Ultimately, it’s Trump’s policies and not his character that will be important

Many people in America, and certainly all the women who didn’t vote for him, find Donald Trump,  who may be remembered affectionately in history as President Pussygrabber, deeply offensive and repugnant.


Post-election, Donald Trump’s political agenda is becoming clearer. Various surrogates, including Australian Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull, have been suggesting a softening of the rhetoric of the election.  But details are emerging and the details of his legislative program are beginning to become clearer.

In an article entitled Here Is What Donald Trump Wants To Do In His First 100 Days the NPR Politics Newsletter writers, Amita Kelly and Barbara Sprunt, gave a detailed outline of what they see as Trump’s first hundred days.

It makes interesting reading.

A lot of people will benefit from what he proposes: a 35% tax cut for the middle class, cutting business tax rates from 35% to 15% (which will lead to 4% economic growth), tax incentives to build infrastructure, speeding up FDA approvals, tax deductible child care and eldercare.

On the downside, particularly from the perspective of America’s trading partners, he intends to withdrawal from NAFTA and the Trans-Pacific Partnership, starting a trade war with China over currency manipulation, punish overseas companies that “unfairly impact” American workers and introducing tariffs to protect workers whose companies use “off-shoring” and then ship products back to America.

There are also a number of disastrous policies in terms of climate change including lifting restrictions on the production of “job producing” energy reserves (including coal) and cancelling billions of dollars of payments to UN climate change programs.

During the election campaign, he promised to rescue the coal industry. His justification: “Hey, these are nice people.”

The real reason is obvious from these two maps.


Trump won areas affected by the dramatic downturn in coal production and consumption.


It will remain to be seen whether rescuing the US coal industry which is facing declining demand domestically and internationally will provide any answer to the employment problems of Trump’s new constituency

He also intends to deport 2 million illegal Mexican migrants.

Looking at this, you can understand why conventional commentators are confused about Trump.  This is a mixture of family welfare, tax cuts, particularly to business, rampant protectionism and government-funded stimulation.  There is no identifiable ideological basis for his agenda. He is simply trying to appeal to everybody.

What is clear is that his tax cuts, a 20% tax reduction for business and 35% for the middle class, will reduce government revenue.

The tariffs he proposes to impose will affect trade with overseas countries and many of them will have a punitive effect on American companies by reducing their access to cheap labour overseas. They will also impact American consumers who will pay more for a wide range of imported goods.

Rounding up and deporting 2 million illegal Mexican migrants will be expensive and time-consuming. It is highly likely that these migrants are working jobs that Americans won’t take. Removing them from the workforce will impact on many American companies who take advantage of this group of workers by paying them extremely low wages.


Has Trump considered the economic impact of denying American producers access to cheap labour?

It looks like a program for increasing the size of the already horrendously large American deficit and potentially sending the country into recession through a combination of extremely generous tax cuts and a potential reduction in business activity.

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