Understating Trump’s “Achievements”

Understating Trump’s “Achievements”

I regularly hear and see on media and the internet that Trump “has accomplished nothing in six months” or variations on that, with some of these remarks focusing more on his legislative agenda, with discussions about whether it is “dead” or not here after only six months, which is either a very long time or a very short time.   I think this rhetoric is both unwise and inaccurate. It is unwise because it suggests that we want his agenda to be passed, to the extent we know what it is (specifics for large parts of it are missing). Such talk simply encourages the Trujmpisti to push harder to pass all their awful plans.  Thus we should be glad that Obamacare is still in place and not encourage the bums to continue to try to replace it with one of  their half-baked plans that will throw lots of people off their  health  insurance.

As for inaccuracy, while it is true that a lot of big ticket items on the legislative agenda remain stalled, notably in the areas of health care, tax “reform,” financial sector “reform,” and infrastructure, in fact Trump has done much damage with his executive actions, mostly involving undoing Obama regulatory actions, quite aside from getting Neil Gorsuch on the SCOTUS, which is very important and has already led the SCOTUS to partially support his awful Muslim ban.  In any case, while withdrawing from the Paris climate accord is mostly symbolic, he and his underlings have made many moves in the environmental area, none of them good, making it easier for companies to pollute and redirecting research towards fossil fuels and much more. His moves in the immigration area have been awful, although Obama did a lot more deporting than we remember. Nevertheless, although supposedly he was going to focus on deporting criminals, the focus of Obama, he is deporting any illegal immigrant he can get his hands on, and the implementer of his draconian immigration policy is now his chief of  staff.  Prison reform is out the window for now, even though this was an area where liberals and conservatives have agreed in recent years something should be done.  His cutting back on public parks and monuments and the crazy stuff coming out of his education dept, well,the list goes on.

The economy has continued to improve on many fronts, and Trump has loudly bragged about and taken credit for this.  But this is clearly just an extension of  what was going on for some time under Obama, with indeed Trump’s failure to implement much of his supposed economic agenda from trade to fiscal policy changes leaving the Obama policies in place.

Trump supporters are now pointing to the end of ISIS control in Mosul as a foreign policy success for Trump.  Needless to say this looks like the economic policy debate, with the military strategy that ended up with the victory in Mosul having been put in place by Obama and barely changed by Trump.  I guess we can credit him with not messing that one up.

OTOH, most of the rest of his foreign policy is an embarrassment, a joke, or just a plain disaster. Popularity of the US has collapsed around the world.  While his visit to France did not lead to any obvious mess there, his visit to the Middle East led to the disastrous Saudi-led embargo against Qatar, and his visit to Poland led to the government implementing a plan to end the independence of the judiciary.  No wonder the British do not want him calling on them.  However, it must be admitted that in a few areas things are not as bad as they might be because somebody convinced him not to follow through on campaign promises, including to start massive trade wars with Mexico and China, although he seems to be moving towards something along those lines, and very importantly maintaining the nuclear accord with Iran, although all reports have him very unhappy that he has had to certify that those darned Iranians have been keeping their side of  the bargain.  He really would like to sanction them even harder and who knows what.

And as for US relations with Russia and policy towards it, well, probably the less said the better.

In any case, let us not encourage him and his followers to “be successful” by “achieving his agenda.”  The less of it achieved, the better off we shall be.

Barkley Rosser