If Trump Is So Bad, Why Are Things So Good?
There is a lot to dislike about Donald Trump. His personality can be grating, his mannerisms crude and unpolished, and his personal life is not unblemished, to say the least. Like every president before him, he takes credit for the positive things that happen, but doesn’t take responsibility for the negative. Many of his policy proposals and actions reek of economic ignorance.
In spite of his obvious flaws, though, he has a large group of enthusiastic supporters. In spite of some of his policies, the economy is doing pretty well. In spite of his lack of political experience, he is able to accomplish things against tremendous political inertia and resistance. In spite of his lack of what established insiders consider diplomatic skills, he has brought some key people to the table.
It is interesting to consider why, if the president promotes ideas that are economically unsound, if he has significant character faults, and if he lacks experience in national politics, so many things seem to be working out well. I think the answer lies in a term coined by economic historian, Robert Higgs. His study of the Great Depression identified a key reason that it was so deep and long-lasting, something he termed “regime uncertainty.” The New Deal was not a genius plan to get America back on its feet. It was an ad hoc series of programs for political advantage or expediency. It was anti-business at its core, and nobody knew what regulations or interventions were coming next. Regime uncertainty made it unwise to make any significant investment decisions, so the only ones who did were political insiders who would be guaranteed their profits and benefits.
We now have a level of regime certainty not witnessed in a long time. Though some policies are counterproductive, though some of the benefit for one group comes at the expense of other groups, it seems like most people at least see where we are headed. They see confident leadership that supports rather than obstructs business, and people are now more willing to invest in facilities and people. I think we are going to weather some difficult economic times in the near future, but as long as the president maintains that confidence and doesn’t massively intervene, pretending to be the economic savior, it shouldn’t be the slow-motion disaster that the previous one was.
On the other side, in spite of some of the obvious good things that we are witnessing, such as the lowest unemployment in decades, companies bringing jobs back to the United States that were outsourced before, and a spunk not seen for quite a while, the president’s opponents, nearly the entire Democratic party leadership and many entrenched Republicans who have enjoyed the corrupt status quo in Washington for decades, continue to search for any way they can torpedo the president.
Yes, he is flawed, but Donald Trump’s biggest sin, at least according to the Democrats, who have come to represent radical progressivism and socialism, is that he is obstructing America’s seemingly inevitable march to the left and is attempting to dismantle much of the progressive program. He is hindering their attempt to “fundamentally transform” American society in their own image. That image is totally incompatible with the Constitution and with American values, tradition, and history. That is the primary reason that Donald Trump won the presidential election, and it is the reason that he has so much support today. Most Americans don’t want to be fundamentally reformed or transformed, especially to the dystopian world of the left. His supporters are not deplorables, as the Democrats seem to think. They just recognize the blatant dishonesty and hypocrisy in the left’s attempt to make America into the refection of a dangerous, anti-American ideology.
Originally published on Townhall Finance.
Daniel J. McLaughlin is the author of “Compassion and Truth-Why Good Intentions Don’t Equal Good Results.” Formerly a finance executive, he is now focused primarily on writing on economics, business, and politics. You can find him at daniel-mclaughlin.com.