Muttrox is not a fan of Trump. He’s a singularly awful President and person, in a multitude of ways. And yet, that doesn’t mean that everything he does is wrong. In the spirit of even-handedness and checking my own thinking, here is a list of some good things from the Trump administration.
Please add on. Please tell me there is more than this pathetic enumerations of “Well, at least he didn’t…”
- Mueller investigation: He hasn’t made any serious moves to fire Mueller. For all the hysteria and constant articles about “laying the groundwork”, he hasn’t taken any real actions to stop or slow the investigation. Trump genuinely believes he is innocent, he will be cleared, and the whole thing is ridiculous. It’s a low bar to keep from openly obstructing justice in the same way that led to Nixon’s resignation, but it’s something.
- The Space Force: It’s a silly sounding name, but it’s a good idea.
- China: Calling them out for their rampant intellectual theft. It’s easy to forget this was one of the stated reasons for the tariffs. And he’s right, China has gotten away with it for too long. I’m not in favor of the tariffs, but I don’t think it’s as bad as some say, and there are benefits to bring the topic into the open. The problem with rational cost/benefit calculus (a la Obama administration) is that it incents the other party to be bad – just not bad enough to blow up the whole relationship. Trump changes that calculus for China.
- Lowering the corporate tax rate: I don’t know a lot about this. Then I heard a podcast of Freakonmics where four Chairmen of the Council of Economic Advisors to the President (under Bush I, Obama, and Trump) all agreed it should be lowered. I defer to their expertise. Now it was done in an awful way (not paying for it, blowing up the deficit), but on its own it’s a good thing.
- Increasing the standard deduction is a winner also.
- Conslidating / re-arranging the cabinets: This is a hard one, because you can’t assume a good faith effort to make the government more effective. You have to assume the re-org is being done as a step to keep government crippled, at least the parts that help the poor. Nonetheless, on its own, it’s a good thing to move some of the cabinet functions around. A Department of Welfare (with a better name) could be more effective than having the various pieces scattered all around.
- Calling out Congress on immigration: I only wish Trump was even more vocal about this. You want to know why immigration is a mess? Because of Congress. At any point, they could straighten this out with a deal that all parties can live with. The votes are there and have been for over a decade. Political dysfunction keeps it from happening. More recently, Congress mandated Obama do something aggressive about the illegal immigrations, but didn’t really fund it. So Obama did the best he could with the dollars he was given, and prioritized dangerous immigrants over harmless ones. Then the GOP freaked out about Obama subverting the Constitution and such. Trump has the same dilemma. You can’t haver zero tolerance without paying for it, and he doesn’t have the money. Same with the DREAMers, Congress could pass a bill tomorrow that would be okay with most of the country, but political dysfunction keeps it from happening. (Political dysfunction mostly refers to the Hasert rule, a proundly counter-productive un-democratic partisan strategy. I have a whole other rant about that.)
- North Korea: Yeah, he got snookered a little at the summit and gave away a decent amount for literally nothing. But just like every president before him, Trump was faced with a lot of losing hands and ended up doing the same thing the other presidents did – stall for time. Could have been worse.
- Not wrecking the economy: It’s a low bar, but he cleared it. He was handed a fantastic economy. Sure, he signed on to the tax bill that blows up the deficit, sure he’s launching us into a trade war (that he’ll have to back down from) for no good reason, and welched on a bunch on international agreements, but um… what was my point? Oh yeah, it could be worse.
- Privatizing the Post Office: It is no longer a vital function. Every citizen has plenty of ways to communicate with and send/receive physical packages from the rest of the world without relying on government. Of course, he can’t do it because of this little thing called The US Constitution (Article I, Section 8, Clause 7), but it’s a nice thought.
Not a very impressive list. Best I could do.