‘The handwriting is on the wall’ for Trump’s presidency
- Trump has always over-promised and under-delivered.
- His signature initiatives are either delayed or dead on arrival.
- The Trump presidency, in its early days, is already looking like a failed effort.
A review of Donald Trump’s business career would lead one to say that he has always over-promised and under-delivered. Whether his long list of bankruptcies in the ever-profitable casino business, the failures of his “university,’ steak, vodka or clothing lines, there has been a history of putting himself first, while ignoring the needs of his constituents.
We may be seeing that play out in his approach to government, as well. As in business, Trump has a constituency of one … himself … just ask his stock and bond investors, his suppliers, contractors, laborers, or even his customers. Unlike Trump, they rarely, if ever, participated in the “upside” of Trump-branded products.
So, too, is this happening in the early days of the Trump presidency. His executive orders notwithstanding, the folks who voted for President Trump, thus far, have nothing to show for it. Indeed, it is quite early to make a claim that Trump has failed his constituents entirely, but the handwriting may be on the wall.
His signature initiatives, populist in nature, be it “The Wall,” the travel ban, the enactment of the American Health Care Act, or possibly even tax reform, are either delayed or dead on arrival.
In strict economic terms, some of his signature legislative goals, while keeping his campaign promises, would no doubt hurt the very people he proclaimed to help.
Enactment of the AHCA would have cost 14 million people insurance coverage. The president is now doubling down on an AHCA revival, which is needed to cut Medicaid by nearly $1 trillion, those budget savings deemed necessary to fund comprehensive tax reform.
The president’s “Buy American, Hire American” initiative is the type of overhyped product he has sold in the past, promising great rewards to American workers despite the fact that it is unlikely to create more jobs, or bolster the lot of the truly economically disenfranchised.
There is precious little empirical data that immigration, for either high or low-skilled workers, harms “native” American workers. This ill-conceived complaint has been leveled at immigrants since the Irish were disembarking their boats in the 1840s.
Dispossessed Americans are hoping that the president’s anti-immigration, anti-globalization and anti-trade liberalization orders will bring back jobs that have largely been lost to innovation and automation. It’s simply a big promise that can’t be kept.
“His own “special” interest, the family business, is benefiting from his presidency, as his trust is held in his name, his son, Eric, plans to brief him quarterly on Trump deals, while daughter Ivanka gains trademarks in China after sitting next to China’s president Xi at a recent State gathering.”
The President is also claiming that he created 600,000 jobs since his time in office began. No doubt, he can take credit for a stock market rally and consumer confidence jumping on hopes that his business friendly agenda would pass, but that has yet to translate into actual job creation.
He promised to remove special interests from government, drain the swamp, increase transparency and close the revolving door between government officials and lobbying.
His own “special” interest, the family business, is benefiting from his presidency, as his trust is held in his name, his son, Eric, plans to brief him quarterly on Trump deals, while daughter Ivanka gains trademarks in China after sitting next to China’s president Xi at a recent State gathering.
President Trump’s re-election campaign and joint party committees have directed $500,000 in campaign funds to Trump companies since Trump ascended to the White House, amid myriad other reported violations of the Emoluments Clause of the Constitution.
Again, a constituency of one benefits for none.
Even on the military front, the president has talked loudly but carried a tiny stick. His understandable response to the Syrian gas attack, left the Syrian airbase intact but destroyed a mosque.
His “armada” sent to the Sea of Japan to threaten North Korea was heading 3,000 miles in the opposite direction, although no one in the White House bothered to correct the record until recently.
It was a bluff … something even a failed casino owner knows something about. The problem is if you bluff and lose … you can’t bluff again.
It’s about the show. It’s about theatrics. It’s about gilding the lily.
The Trump presidency, in its early days, is already looking like a failed effort, one that uses gold paint to cover bronze trim.
It may also be used to make Trump rich again, even if it fails to make America great again.
Commentary by Ron Insana, a CNBC and MSNBC contributor and the author of four books on Wall Street. Follow him on Twitter @rinsana.
For more insight from CNBC contributors, follow @CNBCopinion on Twitter.
With attribution and reprinted here under Fair Use Doctrine for education and comment