Saturday, January 21, 2017

The Speech.

I walked into the house like I do most days around noon to fix my lunch. Into this empty house I spoke the words, "Alexa, play WRVA." I haven't yet gotten over the strangeness of speaking out loud to an electronic device. It makes me feel weird and a bit lazy. But nonetheless, it is what it is. Alexa obeyed and the first words I heard were Donald Trump's so help me God. WRVA was carrying the Inauguration live. As I warmed up my soup on the stove, I listened. By the time I finished my soup, it was over. 16 minutes, brevity being the soul of the halfwit.

Actually, I'll give him credit for giving a short speech, since such a thing is rare among the political class who never seem to tire of the sound of their own voices. I'll also give him credit for only referring to himself a couple of times, a clear departure from the annoying habit of his predecessor. But the substance of the speech was essentially a few undeniable truths surrounded by a dump truck full of bullshit.

 He's right when he says that Washington has enriched itself at the expense of the rest of the nation. But many of the most egregious enrichers were on the podium behind him, many of whom have their home in the Republican Party. When he talked about the wealth of the middle class being stolen from them and redistributed all around the world, he left the clear impression that world trade is a zero sum game, if other countries get rich it must mean that we are getting poorer. What he conveniently left out was any reference to the thousands of American enterprises and thus American workers who have been enriched by free trade.

Although I must confess I found it refreshing to hear an American President publicly proclaim that he will always put American interest first, his throw away line about his two simple rules...Buy American and Hire American, amount to protectionism, an economic philosophy shot through with failure, about which the historical record is crystal clear. Listen, I'm all for buying American products first IF the product in question happens to be the best. I'm all for hiring American workers IF they are the most qualified. But I'm not interested in subsidizing inferior products for the sake of saving some overpaid union hack's job.

He talked about the need to rebuild our depleted military and I thought, what the heck is he talking about? Our military is the most powerful on the face of the earth. Don't believe me? Ask any American general! Sure, they always want more weapons, more troops etc.. but where is this hollowed out military he was referring too??

For much of his speech he sounded like a big government Democrat. Our crumbling infrastructure was going to become the beneficiary of another huge tax-payer funded stimulus program, which means, a bribery and malfeasance-laden cash infusion to his favorite construction companies which will waste a couple more trillion dollars. When his predecessor proposed his stimulus package, Republicans were aghast at the price tag and warned of the effect it would have on the national debt. So far...crickets. At least Trump didn't promise shovel-ready jobs.

My takeaway is this. Trump is a Statist. Only, his variety of statism is more Nationalist and Populist, less Socialist and Collectivist. But the bottom line will be the same. Despite his rhetoric about returning power to the people, Trump will turn over to his successor, a more powerful, more indebted government than he has inherited.

He packed a whole lot of promises into his 16 minutes. The absence of flowering language didn't leave him much room to wiggle. He laid out what he intends to do in clear, plain language. So it will be easy to determine how successful he is at delivering on his promises. It will also be easy to rip him if he doesn't deliver. Good luck, America.