The topic de jour is Donald Trump.
Hopefully over the coming weeks the constant barrage of media attention and conversation dedicated to the aftermath of the US presidential election and President-elect Donald Trump will slowly dissipate.
I figured Donald Trump would win. The reason I felt he would win is because the reality experienced on “Main Street” differs considerably from the reality that is being painted by the establishment.
This past January, President Barack Obama said the following during the State of the Union Address; “The United States of America, right now, has the strongest, most durable economy in the world,” He went on to say; “Anyone claiming that America’s economy is in decline is peddling fiction.”
The US has not recovered from The Great Recession in 2008 and societal conditions are worsening. This has been highlighted on a weekly basis within the Trivium Report. The establishment point of view is that the economy is strong and so much so that the Federal Reserve should consider raising interest rates. The media consistently backs up the recovery meme and this is a prime example of the disparity between reality and the optimistic reality portrayed by the powers that be.
Hillary Clinton is part of the ruling class. The ruling class in the US exercises considerable power and influence over government policies, the mainstream media and multinational corporations. This powerful group of people are extremely resistant to change. They benefit from the current environment.
A majority of the problems the world is facing has been caused by failed policies from successive governments (Democrats and Republicans).
A growing number of Americans are seeing the corruption and blatant propaganda from the government and media. The ‘people’ are beginning to blame the establishment. People want change.
Occupy Wall Street occurred because of the extreme social & economic inequality, greed, corruption, and the overbearing influence of corporations on government.
The decline in the manufacturing sector has been occurring for decades. After World War Two, the US was the only major power that had an intact manufacturing sector. Most war-torn nations were left in shambles. The US benefited immensely economically and enjoyed three decades of prosperity (1940/50/60’s). Picture courtesy of redstatewatcher.com
Over time nations rebuilt their manufacturing sectors and US global dominance began to diminish. Perpetual wars, budget deficits, offshoring of jobs, free trade agreements, trade deficits, corruption, social benefit programs, lobbying, etc. has left the US in an unenviable position. Look at Detroit.
Detroit is representative of the decline in the United States. People are experiencing hardship.
As Matt Taibbi highlighted succinctly in his book, The Divide: American Injustice in the Age of the Wealth Gap, there are two sets of laws; one for the elites and one for everyone else.
Wall Street executives, who were partially responsible for the collapse of the financial system in 2008, had committed financial fraud and were subsequently rewarded with billions of dollars of money to paper over their economy wrecking decisions they had made. Hillary Clinton broke the law countless times and was able to run for the President of the United States.
The average person has had their constitutional rights taken away through new laws such as the National Defense Authorization Act and the Patriot Act. The militarization of police forces and increased rates of police brutality has caused further hostility between the government and the populace. Gun owners have felt under siege by the Democrats push for a ban on firearms. Government subsidies to large corporations through programs such as Obamacare have squeezed family cashflows and caused small businesses to suffer greatly. These are just a few areas of concern and many people are questioning the direction the current government is heading. Hillary Clinton is viewed as a continuation of the same old, same old.
I think it is reasonable for people to look for change. There are so many serious issues playing out right now yet the media does their best to keep us distracted with the likes of Kim Kardashian, Hollywood fiction, iGadgets and so on. Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton are undesirable people. However, given the two options available the majority voted for an outsider (Trump) rather than the establishment (Clinton).
What follows is Donald Trump’s 100-day action plan to “Make America Great Again”. It is a contract between him and the American voter – and begins with restoring honesty, accountability and change to Washington.
Therefore, on the first day of his term of office, his administration will immediately pursue the following six measures to clean up the corruption and special interest collusion in Washington, DC:
- FIRST, propose a Constitutional Amendment to impose term limits on all members of Congress;
- SECOND, a hiring freeze on all federal employees to reduce federal workforce through attrition (exempting military, public safety, and public health);
- THIRD, a requirement that for every new federal regulation, two existing regulations must be eliminated;
- FOURTH, a 5 year-ban on White House and Congressional officials becoming lobbyists after they leave government service;
- FIFTH, a lifetime ban on White House officials lobbying on behalf of a foreign government;
- SIXTH, a complete ban on foreign lobbyists raising money for American elections. On the same day, he will begin taking the following 7 actions to protect American workers:
- FIRST, he will announce his intention to renegotiate NAFTA or withdraw from the deal under Article 2205
- SECOND, he will announce the withdrawal from the Trans-Pacific Partnership
- THIRD, he will direct his Secretary of the Treasury to label China a currency manipulator
- FOURTH, he will direct the Secretary of Commerce and U.S. Trade Representative to identify all foreign trading abuses that unfairly impact American workers and direct them to use every tool under American and international law to end those abuses immediately
- FIFTH, he will lift the restrictions on the production of $50 trillion dollars’ worth of job- producing American energy reserves, including shale, oil, natural gas and clean coal.
- SIXTH, lift the Obama-Clinton roadblocks and allow vital energy infrastructure projects, like the Keystone Pipeline, to move forward
- SEVENTH, cancel billions in payments to U.N. climate change programs and use the money to fix America’s water and environmental infrastructure
Additionally, on the first day, he will take the following five actions to restore security and the constitutional rule of law:
- FIRST, cancel every unconstitutional executive action, memorandum and order issued by President Obama
- SECOND, begin the process of selecting a replacement for Justice Scalia from one of the 20 judges on his list, who will uphold and defend the Constitution of the United States
- THIRD, cancel all federal funding to Sanctuary Cities
- FOURTH, begin removing the more than 2 million criminal illegal immigrants from the country and cancel visas to foreign countries that won’t take them back
- FIFTH, suspend immigration from terror-prone regions where vetting cannot safely occur. All vetting of people coming into the country will be considered extreme vetting.
Next, he will work with Congress to introduce the following broader legislative measures and fight for their passage within the first 100 days of his Administration:
- Middle Class Tax Relief And Simplification Act. An economic plan designed to grow the economy 4% per year and create at least 25 million new jobs through massive tax reduction and simplification, in combination with trade reform, regulatory relief, and lifting the restrictions on American energy. The largest tax reductions are for the middle class. A middle-class family with 2 children will get a 35% tax cut. The current number of brackets will be reduced from 7 to 3, and tax forms will likewise be greatly simplified. The business rate will be lowered from 35 to 15 percent, and the trillions of dollars of American corporate money overseas can now be brought back at a 10 percent rate.
2. End The Offshoring Act Establishes tariffs to discourage companies from laying off their workers in order to relocate in other countries and ship their products back to the U.S. tax-free.
3. American Energy & Infrastructure Act. Leverages public-private partnerships, and private investments through tax incentives, to spur $1 trillion in infrastructure investment over 10 years. It is revenue neutral.
4. School Choice And Education Opportunity Act. Redirects education dollars to gives parents the right to send their kid to the public, private, charter, magnet, religious or home school of their choice. Ends common core, brings education supervision to local communities. It expands vocational and technical education, and make 2 and 4-year college more affordable.
5. Repeal and Replace Obamacare Act. Fully repeals Obamacare and replaces it with Health Savings Accounts, the ability to purchase health insurance across state lines, and lets states manage Medicaid funds. Reforms will also include cutting the red tape at the FDA: there are over 4,000 drugs awaiting approval, and we especially want to speed the approval of life-saving medications.
6. Affordable Childcare and Eldercare Act. Allows Americans to deduct childcare and elder care from their taxes, incentivizes employers to provide on-side childcare services, and creates tax-free Dependent Care Savings Accounts for both young and elderly dependents, with matching contributions for low-income families.
7. End Illegal Immigration Act Fully-funds the construction of a wall on the southern border with the full understanding that the country Mexico will be reimbursing the United States for the full cost of such wall; establishes a 2 -year mandatory minimum federal prison sentence for illegally re-entering the U.S. after a previous deportation, and a 5-year mandatory minimum for illegally re-entering for those with felony convictions, multiple misdemeanour convictions or two or more prior deportations; also reforms visa rules to enhance penalties for overstaying and to ensure open jobs are offered to American workers first.
8. Restoring Community Safety Act. Reduces surging crime, drugs and violence by creating a Task Force On Violent Crime and increasing funding for programs that train and assist local police; increases resources for federal law enforcement agencies and federal prosecutors to dismantle criminal gangs and put violent offenders behind bars.
9. Restoring National Security Act. Rebuilds our military by eliminating the defense sequester and expanding military investment; provides Veterans with the ability to receive public VA treatment or attend the private doctor of their choice; protects our vital infrastructure from cyber-attack; establishes new screening procedures for immigration to ensure those who are admitted to our country support our people and our values
10. Clean up Corruption in Washington Act. Enacts new ethics reforms to Drain the Swamp and reduce the corrupting influence of special interests on our politics.
Reality Bites - Final Thoughts
For the record: I am a political atheist. I am not a Liberal or a Conservative. I am neither left or right. I don’t agree with the broad based policies of any government. I think our leaders are blind to the reality we find ourselves in. I think it is impossible for us to “grow” out of this financial malaise. I do not like Donald Trump or Hillary Clinton.
Once upon a time in the US, and in many other nations, a household could live off of the income of one person. 25% of a bread winners income would be used to pay for housing costs. Things began to change in the late 1960’s as the Vietnam war was raging and government benefit programs grew larger. This caused budget and trade deficits. Inflation took root and went up approximately 50% during the 1970’s within the US. Women began entering the workforce en masse and it became necessary for two wager earners to support a household. As the 1990’s and 2000’s came about debt began to supplement income as the cost of living outpaced income growth. We currently have the biggest bubble in human history: The Debt Bubble. Housing prices of skyrocketed in price because of low interest rates and lots of easy to access credit.
This has left us at a cross roads. Perpetual growth is a fantasy especially when governments, corporations and citizens are mired in debt. Donald Trump talks about making America Great again, but I am of the opinion that the time for addressing the systemic issues has already passed us by.
The problem with exponential growth in debt is that eventually the interest payments on the debt will supersede the amount of employment income or tax revenue that is required to maintain the debt. The majority of the population is struggling to maintain their standard of living. Too much debt, not enough savings and income are plaguing the population and therefore the economy. Negative interest rates are allowing governments, and now some multinational corporations, to continue taking on even more debt without having to worry about the medium term consequences of trying to pay the debt back.
The United States of America has benefited considerably from the strength of the US dollar when compared to any other nation. What other nation do you know of that has close to $20 trillion in debt, has more than a half a trillion dollar budget deficit and trade deficit, has printed over $3 trillion dollars (out of thin air I might add) in less than 10 years, and continues to be able to import consumer goods using the US dollar as the medium of exchange? US military dominance helps maintain the value of the dollar. The likelihood of this continuing is highly unlikely. As Voltaire once said; “Paper money eventually returns to its intrinsic value - zero”
Donald Trump talks about reviving the manufacturing sector via putting tariffs on imported goods, cancelling/renegotiating trade deals and reducing taxes, etc. He expects this to cause an economic resurgence. It has been a luxury for US consumers to be able to buy cheaply priced foreign made goods using debt. I struggle to see how an indebted US citizen will be able to afford the purchase of domestically produced goods that cost more to produce than goods produced in lower wage jurisdictions.
Globalization has killed local economies. Trade deals favour large corporations at the detriment of small businesses. Big box stores full of foreign made goods have replaced locally produced goods and businesses. Donald Trump has made it clear that he is going to change strategies with the US’s most important trading partner: China. China holds over $1 trillion in US government debt and over $3 trillion in US currency. They also happen to supply the US consumer with the majority of their consumer products. A US isolationist strategy, within the current globalized economic setting, will likely hurt the US more than benefit them over the foreseeable future.
In addition, we are already extracting resources at an unsustainable pace and Donald Trump intends to push aside environmental concerns and rubber stamp new initiatives that will exploit ecologically sensitive areas and our overall environment. I find it strange that he talks about making America Great Again, yet is pushing for policies that will destroy the carrying capacity of the land Americans rely on.
Looking back in history provides us with many examples of populations of people being seduced by individuals promising hope and change. I think Donald Trump was a protest vote against mainstream ideology. Many people are hanging their hats on the idea that Donald Trump will be able to break up the establishment and a new dawn will appear. The US population is divided and firmly entrenched in opposing camps and it is highly unlikely that this will change any time soon.
I think you will find that Donald Trump will have a difficult time getting all of his proposals through the House of Representatives and the Senate. The global economy will likely damper his expectations for what is possible economic growth wise given that the next financial crisis is right around the corner.
This country, with its institutions, belongs to the people who inhabit it. Whenever they shall grow weary of the existing government, they can exercise their constitutional right of amending it, or exercise their revolutionary right to overthrow it.
The control of information is something the elite always does, particularly in a despotic form of government. Information, knowledge, is power. If you can control information, you can control people.