Donald Trump

Trump's Economic Illiteracy on Display in Address to Congress

The president takes a reckless stance on free trade, entitlements, and debt reduction.

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Gage Skidmore

Many agree that Donald Trump came across as presidential during last night's speech to a joint session of Congress. He even came across as somewhat coherent. But if being presidential and coherent means raking up more debt, being a nationalist protectionist who believes in destructive "Made in America" and import-bashing policies, and railing against immigrants as if they were responsible for all of the crimes and welfare spending in the country, then it's hard to see any value whatsoever in being presidential and coherent.

I appreciate that the new president didn't spend a significant amount of time blaming his predecessor. Yes, Trump did mention our debt doubling as a share of GDP in the last eight years and he also said that this was the slowest recovery ever, but his complaints do not compare to those of Barack Obama, who was still blaming George W. Bush eight years into the job.

Trump also continued to be solid in his calls for regulatory overhaul. He wants to cut regulations and lift the horrible burden on our lives and companies imposed by an out-of-control regulatory state. That's great. He also made some noise about cutting taxes, and in particular about the dangerously high corporate income tax rates. I will also give him credit for not endorsing the misguided House Republican plan to adopt a border adjustment tax that would tax imports while exempting exports. That plan would give, yet again, a leg up for companies like Boeing and General Electric while hammering consumers. However, last night we also had to sit through the president's misleading rants about other countries' tax codes creating a disadvantage for our exporting companies while Trump never once acknowledged that if there is a disadvantage it actually comes from our own government taxing U.S. companies on a worldwide basis—which is something most of our competitors do not do.

I am going to let others address the anti-immigration stance of the president. However, I would be remiss if I didn't mention that it is heartbreaking to see how misguided today's Republicans are about the alleged harms caused by immigration. I realize that in today's America my own chances of getting into the country and working in this great nation as an H-1B holder would be very slim. However, my true heartache comes for those who entered this country illegally but have stayed to make better lives for themselves and their families. There are millions of upstanding citizens who are undocumented due to a lack of process to make low-skilled workers legal, thereby preventing them from being able to fully contribute to making America great and productive. To the nannies who watch our children, the cleaning ladies who keep our houses neat, the gardeners who mow our lawns, or the farmhands who pick our vegetables and fruits, I say, some of us know and appreciate your value. It is hard to accept that you now live in fear of being sent away from the country you have called home for many years.

As for the federal budget, on the campaign trail Trump promised that he would not touch the most expansive and insolvent entitlement programs, which just happen to be the biggest drivers of our future debt. Yet Trump also promised that he would address the unsustainable level of our debt. Ultimately, Trump will only be able to keep one of those two promises, and it won't be the one about reducing the debt.

That is unfortunate because the gross U.S. debt is almost $20 trillion. The public portion of that debt, the money that the government owes to foreign and domestic investors, has reached $14.4 trillion and is growing fast due to the explosion of entitlement programs—the same programs that Trump has irresponsibly promised not to touch.

Last year, spending on Medicare, Social Security, Medicaid, and net interest paid on the debt increased significantly. Together, they totaled $2.1 trillion and made up 56.6 percent of the budget. Medicare and Social Security spending was $1.6 trillion of the total. But this is just the beginning.

Now, we could look at Trump's promise not to touch these programs in a more cynical way. Could it be that when he promises not to reform Social Security and Medicare, he is actually promising massive cuts to Social Security down the road? As you may know, in 2035, when the Social Security Trust Funds runs out of assets, benefits will be cut across the board by roughly 25 percent. According to CBO projections, in 2035 the public debt will be $41 trillion, or 110 percent of GDP, while the deficit will be well above $2.6 trillion, or 7 percent of GDP. Meanwhile, spending will stand at almost $10 trillion, or 26 percent of GDP. In other words, the notion that Congress will be able to avoid the cuts one way or another is pure wishful thinking.

Is the president that sneaky? I doubt it. I think he is just fiscally irresponsible. Indeed, if Trump's spending priorities are any indication, the debt is only headed higher. To get a sense of those priorities, here's a list of either explicit or implicit areas in which Trump intends to increase spending according to last night's speech:

  • It sure sounds like Trump intends to reinvigorate the federal government's failed war on drugs. That portends a larger federal anti-drug budget. Taxpayer dollars will be lost; and tragically many more lives will be lost to the drug war, too.
  • Trump lamented the loss of trillions of taxpayer dollars in Middle Eastern wars, but then he said he will send "Congress a budget that rebuilds the military, eliminates the Defense sequester, and calls for one of the largest increases in national defense spending in American history." The president appears unable to understand that big military budgets beget more wars, which beget bigger military budgets, and on and on it goes.
  • Trump promised to spend more money on veterans. It would have been nice to hear him offer specific reforms for the Department of Veterans Affairs (see Cato's Michael Cannon for some good suggestions) but Trump instead fell back on the typical politician's promise to simply spend more money.
  • Trump reiterated his intention to "invest" a trillion dollars in the nation's allegedly "crumbling infrastructure," which I'm sure were reassuring words for the various special interests involved in the transportation and construction lobbies. Trump says it will be "financed through both public and private capital," but it's the "public" part that most excites the spenders in Congress. It's also worth noting that Trump explicitly stated that the effort will be "guided by" his so-called Buy American and Hire American principles. Translation: It is going to cost taxpayers a lot more money.
  • The president said "my administration wants to work with members in both parties to make childcare accessible and affordable, to help ensure new parents have paid family leave, to invest in women's health, and to promote clean air and clear water, and to rebuild our military and our infrastructure." This is what you call pandering to the pink hat crowd.

One thing is certain: This is not the party of Ronald Reagan anymore. Republicans have gone so far off the rails that they not only gave standing ovations to calls for more government infrastructure spending, they applauded demands for blatantly protectionist policies. The GOP has apparently forgotten the fact that for decades it stood for free trade and pretended to want to reduce the debt.

According to a tweet sent by House Speaker Paul Ryan this morning, "Last night POTUS delivered a bold optimistic message to the America people." No Mr. Speaker, he didn't.

NEXT: Trump Trots Out Canada's Obsolete Immigration Policy For America

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  1. his complaints do not compare to those of Barack Obama, who was still blaming George W. Bush eight years into the job.

    Obama inherited a real mess – -8.9% GDP, 750,000 jobs losses per month, $1.2 trillion deficit, etc – Trump is inheriting a sound economy near full employment therefore has no one to “blame”.

    1. why are you here?

      1. Why are any of us, my good chum?

      2. Who the fuck are you? I’ve been here at least 8 years and donate to Reason.

        1. ….why?

          1. I read the articles. I am probably more in political sync with the writers than the TEAM RED! zealots here.

            1. Yeah but there’s way better places to find identity politics that aren’t diametrically opposed to your views on economics.

              1. Yes, but he doesn’t get fifty cents from Media Matters for posting there.

            2. Who are the TEAM RED! zealots you claim are here?

        2. talk about your bona fides!!!

        3. and donate to Reason

          [citation needed]

        4. But squelched on a bet.

        5. Your screen name links to soros.org. Yeah, you sound like a real libertarian.

        6. Your screen name links to soros.org. Yeah, you sound like a real libertarian.

      3. buttplugs gotta buttplug

    2. Full employment, lol

      / looks at labor force participation rate

      1. Yeah, all those Boomers who retired early are really suffering.

          1. check the date stamp on the article and comments… April, 2016…
            Got new data?

        1. You mean the Boomers who “were retired” early by their companies and couldn’t find another job in this wonderful economy?

    3. only if you don’t count those permanently out of the workforce, entitlements and unfunded mandates, then it’s not such a rosy picture…

      1. Well, the long term debt problem would have been solved by Simpson-Bowles but Congress fucked that up. Both sides are equally to blame too.

        1. You mean the plan that barry ran screaming from? That simpson-bowles?

    4. Pure poppycock. In the beginning of the Obama administration, January 2009, the employment-population ratio was 60.6%. Two years later, November 2010, it had reached 58.2%, the lowest level since August 1983 (27 years prior). After 6 more years of Obama (January 2017), it still was only 59.9%, lower than when he took office:
      https://data.bls.gov/timeseries/LNS12300000
      During Bush’s administration (no Bush fan here), it reached as high as 63.4%.
      So much for your “sound economy near full employment”.

      1. OK, so you do not know how “full employment” is defined. Must you brag about your ignorance?

        1. Nice attempt to ignore millions who are unemployed and underemployed! Just declare “full employment” by some definition and move on. I’m sure the unemployed and underemployed will feel better hearing that news.

      2. Don’t confuse buttsmell, er, buttplug with the facts!

    5. Why were major very important corporations fleeing the U.S. during Obama’s reign? Oh wait, then after President Trump after taking office immediately called all of those company CEOs to the White House to work on a plan and they saw the real interest and logic and son of a gun they change their minds!! Hmmmmmmm??

    6. Seems you missed the facts in the article about the debt. I’d hardly call our economy “a sound economy” or “near full employment” given the very high lack of participation in the workforce. Further, Congress, and especially the RINOs that control the GOP, have shown they are doing little regarding tax cuts, spending cuts, or any significant reform. But they are delaying appointments, suggesting investigations into Trump’s Russian connections (fake IMHO), proposing big taxes and business subsidies in the form of tariffs and subsidies for exporters (the Border Adjustment Tax), lack of action on Obamacare, and generally more of the status quo. I’m sure the Democrats and establishment RINOs would like to be rid of Trump in 2020 even if it hurts the US.

      I’d call it an economy based on wishful thinking. I expect in a year or two, the reality of more of the same stagnation will set in.

    7. Lame attempt to deflect the piercing blow…

  2. I would say that being “presidential” implies being a nationalist.

    It’s interesting that one of these is considered an insult but not the other. So we hate nation-states now, yet aristocracy is still admired independently of that. I guess because you-know-who never acted very presidential.

    1. I would say that being “presidential” implies being a nationalist.

      I don’t. I would say that being “presidential” means that you are faithful to America’s ideals.

      To me a nationalist says “America, right or wrong”. But I would expect a “presidential” president to say “when America contravenes its ideals, I will side with the higher ideals rather than with America”.

      1. This would seem to boil down to defining “nationalist” an anyone who define their country’s ideals differently than you do. From Trump’s perspective he probably thinks he’s doing exactly what you say. Just with a different definition of what is corrupt and therefore leading America astray.

      1. My bad I should have crammed some anarchist virtue signalling in there, but kinda rushed it.

        1. We’ve already got ((( blah ))) = “Jews”, right? So, we just need some more markup: #&*$ I would say that… $* –> “Murder the government first, then I would say that…”

  3. It’s funny, Trump’s speech more or less could have been given by Bill Clinton in the 90s. Shows how far left the parties have gone

    1. Clinton is a free trader at least. And I recall some slashing of military costs back then.

  4. We had big military spending increases under Reagan and, excluding Grenada and the tragedy in Lebanon, all that “beget” was the peaceful destruction of the USSR and Eastern European Communism.

    1. Who were on the verge of failure anyway.

      Why build up now? ISIS is nowhere on the scale of a Soviet Union.

    2. Different situations SIV. The military build-up in the 80’s forced the Soviets, who were already on very shaky economic grounds, to attempt to compete. And when their economy collapsed, so did their hold on the rest of eastern Europe who were largely hostile to the Soviets to begin with.

      How will more military spending beat ISIS…and whoever replaces them?

      1. How will more military spending beat ISIS

        According to Trump Republicans just calling them “radical Islamic terrorists” will scare the daylights out of them and cause them to surrender.

        1. “Mr. Madison, what you’ve just said is one of the most insanely idiotic things I have ever heard. At no point in your rambling, incoherent response were you even close to anything that could be considered a rational thought. Everyone in this room is now dumber for having listened to it. I award you no points, and may God have mercy on your soul.”

      2. I don’t buy the commonly bandied notion that our military spending in the 1980s “caused” the Soviets to spend themselves into collapse. The idiots who drafted the Soviet budgets are the real cause. And for people who believe this do they not think we would be exempt from the same fate? It seems weird to hold a belief that unrestrainted seemingly pointless military spending could collaspe a superpower and yet also believe in massive military spending.

        1. SS spending is increasing nearly 100bb a year. How many articles does reason post on that vs. the proposed 50bb singular increase in defense? Oh I forgot: Military Industrial Complex.

      3. How will 3.6% of gdp down from 10%+ 50 years ago bankrupt us?

  5. Oh but the Feelz I got from his speech. The Feelz…

    1. Are people dumb or what? I know I am. Often at least.

  6. Why does someone as smart at de Rugy talk about the SS trust fund containing “assets”?

    She says: “As you may know, in 2035, when the Social Security Trust Funds runs out of assets, benefits will be cut… ”

    But the trust funds contain bonds which are debt the government owes to itself. They are counted as part of the national debt. How can they be assets? That’s like saying my net worth is increased by a home equity loan.

    When a bond is “cashed in” what happens? Where does the actual liquidity come from? I can think of three things: (1) Taxes are raised to obtain the money. (2) Spending on other programs is reduced and savings applied to payment. (3) New debt is created elsewhere. Of course, it’s #3 because the government goes into more debt every year, thus number 2 has no meaning.

    This seems like the naked emperor of SS. Everybody sees the clothes, even de Rugy.

    1. Because a US Treasury is an asset to the holder and a liability to the taxpayer.

      1. who would be the “holder” of the US Treasury you speak of?

  7. As you may know, in 2035, when the Social Security Trust Funds runs out of assets

    Just in time for Gen X to take it in the shorts, naturally.

  8. 40 million people out of work who are neither retired nor in school, and we are supposed to believe that illegal immigration is helping them?

    I’m sick and tired of the “jobs Americans just won’t do” argument when really it’s “jobs Americans won’t do for $4/hour that we let corporations get away with paying because no one enforces immigration law”. I understand that the $4/hour ag worker helps to lower costs at the supermarket but these same immigrants are working awful shitty jobs at borderline slave wages whilst using the welfare system at a net cost to taxpayers. Defending businesses who depend on illegal slave labor to turn a profit at the expense of the American worker and tax payer is a stupid argument.

    1. You don’t know what you’re talking about. American citizens will NOT pick produce for minimum wage. This I know first hand from a Colorado apple farmer. He’s tried everything to hire (and keep) Americans or immigrants with a work visa…and the only one’s who will do the work are illegals. And the price he’s paid per bushel doesn’t allow him to pay better. Once his workforce is deported and no longer available, the ONLY solution for all of us to pay more for his produce to subsidize wages. That…or for economic conditions to deteriorate so far that picking produce is worth minimum wage.

      1. I’m a believer in the wider gates/taller fences solution to immigration which would increase the number of legal immigrants/work visa’s so that there would be more cheap labor available. That being said your one anecdotal example is not the only situation wherein illegal cheap labor is used to fill a gap at the expense of the worker and American taxpayers.

        Yes, if people want to work for $4/hour they should be allowed to but I don’t see how this squares with the Federal Minimum wage laws. You argument amounts to “if you want cheap apples then you need slave labor” which I’m not going to agree with. There has to be a better solution.

        1. The problem is that when someone is here legally, they have better options than picking produce for minimum wage. They can work in an air conditioned call center for the same wage. They get 8 hour days with overtime if they work more. They get paid breaks, and maybe even vacation and benefits. Only the truly unemployable would choose field work if they had other options.

          1. A lot of agriculture is now way above the minimum wage.

      2. I know plenty of regular guys who pick in the Central Valley in California. They tend not to talk about it.
        As a kid in suburban Portland, Oregon all of my middle-class friends, ages 12-16, picked all summer long. Bus picked us up at 5am and we had fun. That was in the 60s before Mexicans made it that far north and took over our summertime job, and before parents decided their children were too special to do manual labor and needed a trophy for just participating.
        During college I cleaned homes and later, before it was “cool”, I cooked for Hollywood families. I got a good job in Malibu when a German guy overstayed his Visa for 3 years and was finally deported. I used the money I saved to open a coffee house and then 2 more restaurants where I hired hundreds of young students over the next 20 years. In California they all got paid minimum wage + tips and some made more money than I did!
        Do you think that one German ILLEGAL cook would have created hundreds of first-time jobs for American kids who needed flexible schedules in order to go to school?
        We do such a disservice to people by demeaning some jobs as “beneath us”. I am a huge fan of Mike Rowe!

        1. Thankyou for sharing your wonderful story. I was there then as well, and that was before all the new rich showed up, folks did not have their noses so out of ,joint. So many successful business creators did actually come up from simple non subsidized means back then, hard work was actually recognized.

    2. Labor protectionism for the win!

    3. What’s a “borderline slave wage.” Did anyone force them to work? If not, it can’t be a slave wage.

      1. By definition a “slave wage” would be zero. But let’s not quibble over the definition of commonly used words when there’s KKKORPORAYSHUNZ to bash.

        1. Rubbish. A slave wage isn’t zero. That’s volunteer work.

          Slavery is forced labor. When the term “slave wage” is used it implies that there’s a proper or reasonable level of wage. There isn’t.

    4. A ‘job Americans won’t do’ is one where the pay for the job reflects the actual value of the work to the finished product and not the bloated mandated wage and benefits package–not to mention the tax burden– that an employer must shoulder if he or she chooses to employ Americans.

  9. I forgot the obvious #4: the fed creates new money to buy new bonds. That way, to do #3, you don’t even have to go out and ask someone for a real loan.

    1. Shit I meant this to be in response to my own post above.

  10. David Stockman: Trump Will Create a Debt Crisis Like Never Before

    http://www.foxbusiness.com/pol…..efore.html

    1. But Obama running up more debt in 8 years than all of the his predecessors combined, was just no big deal.

      1. The same stockman who delayed raising the social security retirement age. Anyone who uses that sanctimonious fucker as a reference needs to be locked in a room with a horney and diseased wombat.

        1. So a couple of reason.com commenters who claim to be libertarians. Got it

  11. I am going to let others address the anti-immigration stance of the president.

    And then proceed to rant about the “anti-immigration stance” of Trump and those evul repubs.

    The GOP has apparently forgotten the fact that for decades it stood for free trade and pretended to want to reduce the debt.

    They never stood for free trade or low debt. They were founded as, have been, and remain the party of mercantilsm (ie high tariffs, federal spending on “internal improvements”, generally protectionist economic policy). There was a time when Democrats were the party of free trade. There was even a war fought over this distinction between the parties. But Team Blue was co-opted by “Progressives”, which are WAY worse on economics.

  12. “However, my true heartache comes for those who entered this country illegally but have stayed to make better lives for themselves and their families. There are millions of upstanding citizens who are undocumented due to a lack of process to make low-skilled workers legal, thereby preventing them from being able to fully contribute to making America great and productive. To the nannies who watch our children, the cleaning ladies who keep our houses neat, the gardeners who mow our lawns, or the farmhands who pick our vegetables and fruits, I say, some of us know and appreciate your value. It is hard to accept that you now live in fear of being sent away from the country you have called home for many years.”

    I understand this humanist perspective. On the other hand, there are laws. Next time don’t break the law. Once you accept law breaking then what?

    1. I understand this humanist perspective. On the other hand, there are laws. Next time don’t break the law. Once you accept law breaking then what?

      This is basically my position. Congress has passed laws on immigration and all presidents have enforced them, at least to some regard. That Trump is now enforcing immigration law to a further extent is not him enforcing law that doesn’t exist. He is literally doing the chief execs job. If you don’t like the law, contact your congresscritter.

    2. People move into crime ridden neighborhoods and need to protect themselves. That’s a humanist perspective too, but you won’t hear liberals say those people should ignore gun laws.

      They want to disobey laws they don’t want, while demanding you obey the laws you don’t want.

    3. So you two are clearly fine with, say, the State of Oregon taking away a families bakery and fining them $135,000 for declining to participate in a gay wedding, correct? Or Washington State closing a pharmacy that chooses not to carry abortion pills. Or, shit, segregation… it was morally acceptable to jail blacks for using white facilities until the law changed, right?

      It’s funny; it seems like “the law’s the law” is a refuge for the left and the right any time the law being challenged is a law they like. It’s only when the law is restricting them – say immigration or guns respectively – that either side adopts that old rebellious spirit. I say if there isn’t a victim, I don’t understand why there’s a law to begin with, so I’m not cheering when someone is jailed (or deported) for breaking it.

      1. I understand and I think most of us around here wouldn’t overly take issue with immigration laws as currently designed. But they are.

        People are willingly entering the country by breaking the law and the country is refusing to enforce those laws which is unfair to those who do respect the law. If they would go through he proper channels – however long, convoluted and even inhumane to some – they will eventually become citizens.

        Get it fixed.

        I feel the other stuff you mentioned are not really pertinent (except to make the point about the law) but suffice to say I think that recent development of ‘bake me a cake’ to be abhorrent but there is a difference between that issue and immigration.

        Maybe I’ll expand but I can’t at the moment – my daughter is hassling me.

    4. “Once you accept law breaking then what?”

      You become a human being with a sense of moral reasoning?

      1. I meant strictly from the perspective of L&O.

        But whatev.

    5. The people in Colorado are brazenly violating federal law when they sell and consume marijuana! Lock them up! It’s what chief executives do.

    6. The only laws that should be followed as a matter of principle are those that help defend people from the initiation of force by others. And, a select few where the state itself is initiating force, like taxation, which of course is a sticky wicket.

      Almost all others should be considered for nullification.

      1. Fair enough. But that’s theory – for now.

        The bottom line is – the law is an ass fine – but you have to follow it if you want to avoid trouble or possible consequences.

        Shitty as it is.

  13. I knew we could count on de Rugy to notice how Trump feels about regulation, ObamaCare, taxes, Dodd-Frank, etc.

    If we’re going after Trump for wanting to expand military spending by some $54 billion, we should probably mention, as well, that he proposed cutting foreign aid at the State Department by some $30 billion.

    That’s a mixed bag, but on a strictly ideological basis, using the military to protect our rights from foreign threats is a legitimate function of libertarian government. I suppose foreign aid could be defended on that basis, as well, but that’s a harder sell as far as I’m concerned. I’d rather we had cuts across the board, but if we’re going to cut some spending on foreign policy, foreign aid seems like a great place to start.

    1. Question Ken. When was the last time that the military was used to “protect our rights”…and which current or potential foreign adversary is of such a threat that we need to spend as much as we do? Our military expenditures are like me procuring and implementing an enterprise level security apparatus to protect my home network.

      1. Whether what we’re doing is cost effective or whether we’re spending too much money or engaging in military activity that is unwarranted are all separate questions.

        At least the military serves a legitimate purpose in protecting our rights from foreign threats.

        We shouldn’t have a drug war, etc., etc., too, but protecting our rights from criminals is another legitimate function of libertarian government.

        Not sure whose rights are being protected by food stamps, rent assistance, etc.

        And I’m not sure foreign aid is a legitimate function of libertarian government either.

        On purely ideological grounds, then, military spending is at least defensible as a legitimate function of government.

        Foreign aid? Not so much.

        1. We shouldn’t have a drug war, etc., etc., too, but protecting our rights from criminals is another legitimate function of libertarian government.

          Nice retort.

          One can criticise the current operations of the military, or the police, or the courts, but their fundamental legitimacy can’t be denied, unless you’re an anarchist.

          That said, why increase the funding of an arm of government that is already engaging in illegitimate actions? If the cops want more money, legalise drugs and you’ll probably double their budget right there. Same for the military.

          It’s hard to believe that the US military can’t be trimmed by the amount Trump is asking for out of its current operations. If not, then everything its doing currently is perfectly reasonable? I doubt it.

  14. No one is interested in fixing our fiscal problem. 20T in debt. The interest payment is around $400B a year. Our deficit spending is a little more than $400B a year. We are not even making the interest payment, much less a payment on the principle. If we paid 2x interest $800B a year just for the debt, it would take us 50 years or so pay it off, assuming every budget between now and then is balanced.

    Not gonna happen.

    I predict the debt will be 32T in 8 years.

    1. Oh yes, the debt will never decrease from now until something fails and collapses.

  15. Right now, my view of the landscape is that the majority of voters are not willing to touch Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid and are perfectly happy to kick that can closer to the cliff just down the road. No candidate can get elected if he threatens those programs. So we’re getting the government we deserve.

  16. Trump’s immigration and crime rhetoric sounds exactly like Bill Clinton’s Democrats. His economic and trade policies sound like the 2016 Democrats. None of it sounds like anything remotely libertarian, but I am still holding out hope. I must say it is fun watching people on both sides absolutely confused about what to applause and what to jeer since Trump flipped everything on its head.

  17. I just donated to Reason!!!

    All you tiny minds threatening to cancel your non-existent subscriptions pushed me over the edge! Don’t fuck with old white guys with excess disposable income! Let Reason know you want free minds and free markets, and none of this Heil Hoppe shit going around!

  18. Hey Trump said the word liberty in his speech for the first time. Baby steps?

    1. Trump says a lot of things.

  19. To the nannies who watch our children, the cleaning ladies who keep our houses neat, the gardeners who mow our lawns, or the farmhands who pick our vegetables and fruits, I say, you can all be easily replaced by unpaid orphans!

    But seriously, ~90% of the nannies and ~80% of the cleaning ladies (in my neighborhood) are white. Mostly because you have to be credentialed and have passed a background check anyway before you get to waltz into people’s houses and watch their kids.

    And I have yet to meet a professionally-employed gardener.

  20. Here’s what I would do.

    1. Raise the SS retirement age and index it to life expectancy

    2. End heroic end of life care on other people’s dime.

    3. Reduce the military (a good start would be the recent military report showing 150 billion in savings that was barried)

    4. People receiving government healthcare should have to be on an appropriate fitness regime (IE you want to be fat that’s your call, but we shouldn’t be paying for your healthcare then).

    5. End the war on drugs

    plus of course the traditional stuff like reform taxes (I like the Fair Tax). And drastically reduce the regulatory state.

    1. #4 sounds too much like Winston standing in front of a TV with a camera doing mandatory exercises.

    2. 0. Actual free market in health care.

      In the last decade, I actually *needed* a doctor once, when I broke a toe. The rest of my health care “usage” was government enable rent seeking by the Medical Mafia, where I had to get permission slips to buy medications.

      Routine health care would be next to free at this point, through Google Health on our smart phones, but for government regulation. Health care is primarily an information technology, particularly routine care.

  21. I am going to let others address the anti-immigration stance of the president. However,…
    To the nannies who watch our children, the cleaning ladies who keep our houses neat, the gardeners who mow our lawns, or the farmhands who pick our vegetables and fruits, I say, some of us know and appreciate your value.

    And here you have it.

    The Ruling Reptiles luv them sum cheap servants.

  22. One thing is certain: This is not the party of Ronald Reagan anymore. …The GOP has apparently forgotten the fact that for decades it stood for free trade and pretended to want to reduce the debt.

    Seems very much Reaganesque. Reagan exploded the debt. Growth and defense were held as more important than holding down debt.

    Trump is pursuing a low regulation, low tax, pro growth agenda. And a defense buildup. Sounds like Reagan to me, although relatively very light on the defense buildup.

    Looks like Trump will be much better on the deficit than Reagan was.

  23. If the American People had wanted “economic literacy”, they would have elected someone else.

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  25. You know what, enough is enough.

    We are the UNITED STATES OF AMERICA yesterday, today, and tomorrow! This petty back and forth just because you can does not solve issues.

    President Trump is the first individual in decades who was elected by the real people and the real people have jobs, lives, and love of country. If you are lacking any of these benchmarks, please do your best to obtain all three and odds and odds are all the negativism will go away. Decades of freebie feel good programs coupled with abusive adherence to a phony political correctness schemes have placed this country in the toilet of shame.

    Finally, President Trump knows how to make the process work and requires accountability (God forbid), adherence to laws of the land (another God forbid), and recognize we are one country that requires allegiance to our Flag and Country.

  26. ” millions of upstanding citizens who are undocumented ” By definition undocumented means they are probably not citizens. Unless of course you mean people who were born here who don’t have a birth certificate. That would be the only group of undocumented citizens in the country and I doubt there are more than a few thousand.

  27. I keep Tweeting him to Google “Smoot-Hawley” but I guess he’s too busy Tweeting himself to read or reply.

    The other factor is that, as countries ‘evolve’ they move from Agrarian to Industrial to Technological to Service-Centric economies.

    Even China has raced from Agrarian just one lifetime ago to the point where most of their jobs are now in the Service Sector and they outsource and offshore a lot of their manufacturing!

    For Trump or anyone else to think that the US can bring back ‘well-paying manufacturing jobs’ to America is to piss into the wind of history.

    Good luck!

  28. Blithering idiot pretending to be enlightened.

  29. To the nannies who watch our children, the cleaning ladies who keep our houses neat, the gardeners who mow our lawns, or the farmhands who pick our vegetables and fruits, I say, some of us know and appreciate your value.

    Your servants?

    And you have the gall to say you appreciate their value?

    No–you appreciate that they, as illegal non-citizens, are valued–and thus PAID less than actual citizens. You prefer they be kept in this state so that you might profit thereby.

  30. Would really like to support President Trump, but this talk about FEDGUV invading states that have “legalized” Cannabis, because it “causes violence”, uh lets consider the Tenth Amendment , which is afterall included within the oath taken by all so called public servants, that is if they are lawfully afforded standing as a public servant.
    Anyway, we all know that decentralization is the light and the way….

  31. Your economic analysis is, as usual, excellent. Your social commentary is unrealistic and destructive. America cannot have open borders to the world.

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