Wednesday, March 1, 2017

Trump's State of the Union

The highlights:

(1)  Down with regulations!-- that may work, but then giving the right to industry to pollute -- are we back to rivers on fire.  After all the lack of regulations has been so good for China, maybe America should imitate.  Some of the finance regulations are pointless.  Not sure that killing the consumer protection bureau is such a hot idea.  Also not sure I buy the job-killing thing, America is near full employment now.

(2) Killing the TPP is good for the economy!:  not sure it was and it excluded China which seems to be idiotic anyway.  The jury is out on that one.  Those who remain in the TPP can still agree to something, but without China and America it's a little pointless

(3) Drugs is a real problem in America and we will do something about it!:  That's pie in the sky, for more than 40 years America has tried to eradicate drugs without success.  Drugs have never been cheaper.  This is a waste of time and effort filling the prisons for nothing, reform it lique alcohool and gambling (Trump should know).

(4)  Government's job is to serve and protect its citizen!:  Which begs the question why is trump growing the military budget by 9% -- what is it that America's armed forces can do with $665 billion that it could not do with $603 billion?

(5)  America cannot be home to terrorists!:  Clearly hinting at immigration policy and anti foreigner objectives.  If you assume that every foreigner is a have a problem.  But indiscriminate bombing in the Middle East is not a way of making friends.  They may consider that America is acting like a terrorist -- creating fear

(6) A large percentage of Americans live in poverty!:  An absolute truth there is no doubt about that.

(7) Jobs that were lost because of NAFTA!; Simply not true, the restructuring of the American manufacturing system pre-dates NAFTA it is a consequence of comparative advantages; NAFTA may have speeded up the process but it was already moving in that direction.

(8)  Overseas Trump's administration inherited a number of disasters:  Yes, true but there are always overseas disasters -- so far Trump has not been very helpful in reducing tensions.  If anything he has exacerbated them (Taiwan, NATO, Crimea, EU etc etc)

(9) Tax Reform for all!:  The juicy bit of the presentation.  Trump's desire to cut corporate tax is great idea if it is accompanied by massive cuts in loopholes, for while the US tax rates are very high, actual tax paid in the US tend to be on the low side.  But killing loopholes will be very hard (huge contributors to Congress' re-election funds).  Cutting taxes to the middle class is hard to believe, every Republican administration that has cut taxes has cut taxes in a way that 80% of benefits when to the top 5%, the rest got the 20%.  Border tax adjustment (which is VAT in another name) is complicated to administer but simple in concept.

(10) Back to immigration:  Frankly his point system is a good idea, it's what is used in Canada -- I agree with that one

(11)  $ 1 trillion in infrastructure!:  Not while a republican congress is there, the combination of tax cuts and massive infrastructure will create a massively larger deficit.  I just don't see it.

(12)  Kill the ACA and implement a new better and cheaper plan:  That's simply not going to happen.  The Republicans cannot agree on a way forward, and there are process in the work to shut the ACA down immediately (which is what some member of Congress want).  Health care reform is DOA.  As en example of how far the GOP is from a serious platform to deal with people with pre-existing conditions the total annual cost (estimated by the CBO) is somewhere near $150 billion per annum (which sounds like a lot -- but it's only $ 3,000 per person if 50 million have pre-existing conditions).  Total amount that the republicans want to spend on that is $1 billion per annum.  1/150 of the amount needed. Trump has no idea how to fix it, doesn't have the political capital to use on this and doesn't have the attention span.

The jobs will not return to America, the republicans will not support the infrastructure projects because they have no money or interest in these issues.  Health care will return to the status quo ante, tax reform will do great for the good and the rich, the rest can go screw themselves.  Congress has a different view (as does Bannon) cut ACA, cut Medicare and Medicaid, vouchers for schools, shut down EPA, Agriculture, Education and cut taxes for the rich and corporation.  Make the Federal government so small that it is no longer an issue.

 Anyway, a nice speech but the good stuff is simply undeliverable.


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