his great power as president.

The standard of living of the average middle class family in the U.S. could not even have been imagined half a century ago. Among the many things that make our wealth possible is the ability of companies and each of us to allocate our resources where we think they will be most productively used. Trump is now inserting the power of the Presidency—of the government—to over ride those economic decisions in order to save some jobs at some (favored) companies at the expense of other jobs and overall economic efficiency. This is blatant corruption of a high order and if allowed to persist will erode our economic productivity and standard of living over time. Read any of my blogs on trade and free enterprise (or what most of us call the liberal economic order).

Not only is Trump’s corruption shocking, but also his failure to behave presidentially is beyond embarrassing. It is dangerous. Someone should take Trump’s phone away until he figures out that his campaign style of ad libbing is simply wrong for the POTUS. When he said he would jail and take away the citizenship of flag burners, was he ignorant of the law (confirmed by a Supreme Court ruling) or contemptuous of it??? In his recent phone conversation with Pakistani Prime Minister Muhammad Nawaz Sharif, was he looking ahead to what he might say to the Indian PM when he committed himself (and implicitly the United States) to the following: “I am ready and willing to play any role that you want me to play to address and find solutions to the outstanding problems.” You can read the entire terrific, wonderful, exceptional conversation here: http://www.pid.gov.pk/?p=30445 What in the hell is he thinking? Unfortunately the list of problems is growing. And he’s not even the President yet.

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About wcoats

Dr. Warren L. Coats specializes in advising central banks on monetary policy, and in the development of their capacity to formulate and implement monetary policy. He is retired from the International Monetary Fund, where, as Assistant Director of the Monetary and Financial Systems Department, he led missions to over twenty countries. Before then, he served as Visiting Economist to the Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System, and to the World Bank, and was Assistant Prof of Economics at the Univ. of Virginia from 1970-75. Most recently he was Senior Monetary Policy Advisor to the Central Bank of Iraq; an IMF consultant to the central banks of Afghanistan, Kenya and Zimbabwe; and a Deloitte/USAID advisor to the Government of South Sudan. He is currently a member of the Editorial Board of the Cayman Financial Review and until the end of 2013 was a member of the IMF program team for Afghanistan. His most recent book is entitled "One Currency for Bosnia: Creating the Central Bank of Bosnia and Herzegovina."
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4 Responses to Trump the Terrible

  1. Joe Cobb says:

    Yes, “Trump is now inserting the power of the Presidency—of the government—to over ride those economic decisions in order to save some jobs at some (favored) companies at the expense of other jobs and overall economic efficiency.”

    It is crony capitalism and totally a fraud, but it is “retail politics” just as you and I saw under Chicago Mayor Richard J. Daley. Still incumbent-governor Pence probably finagled the State subsidy to help Trump “look successful.” What else is surprising about a new political president-elect?

    I think Steve Bannon, however, correctly summed up Trump’s Twitter activity in a 2014 interview: he uses it to shock, upset the News establishment, and dominate the opening”news cycle” with a topic for conversation ABOUT HIM on the talk shows all day. (Bannon, of course, was not directly talking about Trump 2 years before ‘The Personality’ was running.)

    Flattering foreign leaders is as old as Tallyrand. I am glad if Trump knows that lesson.

  2. Robert P Gregorio says:

    Another reason he tweets is to divert attention from bigger issues like his conflicts of interest. And for his own businesses, when will he change production from other countries to the US? Oh, that’s right, he’s divesting of them so this will be a non-issue. (sarcasm) Or he’ll have his children run them (no conflict there). I’m worried that he is fostering a culture of dishonesty among other things, given his long list of flip-flopping. And yet his supporters rationalize it all. Where will they draw the line? I suspect only when he visibly endangers our national security or his economic promises are unkept and their pocketbooks are visibly impacted. Nothing else matters. I haven’t looked yet, but in the states that mattered, if the Johnson/Stein supporters (not to mention any names, though I was initially one of them until Johnson revealed lack of knowledge or preparation) voted for Clinton, clearly a better choice than others, would we have been spared this disgrace? Like a close one said to me, the American people will get just what they deserve. The other historical quote fresh in mind is Benjamin Franklin’s, in response to, “Well, Doctor, what have we got, a republic or a monarchy?” “A republic, if you can keep it.”

    • Joe Cobb says:

      Sorry to learn you voted for a criminal conspirator (Hillary, and the Clinton Foundation – clearly a RICO crime “family”). We all know Hillary would have been just as much a war monger as Trump will probably prove to be, but her corruption and embezzlement would be hidden inside her “foundation.” So Gary Johnson wondered “what is a leppo?” and who recently has asked Trump any such questions? His ignorance is more profound, and Hillary’s was “learned” from her predecessors.

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