Trump back on planet earth

Reading the leaves from the NY Time’s interview.

(+) He met with the NY Times! By world standards the NY Times is tame and lame, in the US they are considered leftist radicals, which says a lot about the poor level of political discourse. By meeting with them Trump has proven he is not completely insane, orange face and yellow hair notwithstanding.

By not falling into the trap of an off record interview the NY Times showed their experience and the importance of some way of holding Trump accountable.

(-) Trump’s relationship with the media is toxic. He thinks they are there to cultivate his image, has no inkling about the importance of the balance of powers. Trump’s attitude debases US democracy. None of this means US media are sacrosanct or even any good at their job, or that they can survive advertising armageddon.

(-) He’s making it up as he goes along. Trump the candidate was effective at winning the election; that doesn’t make him the best person for the job. None of the other candidates were either, but the fact remains the political game is only good at producing political jockeys, not Statesmen. You wouldn’t expect the most popular loudest, most annoying guy at the party to be a good CEO. And in case there’s some confusion: running a country has absolutely nothing to do with running a company, no matter how big.

Making it up as he goes along represents in itself a negative for the US and world economy, as companies cut investments until they know what will happen. The grown up solution is to decide as soon as possible, explaining the rationale behind these decisions, beyond what seems obvious to him.

(+) He says he’s keeping an open mind. This is actually a positive, given the low points of his campaign and the loud fascists who endorsed him. The question of course is how quickly and completely he’ll get captured by the lobbies. The way not to fall for that trap is by keeping score: who runs the country, and for whom?

Given his toxic relationship with the media, the other question is whether he actually means it, or if he was just playing a charade.

(uncertain) Deregulation, tax cuts. Deregulation seems like a tool to get a result, which is to get US companies to produce in the US. The goal is laudable, and speaks of a practicality traditional politicians lost sight of; the means less so, because it can imply even lower standards: toxic, dangerous product? No problem, this is ‘murica!

The smart way to replace regulation is by introducing smaller, smarter regulations, that make product quality and its effects on the environment transparent, so it’s consumers themselves who police the product. Toxic product? No problem, just don’t expect anyone to buy it, and getting rid of waste will have a cost. Cheated? Expect to pay a heavy price immediately. Replacing regulation is not the same as eliminating regulation willy nilly, and would have the additional advantage of replacing the expensive, unfair system of “justice by lawsuit”: Less lawyers, better world.

(-) Import duties, such as those he could impose on companies like Apple, look like an easy, popular choice; except companies can’t change their supply chain that quickly or at the same prices. This would involve steep price increases for US consumers. Hello, $1,500 entry level PC, $3,000 iPhone. Thanks to a supply chain expert like Tim Cook, Apple might actually be uniquely positioned to survive, but others might not: Goodbye Dell, so long HP? If you are a car manufacturer, why would you go back to producing in a stagnating market when the opportunities for growth are in other countries? Businessman Trump seems to have no experience in actually manufacturing products and may put US companies in danger.

(+) Infrastructure is something most people would agree needs to be improved; most people except those hitched to radical positions for electioneering purposes, like the republican party. The main problem is infrastructure requires people willing to work long hours in harsh conditions, people like the very migrants Trump wants to keep away. Why would your average unitedstater spend eight under paid hours under the sun or in a snow blizzard, when he can more easily peddle drugs? This will probably be the biggest shock for Trump: the ones screaming the loudest don’t want to do an honest day’s work  anymore.

(-) Immigration. Migrants are an easy target for election purposes, but they happen to be the ones who grow the food and build the houses in the US. A pragmatic approach would be to acknowledge the needs of US businesses as well as the security implications of illegal migration. It’s not only migrants who are illegal, it’s also US businesses that are performing illegal activities, so any solution needs to cut both ways. If implemented, the crazy wall plan would mean food scarcity in the US.

The smart move would be to establish formal seasonal permits so workers have clear paths to secure, safe jobs in the US (again, jobs no one else in the US wants) with access to banking, health care, decent working conditions and clear incentives to return to Mexico: these are people saving money to send back home, so staying in a more expensive country when they are not working doesn’t make sense. In other words, make it way more advantageous to be in the new system, as opposed to being illegal. None of this requires spending money on walls, surveillance or more border patrols.

Grateful migrants would be a better bulwark against actual terrorists seeking to enter and damage the US.

(-) Old fashioned view of the economy. The biggest advantage for the US has been its middle class, which has been able to buy consumer goods; they were able to do so thanks to corporate jobs which don’t exist anymore, and good old successful socialist practices like farm and mortgage subsidies. The biggest opportunities in the new economy are unleashing the information, knowledge and contributions from consumers, to produce the right products in the right amounts at the right time time; not in manufacturing.

The other big change is that the global middle class is now a big part of sales opportunities, so cutting off the US from this market because of retaliatory import duties from other countries would hurt US businesses.

(-) He doesn’t seem to get the importance of cutting off all business ties. This is dangerous for any democracy, and is a basic test of how much you really love your country and understand the importance of the job.

 

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