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Wednesday, March 1, 2017

Trump's speech

Trump's address to Congress certainly got a good reception. The NY Post, not unexpectedly, gave it rave reviews, and even the NY Times headline said that he "softened his tone" a bit. (Which, for them, constitutes a rave review.)

The stock market has certainly greeted it enthusiastically, with the Dow currently up approximately up 280 points on the day as of this writing. For a long time the financial press was talking about the possibility of the Dow passing the 20,000 milestone, and a few weeks later we've already passed the 21,000 mark, another milestone.

It must be frustrating for the Democrats to see how enthusiastically the market has greeted Trump's Presidency. The current rally dates from exactly November 9th, the day after the election. The vast majority of prominent money managers who are Democrats have spoken of how Trump would bring economic disaster, and most have voiced corresponding market views.

The market, however, hasn't cooperated.

It was good to see Nancy Pelosi and some of the other Democratic women in the chamber appropriately dressed in "suffragette white." (You do know that Trump plans to take the vote away from women, don't you?)

Okay, now for the speech itself. First, the good stuff:

The Obama administration always seemed to regard police as the enemy, so a shift in tone there was long overdue.

And let's hope that the administration's replacement for Obamacare works out. That program was a disaster for most people who weren't on Medicaid, and certainly allowing interstate competition is a good idea. But only time will tell if Trump can bring down medical costs for the average family; so far no President has been able to do that.

Last night was the first mention of a "merit-based" as opposed to "family-based" immigration program. That sounds like a good idea; after all, a country is no more than the sum of its people. The concept of America as a big dumping ground for misfits who've managed to screw up their own countries has always seemed self-defeating.

Now, the bad stuff:

While tightening immigrations is a sensible idea, the VOICE program seems a little strained (like its acronym, which stands for Victims Of Immigration Crime Engagement). The fact that some immigrants commit crime, including violent crime, is a factor which should be weighed when considering immigration policy overall, but VOICE seems to create a special class of victims, just as "hate crimes" statues do. Aren't regular laws good enough in both cases?

("Victims Of Illegal Chicano Evil-doers" would have been more straightforward.)

It also seemed that Trump went a little overboard with bringing in special visitors to the gallery. This is a long standing Presidential tradition meant to humanize a sitting President's programs. But it's always seemed a cheap way to gain support. It's almost as if the President is portraying his political opponents as people who would root against the unfortunate person in the gallery. ("Go ahead, I dare you to jeer that poor girl in the wheelchair, or the widow of that Navy SEAL.")

Obama did this more than any previous President, but even he never brought in four different sets of people for a single speech.

But it was still enlightening to see Nancy Pelosi and a few others refuse to stand and cheer for the Navy SEAL widow. (It almost made me admire Pelosi; it takes a certain courage to root against mom and apple pie.)

Anyway, I support most of Trump's policies, so it was good to see him get a chance to speak directly to the public without the media interpreting his words for the rest of us and telling us what to think.

Update, same day: turns out the initial reports may be wrong, and there's some question as to whether Pelosi (and Debbie Wasserman Schultz and Keith Ellison) stood and clapped or not. It may be that they stood and clapped for the first, but not the second round of cheering.


High Arka said...

Cynical perspective: they tanked the market after Brexit; they would've tanked it after Trump if they'd wanted to. Anyway, the cheese is tasting pretty great; I'm sure things are going to turn out fine.

John Craig said...

High Arka --
Who are "they," all the hedge funds combined? I'm not sure they're able to act with such cohesion, especially given that the market zoomed right back after the initial reaction to Brexit. Certain groups - like, say, the IDF, AIPAC, the SPLC, and the JDL -- may all have similar goals and may act in rough synchrony; but most of the major hedge fund managers want to see each other fail.

Also, sorry, but sometimes your metaphors escape me: "the cheese tastes great?" As in, I have too naive a view of Trump's (true hidden) agenda? So, cheese, as in, Kool-Aid?

High Arka said...

Mousetrap analogy, and as for "they," it's whoever tanked, then renewed, the markets after Brexit. The teevee encourages us to believe that some kind of accurate consumer confidence & honest corporate reporting of revenue predictions are responsible for changes in "the market," which is a rather shallow and obvious lie. Clearly, these prices are set by something simpler and more malleable than what all potential stock traders are actually feeling at any given point in time. But that's a non-mainstream viewpoint, and you should probably disregard it. :)

As a sidelong note, I'm listening to a Schwab podcast right now talking about how "the market" is reacting to something Target did, which makes this all hilarious in context. Returning to you, John.

John Craig said...

High Arka --
I'm going to contradict what I said in my last reply to you, but I've always thought it possible that all it would take would be a couple of the larger hedge funds to collude and sell their positions, raise cash, and then attack the ETF's, driving the market down. With those exchange traded funds it's not hard to get a tail wagging the dog effect.

I'm starting to think you worked in the financial markets at one point.

Mark Caplan said...

The British stock market took off like gangbusters after Brexit. The pound, though, dipped and hasn't come back. Go to StockCharts. In the searchbox enter $FTSE or $GBPUSD.

John Craig said...

Mark --
True enough. When I was there in 2013 the pound was exactly $1.50. Now it's around $1.24.

Anonymous said...

I have a politically calculating view of two things you objected to:
- the special visitors: I’m sure they’ve done the polling, studied it in depth and found that the special visitors are a political winner. I say to Trump – go out and win. Bring as many special visitors as you believe will maximize the political clout; back off when people are sick of it (which will be proven by future polls).
- VOICE: I look at this as the rebuttal to the Democrat party, RINO party, and MSM story that immigrants are such nice people, they are your neighbors, we love them, how could we be so cruel as to deport them? Trump has the alternate media and his pulpit as President to shine the light on the dark side to illegal immigration, and the people need to hear it front and center to continuously rebut the ‘they’re all great people’ myth.


John Craig said...

Ed --
I actually agree with you, I hope Trump uses every method at his disposal to win. I've just always objected to that method because it's so transparently manipulative. But, I agree with virtually all of his political stances, so......

As far as VOICE, yes, it is a rebuttal to the people who favor immigration. But I don't like the idea of creating a special class of victims, which is why I was against all those ridiculous "hate crimes" bills. I am in favor of keeping statistics on immigrants who commit crimes, and what the cost to society is. But helping their victims, as opposed to helping other victims of violent crime, no. They should all be helped equally.

Runner Katy said...

Thank you for standing firm and true to your thoughts all along, and for opening my eyes to Trump and his plans. I wasn’t really much of a fan of his, during the initial part of the election, but as a Republican, there was NO WAY I was voting for Hilary. The more I watch Trump and the more I read about him, the more I like him. I’m now a fan. Thanks again for all that you do!

John Craig said...

Runner Katy --
Thank you.

Trump isn't nearly -- NEARLY -- as bad as the media makes him out to be, though he is a narcissistic blowhard. Still, he's right on all the issues, so I support him.