Media tend to move together as to their “narratives.” Up to now, Trump has been portrayed as a stumbling, inexperienced, petty dolt. The last couple of days he is getting credit for not being the best-ever President but one who has accomplished some things. What, you may ask, has he accomplished? Well, as noted here before his main accomplishments (whether you agree with his policies or not) have been:
- Getting his “big, beautiful” tax package passed for his first real legislative victory just before time runs out on the year
- Appointing conservative judges to district and federal courts, as well as the Supreme Court
- Presiding over a healthy economy (and it’s becoming the Trump Economy)
- Cutting regulations which likely has contributed to the economy
The other side of that is:
- We’ll see if his tax package does create jobs and puts more money in the pockets of middle-class families or if it just feathers the nest eggs of the wealthy
- I’m not a huge fan of conservative (or liberal) judges but judges to tend to move to the middle once appointed
- Not sure what the consequences are of the regulation reduction on the environment or workers
- The economy always hits a ceiling and comes back down at some point
Having said all that, he hasn’t had the worst of first years. Where many of us have a problem with him is his style -- lying, beating up important United States’ institutions (i.e., the media, the courts, the legislative branch), and his foreign policy skills, or lack thereof. Oh, and his tweeting.
If the media narrative continues being more positive, it will be interesting to see who Trump makes his enemy because a hero always needs an enemy in a TV drama. I doubt he gives up on beating the media, but if the coverage balances out, will anyone buy his “fake news” mantra? Probably his “base” will always believe it.
As James Carville once so splendidly put it, though, “it’s the economy, stupid.” The economy has been fine, not booming but fine. The stock market does seem to travel in one direction the last couple of years but that, too, has to hit a limit at some point, we’ve learned.
Personally, I don’t have a problem cutting the corporate tax rate as long as their loopholes are eliminated at the same time (which they are not in the recent tax bill) but I do have a problem with the timing. Corporations are sitting on piles of money now that they don’t invest here. Will they bring back that money they’ve stored in other countries now that they have lower rates? And, if they do bring it back, will they spend it on higher wages and more jobs?
A few companies already have said they will give bonuses to employees when the bill is signed, but they’ve enjoyed no benefits from the tax cuts yet so I’m not sure what their true motivations are. So, is it purely to reward their employees or to gain favor with a President who clearly enjoys having homage paid to him regularly -- as evidenced yesterday by both his Cabinet meeting where grown men and women took turns singing Trump’s praises and the same at the event where most of the Republican caucus stood behind him as their leaders took turns praising the President.
As to the middle class, I’m sure some will be happy to see more money in their paychecks. Others will see their taxes increase. We’ll have a better idea this time next year as to whether the middle class is happy with the tax cut or not and whether its impact was felt. Actually, those results will be known a month or so earlier when the mid-term Congressional elections are held.
Trump’s foreign policy gambits haven’t had any true impact yet that we've been able to see. We still have a significant Korean Peninsula issue. We still have his odd relationship with the Russian leader. And just in the last 24 hours he’s threatened to cut US. money to any country who votes in the United Nations against Trump recognizing Jerusalem as the Israeli capital. Not your traditional position to take in the U.N. This is not normal in foreign relations. This is bullying.
Bottom line, Trump is what he is. A 71-year-old, set in his ways billionaire marketer who is used to getting his way in a company where the employees seem to be primarily family.
The roller coaster ride isn’t over but we may see a holiday truce as Trump basks in what he’ll see as praise.