So far, we’ve been very happy with the Trump administration.
It has been one laugh after another.
We don’t know what is more entertaining: the pathetic whining from the Left or the self-serving indignation from the Right.
The Left oversaw much of the unconstitutional power build-up of the executive branch. Abroad, Congress let the president run amok — invading, attacking, assassinating and bombing foreign countries at will.
At home, Congress turned over much of its legislative power to the permanent government and the executive branch. Obamacare, for example, was written by lobbyists and bureaucrats; members of Congress didn’t even read it.
Hillary intended to use this outsized executive power to create the kind of stifling welfare-warfare state she wanted. But now, seeing it in Donald J Trump’s reckless hands, the Left is apoplectic.
The Right, meanwhile, was completely behind the CIA and the NSA…as long as the spooks seemed to be targeting phantom enemies overseas.
Now these security monsters — fat and sassy, and embedded with Obama-era careerists — may be undermining the US president, right here at home. The Right was appalled by Obamacare, too. But now they’ve got their own medical care nightmare.
Both Left and Right are getting what they deserve. (But so are we all…)
Ride, si sapis, said the Roman poet Martial. Laugh if you are wise.
Laugh at the whole public spectacle; you will understand it better.
The replacement program for Obamacare, the American Health Care Act, of which Trump said he was ‘proud’, looks as though it will not fulfil the president’s key campaign promises.
First, it will not provide universal coverage. Instead, the government’s number crunchers at the Congressional Budget Office (CBO) say that the share of insured Americans would nearly double under the plan — to 24 million uninsured by 2026.
Second, even some of those who have coverage will be much worse off financially. That wasn’t supposed to happen, either; Trump promised.
But the CBO included an example. A 64-year-old earning $26,500 a year would pay $1,700 a year, in 2026, for medical coverage under Obamacare. Under the Republican’s proposal, he’d pay $14,000.
We don’t know whether this is good or bad — true or false. Newt Gingrich says the CBO — meant to give bipartisan estimates of what proposed legislation will cost — should be abolished.
But this is the swamp, remember? All news is fake. All facts are made up. All statistics are phony. And all opinions, unless they are ours, are idiotic.
Getting away with murder
One thing we mentioned yesterday…
During the campaign, candidate Trump took aim at the elite insiders…including those on Wall Street. They were ‘getting away with murder,’ he claimed.
He was wrong about that. It was theft they were getting away with, not murder. But now he’s got five Goldman Sachs guys on his team; no handcuffs in sight.
On the campaign trail, candidate Trump also chided the military: ‘We never win,’ he said. ‘And we don’t fight to win,’ he complained.
He was right about that. But he misunderstood: They were getting away with murder. And they didn’t win wars.
But it wasn’t incompetence that made them not win; it was self-interest. If they won, the war would be over and the funding would stop. That would put an end to the whole scam.
But now, rather than cashiering the losing generals…and stopping the losing wars…Trump brought the losers into his administration, promised them more money, and continues bombing and bullying in unwinnable wars all over the world.
Here’s another funny thing that happened over the weekend, brought to our attention by our friend David Stockman.
Before he was elected, Mr Trump was a critic of federal statistics. The unemployment numbers, for example, he said were ‘phony’.
Right on the money. They are phony. Once you have them, you know less than you did before.
But now, thanks to the miraculous transubstantiation of the electoral process, the same fake numbers, prepared by the same people in the same fraudulent way and delivering up the same counterfeit news, are anointed as Truth.
White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer explained:
‘I talked to the president prior to this, and he said to quote him very clearly,’ Spicer said before quoting the president: ‘They may have been phony in the past, but they are very real now.’
Trump also warned investors that the stock market was ‘artificial’ and a ‘bubble’. Right again.
But don’t expect him to let it deflate naturally.
And here, we stick our necks out: Come the next crash, Team Trump will do all it can to keep this bubble pumped up.
And there you have the epitaph for the coming four or eight years: He came. He saw. He kept right on pumping.
Long-time Diary sufferers know that we take a fatalistic view of history.
Things happen. It doesn’t matter what you think. People play the role history gives them…and think what they have to think to get the job done.
Generally, there are patterns in history. Usually, they are visible only after the fact. But sometimes, you can catch a glimpse of them, if you squint and use your imagination.
Mr Obama is a different man from Mr George W Bush. But the direction of the country remained almost unchanged over the entire 16 years of their White House terms.
And now…Mr Trump — despite all the sound and fury — has a role to play, too.
The Goldman team, the generals, the phony statistics… They fit a pattern.
The US is an empire. And all empires follow the same course, more or less.
They are like bubbles in the markets and foolish love affairs: They get hot. They expand. And then they pop. Investors, lovers, and soldiers all play their parts.
And then, somehow, the bubbles always find the sharp objects they need.
The Clintons quietly built up the power of the government. After the fall of the Soviet Union, America should have enjoyed a ‘peace dividend’ since it didn’t need to spend so much on its military. Instead, military spending went up.
And then, George W Bush set the empire on course for bankruptcy. His War on Terror has already cost $6 trillion, while increasing the reach of the terrorists.
And now, along comes Donald J Trump, who appears to be just the man the empire needs — to finish the destruction.
Let’s see… If the US empire wanted to destroy itself, what would it do?
Simple. It would continue the work of Clinton, Bush, and Obama. It would pump up military spending…and increase entitlements, too.
More wars. More debt. And more misleading phony interest rates…phony statistics…and fake money.
And…oh, yes…it would gratuitously make more enemies abroad…smother trade…and create an atmosphere of disgust, distrust, and uncertainty at home.
That ought to do it!
For Markets & Money, Australia