So a few thoughts.
2. It is largely but perhaps not entirely irrelevant that — at least as of this writing/counting — Hillary got more votes than Trump, just as Gore got more votes than Bush. Bush is widely seen to have done more damage to America than any president in history; Trump clearly has the potential to leave Bush in the dust on that score. But —
3. He could surprise on the upside, and — having inherited the happy gene, and wishing the best for our country and world — I sure hope he does.
Most of the things he promised will be impossible for him to deliver — even with a Republican Congress. And some, of course — like deporting 11 million undocumented aliens — we hope he will quietly abandon.
But some other things one can imagine his doing:
- Put millions to work at good jobs revitalizing the national infrastructure. This is something we should have been doing for the last 30 years: just a tad more public consumption each year and a tad less personal consumption (but that would have required of the best-off a little more in taxes to fund it, so Republicans blocked it). Now we must do it in earnest. The Republican Congress blocked President Obama’s American Jobs Act because it was his, but might well approve something very like it coming from Trump. This would be great for the country and the economy.
- Negotiate prescription drug prices. It would be nuts to repeal Obamacare; and they have no clue what to replace it with. But perhaps they can find some face-saving way to transition to something that fixes its admitted flaws and call it Trump-care . . . with special emphasis on allowing Medicare/Medicaid to negotiate lower prescription drug prices. Not so low as to stifle research and innovation, but at least somewhat more closely in line with what other first-world nations pay.
- Allow refinancing of federal student loans. Why on earth not? And if you’re looking for a way to pay for it, maybe forgo the $4 billion estate-tax break Trump is planning for his kids (if he’s really worth $10 billion), and billions more to the kids of other alleged billionaires?
- Repatriate profits. There is a deal to be made here, as there is in closing loopholes to cut tax rates — it would be so tragic to cut tax rates in a way that’s not revenue neutral: taxes are required to rebuild our infrastructure; taxes are required to fund the social safety net; we’ve tried super-low tax rates on the best-off. The huge real world experiment has proven conclusively it benefits only the best-off.
- Appoint really good people. Carl Icahn is not, in my view, a really good person. Giuliani and Christie are not really good people. Nor Corey Lewandowski and Paul Manafort — or the late Roy Cohn — or the all too present Breitbart News executive Steve Bannon. But the President-Elect knows lots of really good people; perhaps some of them, if asked, will be willing to serve.
4. I was spectacularly wrong about the reaction of the financial markets to Trump’s election — as I was about the impossibility its happening in the first place. The Dow is up as I write this. Let’s hope I prove equally wrong about what a deeply — deeply — unfortunate choice I believe the electorate made yesterday.
Quote of the Day
SOCIAL SECURITY: The very first check, for $22.54, was paid in 1940 to a Vermont woman who had paid $22 in Social Security taxes. By the time she died, in 1974, aged 100, she had collected $20,944.42.~.
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