Yesterday was ‘Rare Disease Day’.
No kidding. That’s what President Trump said last night in his big speech to Congress.
It was an extraordinary show.
Nation of miracles
‘Our children will grow up in a nation of miracles,’ he said.
He went on to say that we needed more education. More military spending. More holidays for moms and pops. More welfare. And more warfare, too.
There was practically nothing that the US government couldn’t do, ‘The Donald’ implied.
‘Every American child should be able to grow up in a safe community,’ he said.
It was ‘presidential,’ said the commentators.
‘Imagine the wonders our country could know in America’s 250th year…’
‘The time for small thinking is over…’
‘Everything that is broken in our country can be fixed…’
‘I am asking all citizens to embrace this renewal of the American spirit…’
Yes, there was no cliché left behind. But it was presidential in another sense. It confirmed our guess that this president will do what every president has done for the last half century: He will add to the swamp, not drain it.
‘I am sending the Congress a budget that rebuilds the military…and calls for one of the largest increases in national defence spending in American history.’
Now we know.
Not the future, of course. We don’t get a chance to peek at the next chapter or turn the pages to see how the story ends.
It goes on…day by day…page by page; there is no way to know where it will end or how it will get there.
But at least we now know more about what Mr Donald J Trump is up to. One wild card has been taken out of the deck. Plenty more remain.
Off the table is the idea of a power struggle between the Deep State and Team Trump.
The only way to get control of the Deep State is to squeeze its funding. And the only way to do that would be by mounting a serious attack on two fronts…
The fake-money system would need to be reformed, cutting off the flow of almost unlimited credit to the cronies. And the federal budget would have to be whacked…reducing outlays for entitlements and the military.
From what we know now, none of those things will happen.
The president seems content to enjoy the public spectacle — with himself in the centre of the ring — without making any substantial changes to the system.
This is neither bad news nor good news. But it is important.
It is not bad news because there is little likelihood that even a serious, thoughtful president could bring the Deep State under control.
It is not good news because it means we are essentially going in the same direction…with the same win-lose deals. (Although some of the old winners will be replaced by new winners.)
Columnist Charles Krauthammer makes this observation about Trump’s warfare group:
‘Practically every member of the team — the heads of State, Homeland Security, the CIA, and most especially Defense Secretary James Mattis and National Security Adviser H.R. McMaster — could fit in a cabinet put together by, say, Hillary Clinton.’
Meanwhile, the economy is barely growing…just as it barely grew under President Obama.
Last year, US GDP growth per capita — a better measure than overall GDP because it accounts for shifts in the population — was only about 0.5%.
And, of course, we are still facing the twin spectres: a bear market on Wall Street and a recession on Main Street. Both overdue…and both likely to show up in 2017.
These threats and the feds’ reaction to them — not tax cuts…not the federal budget…not the war on ISIS…not the debt ceiling…not the wall or the dollar — will likely be the big news in 2017.
If this administration were serious about changing the Deep State/fake-money system, it would have announced cutbacks…not increases.
It would have removed Janet Yellen from the Fed…brought the troops home…and encouraged (since it doesn’t have direct control over the Fed) a return to sound money and market-set prices — especially the price of credit (interest rates).
It would have brought the corrections forward and accepted a bear market and a recession with grace…urging calm, forbearance, and self-discipline.
It would explain to the American people that mistakes were made by previous administrations.
It would ask for cooperation and patience…giving the markets a chance to correct the errors of the past…so that the economy could rebuild on a more solid foundation.
This could not have happened under a Hillary Clinton or Jeb Bush administration.
They were completely enthralled by the Establishment and its crony system.
But it might have been possible under a Trump administration. He might have told the truth about the War on Terror, for example — that it is really a con game designed to enhance the power and wealth of the military-security-prison complex.
He might have told voters that our welfare state is unaffordable…and that it, too, benefits cronies and zombies, leaving the typical responsible citizen to pay as much as 10 times what he should for mediocre medical care.
President Trump might have been a real hero, rallying the country to force serious reforms and bring the Deep State under control.
Too bad he didn’t go in that direction.
For Markets and Money, Australia