Economic Growth, Coherent Foreign Policy, Trust in Govt: What WON'T Be Settled Today

Whether Hillary Clinton or Donald Trump wins the election, massive challenges face the next president of the United States.

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If you think that much of anything related to politics will be settled by Tuesday's election, here's some bad news for you: Nothing that matters is really over.

There are at least three major issues facing the country when either President Clinton or President Trump gets sworn in next January.

What about economic growth?

You may not realize it, but the U.S. has been out of recession for seven years, one of the longest economic expansions in American history. But the average rate of growth since 2009 has been around 2 percent, making this the weakest economic recovery since 1949. Economic growth is essential to improving wealth and standards of living—and it helps to defuse all sorts of explosive political issues, from trade to immigration to welfare. But for all of the 21st century–under George Bush and Barack Obama–economic growth has been much lower than average.

Neither Hillary Clinton or Donald Trump has articulated a plan that will actually grow the economy. Clinton will jack up taxes and spending on everything, a sure-fire way to keep the economy puttering along. Trump will punch add five-trillion dollars to the national debt, which will also dampen growth.

And if the American economy doesn't improve, don't expect anything else too.

Who will we bomb next?

Hillary Clinton is a hawk's hawk who has voted for, lobbied for, or taken credit for all of our military interventions in the 21st century. Despite such actions—of more accurately, BECAUSE of such actions—the world is a bigger mess than ever. At times Donald Trump sounds like he would be a relative dove and at others, he sounds like a crazy man; at the very least, like Hillary Clinton, he said that he would increase military spending.

Neither of them has articulated a foreign policy that will help stabilize the U.S. economy, reduce international terrorism, or bring order to hot spots in the Middle East, Eastern Europe, or Asia any time soon.

What do you believe in?

Trust in most major American institutions are at or near historic lows—the media, religious organizations, labor, business—you name it. That's especially when it comes to the two major political parties and government in general. Even worse, millennials—Americans between about 18 and 35 years old—aren't just the biggest generation, they are the most skeptical.

Who can blame them—or us? The Iraq War was sold on bad information and prosecuted poorly; President Obama's claims that his health care reform would let you keep your doctor was the Lie of the Year, and we've learned that neither Democrats or Republicans give a rat's ass about the government spying on us. Wikileaks and others have exposed Hillary Clinton as two-faced and Donald Trump's is a serial scam artist and bully

Neither will address the massive and ongoing evacuation of trust and confidence in government and politics. If anything, they will likely pour gas on the dumpster fire.

America is moving rapidly from a high-trust society to a low-trust one and that's really bad news, especially for those of us who want a government that spends less and does less. Paradoxically, people in low-trust countries turn to government in ever-higher numbers. In a cruel and unpredictable world, they want a protector, no matter how untrustworthy.

Until the major parties start governing in the light of day and stop nominating candidates who are distrusted by majorities of Americans, don't expect much to change. Except for things to get even nastier, at least until 2020.

Written by Nick Gillespie. Video by Meredith Bragg.

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  1. “…Trust in Govt: What WON’T Be Settled Today”

    Good!
    The less trust we have in gov’t, the better. Treat gov’t people like a thief at your door.

    1. I have said this plenty myself, but perhaps libertarians need to check the basic assumption. Lack of faith in government does not seem to actually produce people who favor smaller government.

      1. I’m not assuming a cause – effect relationship, just making the point that distrusting the bastards is a good all on its own.

        1. Sadly, that distrust is a very limited commodity. Even the alleged party of limited govt is full of those who think govt is great when doing their bidding.

    2. If people were rational you might be right, but they’re not rational. And there’s this:

      Paradoxically, people in low-trust countries turn to government in ever-higher numbers. In a cruel and unpredictable world, they want a protector, no matter how untrustworthy.

      The least trustworthy governments end up being the biggest and most powerful. It doesn’t make sense, but that’s because people are dumb.

      1. Hence looking at Hillary as the country’s mom. Shudder.

  2. Trump looks like he’s about to give me a smooch. What a sweetie.

    1. Wait til he grabs your pussy.

      1. You’ll let him because he’s a star.

  3. Aqua-Fresh is so week man. Maybe Bernie is right. WE HAVE TOO MANY CHOICES.

  4. Yeah, I don’t understand why losing trust in government is a problem.

    Losing trust in the rule of law is the problem.

    When people lose faith in that, they start putting their faith in politicians to protect them.

    And that can lead to putting trust in government.

    A wise man once said, “When you believe in things that you don’t understand, then you suffer”.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wDZFf0pm0SE

    1. Losing trust in the rule of law is the problem.

      You sure? Considering that half the country, maybe more, will vote for a person apparently immune to that rule, your statement sounds like a nice theoretical perspective whose practical application is going away.

      1. I think you misunderstand my point.

        Half the voters being willing to vote for someone who openly disregards the rule of law is a problem.

        1. More like 90%.

          I think no one is under any illusions Trump will give a shit about the rule of law.

          1. Again, you seem to be incapable of differentiating between someone who has abused public office for personal gain and someone who has not.

            If the American people punished Trump at the polls for accepting money from foreign governments, that would be fine.

            If the American people reward Hillary Clinton with the White House for accepting money from foreign governments while she was Secretary of State, that is not the same thing as anything Trump has done or maybe might do.

            Are you unaware of this information?

            “In all, governments and corporations involved in the arms deals approved by Clinton’s State Department have delivered between $54 million and $141 million to the Clinton Foundation as well as hundreds of thousands of dollars in payments to the Clinton family, according to foundation and State Department records.”

            —-Mother Jones

            http://www.motherjones.com/pol…..arms-deals

            Read it.

            Understand what it says.

            “Why should I believe that Trump will use the White House to enrich himself and his family?”, is a valid question.

            But there’s little doubt that Hillary will do so–she’s always used public office that way going back to her time in Little Rock.

            And she’s done it by her own admission. When we found out that Hilary was taking millions from Saudi Arabia and other countries while Secretary of State, it wasn’t the result of an investigation. She reported it in Clinton Foundation documents herself.

            1. Your points about Clinton are fair. But I don’t see why Trump or his voters get bonus points for him merely promising to not give a shit about the rule of law. Especially when his promises are all we have to judge him by, as he’s never held political office.

              That’s setting aside any questionable business practices that might be relevant in a discussion about rule of law. Also, I think Clinton is far from the first candidate to get a major party nomination while having a troublesome history with the rule of law while in office. I don’t disagree with you that it’s astounding that we are at a point where she can possibly get elected after all that. I just think it’s not as groundbreaking when you take a full look at US history. Even recent history. Obama and Bush didn’t exactly show much regard for rule of law, and they both got reelected.

              1. Trump is also using the election to enrich himself presently. So, there’s little doubt he would do so as president.

                Trump is an authoritarian asshole. His ideas for big, intrusive government are terrible. He is fundamentally against economic freedom on every level.

                Please stop acting like I must vote for Trump.

                1. “Trump is also using the election to enrich himself presently.”

                  This is ridiculous.

                  It’s ridiculous if you’re talking about him staying in his own hotels while he’s on the campaign trail, buying fuel for his own plane, and buying copies of his own book to pass out.

                  And it’s ridiculous if you’re trying to make some kind of equivalence between Trump using money from campaign donors for his campaign, on the one hand, and Hillary Clinton abusing her public office, on the other, by approving arm sales to our potential enemies in exchange for cash.

                  If you need to rationalize your pathetic choice because you hate men, or whatever, go do it a mirror somewhere. Don’t expect the rest of us to buy in. Your “logic” here is indefensible.

                  1. Yeah. For a second I felt bad about that like editorialized leap and then I read the rest of your statement.

            2. Yes.

              I am familiar with your hourly rants on the subject as well.

              1. And yet every time this comes up, it’s like you’ve never heard of it all over again.

                Not having abused public office for personal gain is not equal to having abused public office for personal gain.

                I’ll skip that rant those facts next time if you stop pretending to be ignorant of them.

  5. First of all, the government doesn’t settle “economic growth”. The market settles that. And what is and is not a “coherent foreign policy” is determined mostly by events.

    For people who claim to be “libertarians”, the reason staff seems to have an awful lot of faith in the power of government if only their top men are in charge.

    1. “First of all, the government doesn’t settle “economic growth”. The market settles that.”

      The market is definitely affected by government policy, which is the point they’re getting at. Government doesn’t drive economic growth but it can certainly hinder the market’s ability to do so. Whether it does or not (or more accurately, the extent to which it does) is dependent on policy. Acknowledging that doesn’t mean you want a command economy run by Top Men.

      1. Government can kill economic growth but it cannot on its own create it or guarantee it. Whether we have economic growth and if so how much of it and assuming the government doesn’t kill it, is a product of the society and the market. The market doesn’t always give good results. It comes with the business cycle and the more you leave it alone the more you get booms and busts and all of that. All of those things are I think worth accepting to get the good the market brings. But, it annoys me when people act like the market is all wine and roses and the government, be it through central planning or Libertarian small government, can somehow guarantee how it behaves. It can’t. And free market advocates would do well to acknowledge that instead of selling free markets as some kind of alternative Utopia to socialism. Utopia doesn’t exist and won’t exist.

        1. That’s true, but I think there’s plenty of empirical evidence that free markets promote stronger growth in the long run than any other system. Markets don’t always produce positive outcomes, but I think the long-term trends are clearly positive. And in that sense I think it’s fair to critique economic plans that go against this as being less likely to produce growth. I feel like you’re reading a lot into the words that are written.

          1. I think you are right about that. I would never deny that free markets make us over the long term and overall much richer. What they do not do and free market advocates should always understand is produce the best result in each individual circumstance. Just because they make the society richer over the long term doesn’t mean everyone in that society will get a fair or good deal right now. Life isn’t fair and free markets don’t make it fair.

            The other thing that I think free market advocates forget is that there are other values besides getting rich. Free markets get us rich but they are also for the individuals in them unstable and unpredictable. So a total commitment to free markets comes at the price of stability and security. Yes, free market advocates see that as a price worth paying but they need to understand some people rationally might not. And those people’s values and concerns sometimes have to be accommodated or if not at least recognized as rational. Too often free market advocates act like the judgement of the market is like the moral judgement of God and those adversely effected by the fortunes of the market either had it coming or have some sort of moral duty to be sacrificed for the common good.

    2. the reason staff seems to have an awful lot of faith in the power of government if only their top men are in charge.

      Because, as far as we know for sure, they are people and that stance is a people thing.

      1. Fair point Sparky.

  6. Bad is good, baby! Down with government!

    1. MILKSHAKE! BOOM!!!!

  7. Some woman (a college professor of some sort) was on Bloomberg, talking about Trump’s claim he will cut regulations by 80%. “Do we REALLY want food and drug regs cut by 80%? Or environmental protection? I THINK NOT!”

    Some other idiot was actually on there, bemoaning Americans’ low savings rate, while scrupulously evading any mention of the Federal Reserve Bank’s active role in destroying any vestigial inclination toward saving people might still harbor.

    “Economic growth is all well and good, in theory, but not at the expense of all-encompassing government control. That would be crazy.”

    1. Why won’t those people just do what we think they should do?

    2. I was watching the local news this morning before work. They told me that if I tune in after work I’ll be treated to a juicy story by their investigation team on how public colleges avoid paying property taxes and how much that’s costing me. It really got me into just the right frame of mind for an election day.

      1. because the one thing we can be certain of is that their preferred ideological candidates will force public institutions to pay property taxes.

        /sarc

      2. Why would public colleges pay property tax?

        1. Because land, government doesn’t have enough money, everyone must be taxed, big expensive places should be paying, etc

          I dunno, it’s Massachusetts.

  8. Why is content from just like two or three days ago being recycled almost verbatim? Lazy motherfuckers.

    1. Hopefully because everyone in the Reason office did the right thing and got hammered.

    2. Because they think you’re a useless piece of shit and are trying to encourage you to leave.

      1. I’m not going anywhere anytime soon. I will fight against Block Yomomma dick suckers like you as long as I have a breath left in me!

        1. That’s a relief.

  9. I think the Iraq War was prosecuted very well. It was the never ending occupation that was outside of scope.

    1. Well, yeah, but that was the reason to avoid invading, too, right?

      George H. W. Bush refrained from deposing Saddam Hussein and occupying Iraq for precisely that reason in 1991.

      It was still a good reason not to invade in 2003.

  10. Speaking of foreign policy, one of the dumber media reactions to Trump was the outrage over his pledge to make US foreign policy unpredictable. Of course too much of anything can be bad and it is certainly possible that Trump would make US foreign policy too unpredictable or unpredictable in ways it should not be. And had the media made that argument, they might have had a point. We will never know that because making that argument requires facts and understanding and the media, being a bunch of former liberal arts majors who in the words of Ben Rhodes “literally know nothing”, didn’t make that criticism.

    Instead, they rejected the idea that there should be any uncertainty at all. They said Trump was crazy and dangerous for even saying such a thing. No, what is insane is thinking that a nation’s foreign policy should at all times be predictable and known. All such a policy would do would allow its adversaries to manipulate its actions and humiliate it and destroy its credibility as it was time and again maneuvered into situations where it could no longer deliver on its stated policies.

    1. There has to be a large element of uncertainty in foreign policy. Uncertainty prevents your adversaries from manipulating you into taking actions that benefit them at your expense in the name of consistency and it allows you to back away from bad actions without sacrificing your credibility. Consistency is just another way of saying drawing lines in the sand. And drawing lines in the sand does nothing but make every international conflict or crisis a test of America’s international credibility. And that is how you end up in needless wars.

      1. What good is sending out CIA operatives to practice their dark arts if nobody knows that we’re sending out CIA operatives to practice their dark arts?

        1. Since the point to everyone’s life these days seems to be to get a book deal or become famous, I guess not much. I am one of those reactionaries who thinks there might be other important things in life.

      2. There has to be a large element of uncertainty in foreign policy. Uncertainty prevents your adversaries from manipulating you into taking actions that benefit them at your expense in the name of consistency and it allows you to back away from bad actions without sacrificing your credibility.

        Before it was widely insinuated that he was a Russian plant trying to fuck with our election, I’d had more than a couple of people string this together with his comments about nuclear weapons and having options on the table in some manner of insinuation that Trump would launch a nuclear attack against Russia. Like Kennedy never happened or that he wasn’t actively seeking nuclear disarmament in the years leading up to the Cuban missile crisis. It’s like watching someone adamantly declare themselves mentally retarded. Rather literally saying they don’t care if the button gets pushed on accident or if someone gets tricked into pushing it and the entire world gets nuked, the most important thing is that Trump isn’t allowed anywhere near the button.

        Obviously, I haven’t sought out their opinions once it became known that Trump is a KGB spoiler.

        1. For the entire cold war the US had a policy of first use of Nuclear weapons. Our entire plan to defend Western Europe was based on using tactical nuclear weapons to compensate for the Soviet’s superior numbers. One of the biggest controversies of the 1980s was Reagan’s decision to deploy short range Pershing missiles to Europe. It was in the words of our VP, “a big fucking deal” and entirely based on the assumption that the US would use those missiles and the nukes on them in the event of a Soviet invasion of Western Europe.

          Then I wake up in the summer of 2016 and I see people who are have worked in government and actual experts in this field claiming that Trump refusing to disavow first use is something that disqualifies him from being President and would be some catastrophic break from past US policy.

          It was then that I knew that for whatever reason, the elite had decided that no lie was too big to stop Trump.

  11. “Gee, I wish we had one of them Doomsday Machines.”

    1. Maybe they do and are just waiting for the big veterans day parade to tell us about it. I am told Obama likes surprises.

      1. Then we can get into some serious conversation about the mine shaft gap.

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