By Fred Reed
All right, we have him. My reaction to Trump’s victory is barely of interest to me, and so it may be that the world is not waiting in quiet desperation for an account. I have no information on this matter from Ulan Bator or Sulawesi. Insofar as my reaction was that of half of the country, it may be of note.
My reaction was, “Yes! Yes! Yessss!”
This of course is because like all of Trump’s supporters I am sick of corruption, oligarchs, New York, candidates who sell state favors surrounded by serial rapists and goofy-looking pedophiles, and the goddamned bought-and-paid-for media.
And then I wondered how much I should be delighted. I am not a particularly enthusiastic Trump fan. The man seems radically incoherent, almost nutty. What now? Of the things Trump has promised, which, if any, make sense? Which are unthought-out huff and puff? From what will he back away? Will he transmute himself by degrees into Hillary?
For example, his Wall. As a metaphorical expression of opposition to immigration, it serves well. As a practical project? No. What are the specifics? A Wall made of what? How high, how deep under ground, requiring how much of what materials? Do the arithmetic on yards of concrete and feet of rebar and then pour yourself a stiff drink. Flimsy is cuttable, tall requires only a taller ladder.
Electronic monitoring sounds good, but would require either use of the military as a domestic police force to patrol the Wall–hello, Guatemala–or a huge new federal bureaucracy working three shifts, often housed in barracks in uninhabited country. Helicopters, sensors, big contracts for the same.
Things that would actually work to discourage illegals, such as heavy prosecution of people hiring illegals, this by using federal laws already on the books and a Justice Department he will control, do not feature greatly in his talk. Uh…why not?
He wants to put a thirty percent (or whatever: he isn’t consistent) tariff on goods made by American companies in China and brought back for sale in the US. So an iPad goes from $1000 to $1300, whereupon Samsung corners the market. So he puts an equal tariff on Samsung’s tablets. The effect is of a heavy tax on the American consumer.
The underlying problem is that if labor is a dollar an hour in Bangladesh, and $40 an hour in America after including benefits, bringing jobs back to America is going to make things much more expensive for Americans. Breaking unions, which are irrelevant today anyway, or charges of currency manipulation will not make enough of a difference to make a difference.
Trump has said that he will rid the country of illegals, of whom there are between ten and fifteen million, in eighteen months to two years. Anyone want to make bets on this? He seems to have backed off, as he seems to back from many things that got him elected.
He wants to end welfare for illegals. This would have the desired effect on unemployed illegals, but a lot of welfare comes from states, no? Does he have the authority?
He has talked of removing citizenship from children of illegals. If he does this by executive order, he will establish a new Presidential power to revoke citizenship of anyone he pleases. Otherwise the question will assuredly go to a hostile Supreme Court. Can he make a state stop offering schooling to children of his choice?
And of course ending benefits for children of illegals will result in night after night of television of poor little Rosita Gomez, aged eight, being dragged in tears and perhaps handcuffs from second grade by brutal federal marshals when all she wants to to learn English and be a good American, etc. Will California buy into this? Will the country?
He has talked of getting American troops out of Japan and South Korea on grounds that those countries can pay for their own defense if they want it. Good idea. However, it would mean the end of the American Empire in Asia. This would fly like space ships with the public–who really gives a damn about the Empire?–but would face squalling, roaring opposition from NATO, the Neocons, the arms industry, imperialists. and the international welfare clients–countries benefiting from free American stuff.
(For the rest of his article, click the link.)