Saturday, November 12, 2016

Transition Team and Other Matters

Things perhaps don't bode well for those who thought that Donald Trump's considerable wealth would insulate him from the traditional corruption of Washington.  Rather than "draining the swamp" it appears that President-elect Trump may be quite comfortable wading in the swamp.

It appears as though fossil fuels are set to make a comeback, and wind and solar are going to be on the ropes.  This is likely to mean continued cheap oil prices for the foreseeable future, and also a globally depressed economy.

Of course, Donald Trump has a $1 trillion infrastructure plan. $1 trillion which is a considerable number and could potentially offset losses from a globally depressed economy, but it relies entirely on private financing, so it is unlikely to actually work.  The crux of the potential problem with Trump's infrastructure plan is that if one is unlikely to earn a profit from investing in routine infrastructure upgrades, one will likely not invest in infrastructure upgrades.  All the tax credits in the world won't make a difference: no potential profit, no reason to invest. 

For what it's worth, President-elect Trump also states that this plan would be revenue neutral, which sounds great if you're concerned about excessive government spending.  Michael Sargeant of the conservative Heritage Foundation has said of the infrastructure plan, “It’s unclear exactly what [Mr. Trump] has in mind for his infrastructure tax credit ... He says they’re deficit neutral, but I’m not sure how exactly they could pay for themselves.”

To the extent Donald Trump cares about winning re-election in 2020, he will do his utmost to make sure his infrastructure plans keep Americans with industrial jobs employed

If you wish to peruse it, here's a speculative look at Donald Trump's cabinet to be.  Those who would like to see an aggressive Attorney General who will not hesitate to target and attack his enemies should be happy to see Chris Christie, a man whose career was recently left for dead, on the list.

Those who are concerned about internal threats from communists and other enemies of the country will be happy to see Newt Gingrich considered for Secretary of State - although shouldn't he be placed in a position to oversee domestic policy?

For the time being I'm going to hold off on detailed examination of any of these persons, but once cabinet members become official I'll delve into greater detail.

Over in the disarray of the defeated Democratic Party, it appears the Bernie Bros are making a good effort to take over the organization.  Though the battle for party control is about much more than the figures at the top, symbolically, it appears progressives may be rallying around Keith Ellison.  Chuck Schumer, hardly a beloved figure amongst progressives, but a rather canny politician, has given Ellison his blessing.  The opposition to Ellison for now seems to centered on Howard Dean, which seems like an odd choice in many ways.

Swastikas, chanting and actual attacks appear to be on the rise, or perhaps the mainstream media is just "over-reporting" these incidents.  Donald Trump was very gracious in his meeting with Barack Obama, so certainly the passions of the moment will die down soon and the isolated incidents of today will not amount to something larger in the end.  Right?

(Supporters of Trump will, of course, claim that any historic parallels that enemies of Trump might draw are overblown nonsense. That's quite possible.  Other historic parallels may be more apropos.)

One large question looming amongst both supporters and detractors of Donald Trump is: how much of what he said on the campaign trail was a bunch of hoo-hah, and how much of it did he really mean?  Certainly, the reliance on traditional lobbyists to guide his transition team appears to belie his words concerning being his own man, "drain the swamp" and so forth.  On the other hand, this article is well worth reading, and suggests that much of his agenda will in fact go forward.

Tomorrow, barring unexpected developments, I will take a look at the reactions of China, Russia and others to the Trump victory.  For now, let me sign off with a reminder that whether or not global climate change is in fact caused by man or is simply happening on its own, Greenland is melting.  And as always, read your Dean Baker.

No comments:

Post a Comment