The Trump Economy
The numbers don't lie, the Trump economy is the best in years.
At the end of Trump's first year in office the economy has seen three percent growth for three successive quarters, which we haven't seen for 13 years. The Dow hit 25,000 which we've never seen before. Wages and employment are rising, most significantly at the bottom end of the income distribution and most concentrated in the red state heartland.
Moreover the confidence of small businesses as measured by the National Federation of Independent Businesses, is the highest it's been since they started doing the survey 45 years ago!
There has predictably been a lot of grumbling.
'This is Obama's policies finally kicking in.'
After eight years of assuring us that two percent growth is the new normal.
'Almost a quarter-million employees have been notified of plant closings and layoffs!'
That may be true " but so what?
Sorry, that sounds callous for those going through job loss, but the fact is when the economy is expanding and employment increasing, layoffs in certain sectors means the economy is changing, not static. The slack will be taken up in new more dynamic sectors and Americans will do what we always have; move somewhere else, learn new skills, and get a new job.
So why has this happened and what does it mean?
Because a great many of the Wise and Wonderful on both right and left predicted gloom, doom, and disaster.
In the past when we've seen the economy improve with a new and more business-friendly administration there has usually been a year's lead time before we've seen improvement, but this has been immediate.
Some have proposed the first effects were largely psychological, and there is something to this. The Democratic Party is more than ever before dominated at the national level by hard leftists ferociously hostile towards free enterprise.
A change to an even tepidly pro-capitalist administration is like a shot of espresso to the economy.
And this change has been more than token. Trump promised to remove two business regulations for every one passed. At last count 22 regulations have been removed for every one imposed.
It's not just that the regulatory burden on business is difficult and expensive, we could live with that. It's that it's so complex it's nearly impossible to understand.
Want to start a business or move yours into a new market? If you don't have lots of lawyers and accountants on your payroll to navigate the regs " good luck! Complex regulations and tax laws favor big business over the little guys, and that's how the big guys like it.
And thennnn there's the hot button issue, climate change.
Whatever your opinion of climate change, the fact is the proposals for addressing it these days consist almost entirely of political theater. The least burdensome proposals cripple the economy and accomplish nothing. The most radical proposals amount to dismantling industrial civilization resulting in impoverishment and mass starvation.
If we are going to find alternatives to fossil fuels the only thing that can accomplish this is a rich and dynamic economy that can support the research, development, and large-scale implementation of new technologies.
That's a job for businessmen and engineers, not bureaucrats.
Probably the biggest thing the Trump administration has done is to remove a lot of the uncertainty of doing business. A thriving economy can stand a lot of stupid regulation, if they are consistent from day to day.
What it can't stand is the uncertainty of a business environment where regulations are imposed capriciously by a chief executive who overturns settled law to pick winners and losers, and decides who has to obey and who gets special exemptions.
And I must say I did not see this coming. Trump seemed like the archtypical crony capitalist, leveraging political influence for his own advantage, even to the point of trying to use eminent domain for private projects.
It never occurred to me that a player skilled in that game could still realize it is horribly bad for the economy, and once in power act on that knowledge. And if you'd told me, I wouldn't have believed you.
What a pleasant surprise!