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  • The Trump Era

    America’s new president - The Trump era
    His victory threatens old certainties about America and its role in the world. What will take their place?
    Nov 12th 2016 THE ECONOMIST

    THE fall of the Berlin Wall, on November 9th 1989, was when history was said to have ended. The fight between communism and capitalism was over. After a titanic ideological struggle encompassing the decades after the second world war, open markets and Western liberal democracy reigned supreme. In the early morning of November 9th 2016, when Donald Trump crossed the threshold of 270 electoral-college votes to become America’s president-elect, that illusion was shattered. History is back—with a vengeance.

    The fact of Mr Trump’s victory and the way it came about are hammer blows both to the norms that underpin politics in the United States and also to America’s role as the world’s pre-eminent power. At home, an apparently amateurish and chaotic campaign has humiliated an industry of consultants, pundits and pollsters. If, as he has threatened, President Trump goes on to test the institutions that regulate political life, nobody can be sure how they will bear up. Abroad, he has taken aim at the belief, embraced by every post-war president, that America gains from the often thankless task of being the global hegemon. If Mr Trump now disengages from the world, who knows what will storm through the breach?

    The sense that old certainties are crumbling has rocked America’s allies. The fear that globalisation has fallen flat has whipsawed markets. Although post-Brexit Britons know what that feels like, the referendum in Britain will be eclipsed by consequences of this election. Mr Trump’s victory has demolished a consensus. The question now is what takes its place.

    Trump towers
    Start with the observation that America has voted not for a change of party so much as a change of regime. Mr Trump was carried to office on a tide of popular rage (see article). This is powered partly by the fact that ordinary Americans have not shared in their country’s prosperity. In real terms median male earnings are still lower than they were in the 1970s. In the past 50 years, barring the expansion of the 1990s, middle-ranking households have taken longer to claw back lost income with each recession. Social mobility is too low to hold out the promise of something better. The resulting loss of self-respect is not neutralised by a few quarters of rising wages.

    Anger has sown hatred in America. Feeling themselves victims of an unfair economic system, ordinary Americans blame the elites in Washington for being too spineless and too stupid to stand up to foreigners and big business; or, worse, they believe that the elites themselves are part of the conspiracy. They repudiate the media—including this newspaper—for being patronising, partisan and as out of touch and elitist as the politicians. Many working-class white voters feel threatened by economic and demographic decline. Some of them think racial minorities are bought off by the Democratic machine. Rural Americans detest the socially liberal values that urban compatriots foist upon them by supposedly manipulating the machinery in Washington (see article). Republicans have behaved as if working with Democrats is treachery.

    Mr Trump harnessed this popular anger brilliantly. Those who could not bring themselves to vote for him may wonder how half of their compatriots were willing to overlook his treatment of women, his pandering to xenophobes and his rank disregard for the facts. There is no reason to conclude that all Trump voters approve of his behaviour. For some of them, his flaws are insignificant next to the One Big Truth: that America needs fixing. For others the willingness to break taboos was proof that he is an outsider. As commentators have put it, his voters took Mr Trump seriously but not literally, even as his critics took him literally but not seriously. The hapless Hillary Clinton might have won the popular vote, but she stood for everything angry voters despise.

    The hope is that this election will prove cathartic. Perhaps, in office, Mr Trump will be pragmatic and magnanimous—as he was in his acceptance speech. Perhaps he will be King Donald, a figurehead and tweeter-in-chief who presides over an executive vice-president and a cabinet of competent, reasonable people. When he decides against building a wall against Mexico after all or concludes that a trade war with China is not a wise idea, his voters may not mind too much—because they only expected him to make them feel proud and to put conservative justices in the Supreme Court. Indeed, you can just about imagine a future in which extra infrastructure spending, combined with deregulation, tax cuts, a stronger dollar and the repatriation of corporate profits, boosts the American economy for long enough to pacify the anger. This more emollient Trump might even model himself on Ronald Reagan, a conservative hero who was mocked and underestimated, too.

    Nothing would make us happier than to see Mr Trump succeed in this way. But whereas Reagan was an optimist, Mr Trump rails against the loss of an imagined past. We are deeply sceptical that he will make a good president—because of his policies, his temperament and the demands of political office.

    Gravity wins in the end
    Take his policies first. After the sugar rush, populist policies eventually collapse under their own contradictions. Mr Trump has pledged to scrap the hated Obamacare. But that threatens to deprive over 20mil hard-up Americans of health insurance. His tax cuts would chiefly benefit the rich and they would be financed by deficits that would increase debt-to-GDP by 25 percentage points by 2026. Even if he does not actually deport illegal immigrants, he will foment the divisive politics of race. Mr Trump has demanded trade concessions from China, Mexico and Canada on threat of tariffs and the scrapping of the North American Free Trade Agreement. His protectionism would further impoverish poor Americans, who gain more as consumers from cheap imports than they would as producers from suppressed competition. If he caused a trade war, the fragile global economy could tip into a recession. With interest rates near zero, policymakers would struggle to respond.

    Abroad Mr Trump says he hates the deal freezing Iran’s nuclear programme. If it fails, he would have to choose between attacking Iran’s nuclear sites and seeing nuclear proliferation in the Middle East. He wants to reverse the Paris agreement on climate change; apart from harming the planet, that would undermine America as a negotiating partner. Above all, he would erode America’s alliances—its greatest strength. Mr Trump has demanded that other countries pay more towards their security or he will walk away. His bargaining would weaken NATO, leaving front-line eastern European states vulnerable to Russia. It would encourage Chinese expansion in the South China Sea. Japan and South Korea may be tempted to arm themselves with nuclear weapons.

    The second reason to be wary is temperament. During the campaign Mr Trump was narcissistic, thin-skinned and ill-disciplined. Yet the job of the most powerful man in the world constantly entails daily humiliations at home and abroad. When congressmen mock him, insult him and twist his words, his effectiveness will depend on his willingness to turn the other cheek and work for a deal. When a judge hears a case for fraud against Trump University in the coming weeks, or rules against his administration’s policies when he is in office, he must stand back (self-restraint that proved beyond him when he was a candidate). When journalists ridiculed him in the campaign he threatened to open up libel laws. In office he must ignore them or try to talk them round. When sovereign governments snub him he must calculate his response according to America’s interests, not his own wounded pride. If Mr Trump fails to master his resentments, his presidency will soon become bogged down in a morass of petty conflicts.

    æ, !

    Hannia - Hania - Mighthelp

  • #2
    Trump Era Part 2

    The third reason to be wary is the demands of office. No problem comes to the president unless it is fiendishly complicated. Yet Mr Trump has shown no evidence that he has the mastery of detail or sustained concentration that the Oval Office demands. He could delegate (as Reagan famously did), but his campaign team depended to an unusual degree on his family and on political misfits. He has thrived on the idea that his experience in business will make him a master negotiator in politics. Yet if a deal falls apart there is always another skyscraper to buy or another golf course to build; by contrast, a failure to agree with Vladimir Putin about Russia’s actions leaves nobody to turn to. Nowhere will judgment and experience be more exposed than over the control of America’s nuclear arsenal—which, in a crisis, falls to him and him alone.

    The pendulum swings out
    The genius of America’s constitution is to limit the harm one president can do. We hope Mr Trump proves our doubts groundless or that, if he fails, a better president will be along in four years. The danger with popular anger, though, is that disillusion with Mr Trump will only add to the discontent that put him there in the first place. If so, his failure would pave the way for someone even more bent on breaking the system.

    The election of Mr Trump is a rebuff to all liberals, including this newspaper. The open markets and classically liberal democracy that we defend, and which had seemed to be affirmed in 1989, have been rejected by the electorate first in Britain and now in America. France, Italy and other European countries may well follow. It is clear that popular support for the Western order depended more on rapid growth and the galvanising effect of the Soviet threat than on intellectual conviction. Recently Western democracies have done too little to spread the benefits of prosperity. Politicians and pundits took the acquiescence of the disillusioned for granted. As Mr Trump prepares to enter the White House, the long, hard job of winning the argument for liberal internationalism begins anew. The Trump era | The Economist

    æ, !

    Hannia - Hania - Mighthelp


    • #3
      Slumponomics - Trump and the political economy of liquidity traps
      Nov 10th 2016, 17:41 by R.A. | WASHINGTON THE ECONOMIST

      AFTER the Brexit referendum and the election of Donald Trump, and the subsequent market reactions, I think we are closing in on a decent theory of the way liquidity traps end.

      That might be going too far. Markets have not had that much time to process the American election outcome, and what time they have had has sent some mixed signals. Yet among the clearest market moves since the morning of November 9th has been a sharp drop in Treasury prices, accompanied by a sharp rise in implied inflation expectations as determined from inflation-protected Treasury securities. Now: sharp is relative. But markets are showing signs of that they expect reflation under Mr Trump. And they have reason to. Mr Trump seems keen on massive tax cuts and a big increase in government spending (on defence, and perhaps also on infrastructure). Mr Trump might just represent macroeconomic regime change.

      Let's back up. The theory of liquidity traps first began to develop in the 1930s, when John Hicks picked up where John Maynard Keynes left off, in response to events of the Depression. Keynes explained that when an economy was operating at less than full employment, then a rise in government borrowing could generate a large boost in employment for a small rise in interest rates; rather than crowding out private investment, it would generate more investment by private firms by raising national income. Hicks built on this; when the real interest rate fell to zero and could not be reduced any more, he noted, then expansions in the money supply would cease to be stimulative and fiscal stimulus would be necessary to get the economy moving.

      Economic work on the liquidity trap was revived in the late 1990s, when Japan showed that such traps could develop in the modern era. Paul Krugman found, for instance, that monetary policy could be used to escape the trap, provided that the central bank could credibly promise to tolerate high inflation in future. But for central banks to tolerate high inflation at any time is a big ask, and promising it in future is especially hard given the problem of time inconsistency: the high inflation in future would necessarily occur at a time when the economy had managed to escape the trap, at which time the central bank (having gotten the economy out of trouble) would find it tough to resist its natural urge to tighten. What's more, a central bank acting independently to promise high inflation future would risk its independence unless it could be very confident that political leaders were behind it. Which is to say: without clear political support, a big shift in monetary policy is both unlikely to occur in the first place, and unlikely to be seen as credible if, by some chance, it does. Hence, the trap stays the trap.

      That leaves fiscal policy. But as Mr Krugman has written in the context of the Great Recession, both fiscal and monetary policy measures might be subject to a "timidity trap". If policy measures, like asset purchases or fiscal stimulus, fail to push an economy all the way out of the liquidity trap, then they may end up discrediting such measures politically, even if they were successful at raising growth relative to a hypothetical no-stimulus case. Most economists reckon that Mr Obama's $800 billion stimulus raised growth above where it otherwise would have been. It didn't get America out of the low-rate, low-growth slump entirely, however, which allowed Mr Obama's critics to argue, persuasively if not correctly, that the stimulus had not worked at all.

      Escaping the liquidity trap means engineering a dramatic rise in expectations for future demand growth. It means a clear departure from past practice: a regime change. And whether the tool used to engineer the shift in expectations is monetary or fiscal, it cannot occur without strong political support.

      Now we have a story about the lifespan of a liquidity trap. Once an economy finds itself in one it stays in it until some external force drags it out, or until there is a political change—a break with the past—which enables a macroeconomic regime change. Does this story fit the historical facts? I think so, mostly. In the 1930s, economies got out of their traps when a change in governance led to a abandonment of usual gold-standard monetary-policy practice and/or when the demands of rearmament led to a change in macroeconomic policy. Japan, the first country in the modern era to fall into the liquidity trap, is as close as it has ever been to escaping thanks to the bold economic policies of Shinzo Abe, an elected leader. Brexit, and the choices made by the conservatives under Theresa May, constitute a sharp break with past policy, which has led to a big drop in sterling and a significant rise in expected inflation. Then there is Mr Trump, who might be about to deliver a deficit-financed stimulus. Meanwhile, the other economies stuck in the trap remain stuck.

      A key difference between the latter two examples and the earlier ones is that neither Brexit or Trumpism were explicitly about reflating the economy and escaping the slump, in the way that Franklin Roosevelt's decision to leave gold and Mr Abe's Abenomics were. It might therefore be best to characterise Brexit and the American election as political shifts which create the possibility of an escape from the trap, which the respective governments might or might not seize. In America, seizing that opportunity might require the application of pressure on the Federal Reserve. Inflation expectations are not the only thing which has moved since Tuesday; markets reckon the chance of multiple rate hikes in 2017 has also gone up. It does seem important, however, that both of these events are expressions of political radicalism which occurred during slump conditions, and which seem to create the possibility of a departure from those slump conditions. Slump, radicalism, exit seems like something of an historical motif.

      Muddling along is a good-enough way to deal with lots of messes, but it is no way to deal with a liquidity trap. Muddling through will continue until the political system can't bear it any more or the outside world forces a change (and history suggests that either endpoint can be very messy). With so many economies now stuck in liquidity traps, it more political shocks seem inevitable. Europe, I would say, will eventually get out of its liquidity trap. Its escape won't be pretty.
      Comments on Slumponomics: Trump and the political economy of liquidity traps | The Economist

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      Hannia - Hania - Mighthelp


      • #4
        The world economy - Our election, your problem
        A Trump presidency will be bad for the world economy and worse for places outside America
        Nov 12th 2016 THE ECONOMIST

        IT IS not clear precisely how Donald Trump will govern, the extent to which he will carry out some of his scarier promises on trade and immigration, and who will be his economics top brass at the Treasury and in the White House. But a decent first guess is that President Trump will be bad for the world economy in aggregate; and a second is that his actions are likely to do more harm, in the short term at least, to economies outside America.

        When America has in the past stepped aside from its role at the centre of the global economic system, the damage has spread well beyond its borders. In 1971, when Richard Nixon ended the post-war system of fixed exchange-rates that had America at its centre, his Treasury secretary, John Connally, told European leaders, “The dollar is our currency, but your problem.” This election result, to paraphrase Connally, belongs to America but is potentially a bigger economic problem for everyone else.

        The scale and nature of that problem depend on the interplay of the two main elements of Mr Trump’s economic populism. The first is action to boost aggregate demand. Mr Trump favours tax cuts and extra public spending on infrastructure. The second element is trade protectionism. He has pledged to slap tariffs on Chinese imports and to renegotiate the North American Free-Trade Agreement (NAFTA) with Mexico and Canada. To the extent that he leans more on the first element and less on the second, the immediate damage to America’s economy will be limited. But even in that event, the net effect of a Trump presidency on economies outside America is still likely to be harmful.

        To understand why, go back to the subject of Connally’s gibe: the dollar. As it became clear that Mr Trump would win the election, the greenback fell against rich-country currencies, such as the euro, yen, Swiss franc and pound, as investors sought a haven from policy uncertainty in America. An index of its value against major currencies dropped by 2% in early trading on November 9th. Within hours it had regained almost all the lost ground, as investors pieced together a positive story for the dollar, based on the prospects of a boost to demand in America’s economy and an inflow of capital from abroad.

        A deal between Mr Trump and Congress to cut corporate taxes, goes the logic, would spur flush American companies to repatriate retained profits held offshore. It would also allow them to increase capital spending in America, because they would have more ready cash; and consequent profits would be taxed more lightly. The larger budget deficits entailed by tax reform, along with more public spending on infrastructure, would underpin yields on long-term Treasury bonds. Indeed, after falling in the initial aftermath of Mr Trump’s victory, yields on 10- and 30-year Treasuries are on the rise again (see chart). Add the potential for higher inflation from the stimulus and the likelier use of some protectionist tariffs, plus a Federal Reserve with a more hawkish tilt, as Mr Trump’s appointees alter the complexion of its interest-rate-setting committee, and you have the makings of a renewed dollar rally.

        A fiscal stimulus coupled with an investment splurge in the world’s largest economy should, all else equal, also be good for global aggregate demand. And if this kind of “reflation populism” improves the near-term prospects for America’s economy, it may dissuade Mr Trump from resorting to full-strength “anti-trade populism”. Well, perhaps. But given his leanings, it is easy to imagine him resorting to soft protectionism that keeps much of the additional demand within America’s borders. He might for instance lean on companies to favour domestic suppliers, or attach local-content conditions to publicly funded infrastructure projects. What is more, the repatriation of profits by American firms would draw resources away from their subsidiaries abroad.

        In 1971 the world feared dollar weakness. These days, dollar strength tends to have a tightening effect on global financial conditions. The waxing and waning of the dollar is strongly linked to the ups and downs of the credit cycle. When the dollar is weak and American interest rates are low, companies outside America are keen to borrow dollars. Often big firms, flush with such cheap loans, will further extend credit in local currencies to smaller ones. But when the dollar goes up, the cycle goes into reverse, as corporate borrowers outside America scramble to pay down their dollar debts. That causes a more general tightening of credit.

        Mexico has the most to lose from Mr Trump’s presidency, should he keep his campaign promises. So the peso plummeted in the wake of the result. But Mexico, along with Chile, Turkey, the Philippines and Russia, also has a large burden of dollar debts, which are becoming more expensive in local currency. Mr Trump’s protectionist bent may make it hard for emerging markets to trade their way out of trouble. Only a few are likely to be unharmed by his victory.

        Where does a Trump victory leave China, the world’s second-largest economy? China accounts for roughly a half of America’s net trade-deficit, so in Mr Trump’s zero-sum reckoning, it has a lot to lose should America launch an all-out trade war. In fact, the resulting disruption to global supply-chains would badly hurt American firms, and higher prices on imported goods would squeeze American consumers, especially poorer households, which spend proportionately more on them.

        Yet there are risks to China’s economy too, from even a milder form of Trumpian populism. The dollar’s weakness over the spring and summer helped stem the outflow of capital from China that had threatened to unmoor the yuan and so unsettled global financial markets at the turn of the year. A sustained dollar rally would thus mean a severe headache for China’s policymakers, as it would revive the pressure on its capital account. They might then face an unpalatable choice: let the yuan sink against the dollar or keep domestic monetary policy tighter to support it.

        China is safe from the biggest indirect effect of Mr Trump’s victory: the boost it gives other populist politicians. Europe is far more vulnerable. Britain’s vote in June to leave the European Union was one early ballot-box reflection of anti-establishment sentiment. Since then, insurgent political parties in France, Germany, Italy and elsewhere have called for referendums on membership. Such parties typically favour trade barriers and limits on immigration, and are gaining in popularity.

        The euro area’s economy has been faring better in recent years, but the single currency remains fragile. The kind of cross-border risk-sharing needed to put the euro on a sound footing is at odds with the rising tides of nationalism and populism. An immediate hurdle is Italy’s referendum on constitutional reform on December 4th. A defeat would weaken Matteo Renzi, the reformist prime minister, and embolden the populist Five Star Movement, which favours ditching the euro. Around 14% of the euro area’s goods exports go to America, quite a bit less than China’s 18%. But America accounts for about 40% of the currency zone’s recent export growth, according to economists at HSBC, a bank. So American protectionism is arguably a bigger threat to Europe than to China.

        The whole world has much to fear from Mr Trump’s threats to tear up trade agreements and impose punitive tariffs on imports. And even if he refrains from starting a trade war, the loose-tongued, fact-lite style he cultivated during the campaign could wreak serious damage when he is president. His hyperbolic threats now carry the weight of the American presidency. His victory was enough to chill some financial markets; what he might do with it could spark full-scale panic. Even short of that, like the Brexit vote, it marks an alarming step away from a liberal, open economic order towards more isolationism and less prosperity.
        Our election, your problem | The Economist

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        Hannia - Hania - Mighthelp


        • #5
          The Trump administration - What to expect
          Something between Reaganism and France’s National Front, probably

          AMERICA is about to take a hard right turn. All that is in doubt is whether the final destination is one that Ronald Reagan might have saluted—a country of low taxes, light regulation and free markets, in which individuals and businesses are free to seek prosperity with a minimum of government involvement—or a more nationalist, populist and even statist place, with questions of law, order, identity and cultural tradition playing a role that demagogic European politicians might both recognise and applaud.

          In their hearts many Republican leaders in Congress prefer something closer to the first vision. But on the morning after election day the party’s keeper of the Reaganite flame, the Speaker of the House of Representatives, Paul Ryan, stepped to a podium in his hometown of Janesville, Wisconsin, and pledged fealty to Donald Trump. Mr Ryan, a free-trader and fiscal conservative who had rebuked Mr Trump several times during the campaign, credited the president-elect with securing a mandate for his version of government. He thanked Mr Trump for providing electoral coat-tails long enough to create the first unified Republican government in Washington since 2007.

          But if Mr Ryan and his fellow congressional leaders are to survive this new order, they will have to embrace some unfamiliar positions. Mr Trump won office by challenging Republican orthodoxy on trade barriers (he likes them, though they alarm big business), spending (the president-elect sees no pressing need to reform Social Security payments to the old), relations with Russia’s president Vladimir Putin (Mr Trump is a fan) and immigration. Trump supporters are sure they have been promised that government agents will round up and expel millions of foreigners without the right papers, possibly including hundreds of thousands of youngsters brought to the country as children and shielded from deportation by executive orders signed by Barack Obama. They also expect a wall on the border with Mexico, and something tangible will probably have to be built to stem a voter-revolt—though Congress may balk at spending the vast sums needed for the fortifications Mr Trump has described.

          Many in the party are now eager to show that it can synthesise long-held conservative principles with Mr Trump’s worldview. Mr Ryan talked of freeing ordinary workers from the Obamacare health law. Signalling an all-out assault on the environmental rules and schemes that Mr Obama had hoped would be a big part of his legacy, Mr Ryan spoke of reining in oppressive federal officials to save the livelihoods of coal miners, farmers and ranchers who use public lands in Western states. Yet Senator Mitch McConnell, the Republican leader in the Senate, moved quickly after the election to quash Mr Trump’s promises to impose term limits on members of Congress as part of a plan to change the culture in Washington.

          Optimistic Republicans predict that Mr Trump will be a sort of CEO-president, setting grand strategy while delegating day-to-day governance to Congress and to his vice-president, Mike Pence, a sternly conventional Christian and fiscal conservative who served in the House of Representatives before becoming governor of Indiana. They describe Mr Trump as a boss who disdains policy memos in favour of face-to-face briefings, and is more fussed by what works and what resonates with his base of working-class voters than with the niceties of ideology. Republicans certainly have a chance to shape America as they will. Mr Trump will get to appoint at least one justice to the Supreme Court, and in the country at large will enjoy support from 34 Republican governors. Overall the party of Mr Obama is weaker than it has been in generations, and faces still more losses in 2018, when the Senate map strongly favours Republicans.

          Expect conservative action in every field of domestic policy. Obamacare will be an early target for dismantling, says Senator John Barrasso of Wyoming, a surgeon by background and a member of the Senate leadership. Several colleagues credit the unpopularity of the health law with securing their re-election this week, Mr Barrasso says. Republicans do not need to present a 2,000-page replacement bill on the Senate floor, he explains—Mr Trump can do a lot to dismember the law by appointing a new Health and Human Services Secretary who relaxes the many rules and mandates in the act, as Congress prepares alternatives that use tax credits, savings accounts and greater competition to provide cheaper, if less comprehensive health cover. With tens of millions of Americans covered by Obamacare, Republicans will look to states to step in and take the lead role currently played by the federal government, though Democrats predict millions will still fall through the gaps.

          Congressional bosses and Trump advisers predict swift moves to expand production of American gas, oil and coal, whether by building new pipelines (including the long-delayed Keystone XL pipeline from Canada), easing exports of natural gas or opening public lands to new drilling and mining. Environmental agencies and the Department of the Interior will be staffed with pro-business executives, says a senior Trump adviser, following the dictum that “personnel is policy.”

          Change of climate

          Business leaders tipped for such posts as energy secretary or interior secretary include Harold Hamm, an Oklahoma oilman, and Forrest Lucas, the founder of an energy-services firm. Campaign advisers have told Mr Trump—who has called climate change a hoax—that domestic energy output could be increased by $150bn a year, and have urged him to swiftly withdraw from climate change commitments made by Mr Obama. They predict that a new conservative majority in the Supreme Court will doom the Clean Power Plan, an Obama-era scheme to limit coal’s use in electricity generation, and kill rules that increased federal oversight over waterways. President Trump probably has the legal power to withdraw from the Paris Agreement on climate change, ratified by America this year, though it might take time. Expect lawsuits from Democratic-run states, demanding more federal action to curb greenhouse gases as pollutants.

          A senior economic adviser suggests that Mr Trump could achieve sweeping tax cuts within his first 100 days. Trimming corporate tax rates may be politically easier than reforming taxation on individuals, including popular tax breaks on mortgage interest. A Trump administration may offer big firms an amnesty if they repatriate profits held overseas, spending some of the proceeds on big new infrastructure schemes, though in the Senate Mr McConnell has suggested infrastructure is not a high priority.

          Mr Trump’s populist rhetoric may not stop him appointing Steven Mnuchin, a former Goldman Sachs banker and finance director of the Trump campaign as his Treasury secretary. Other big jobs are expected to be offered to Republicans who came out early for the president-elect, such as Senator Jeff Sessions of Alabama, an anti-immigration hardliner and close adviser, and a former mayor of New York (and campaign attack dog), Rudy Giuliani. Representative Tom Price of Georgia is spoken of as a possible budget chief in the White House, while contenders for secretary of state include a former House speaker, Newt Gingrich, Senator Bob Corker of Tennessee and Governor Chris Christie of New Jersey (who is also talked of as attorney-general, but reportedly thinks the job insufficiently grand). National-security posts are likely to go to such advisers as Lieut-General Michael Flynn, a fiery Obama-critic and former head of the Defence Intelligence Agency, and another retired three-star general, Keith Kellogg.

          During the campaign foreign-policy grandees from prior Republican administrations were among Mr Trump’s harshest critics, shuddering at his geopolitical views. Now they must decide whether to help a new president with no experience in public office. Stephen Hadley, a national security adviser in George W. Bush’s White House who refrained from comment on Mr Trump, is tipped to be one of them. What to expect | The Economist

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          Hannia - Hania - Mighthelp


          • #6
            Not my president-elect - Anti-Trump protests continue across America
            Nov 10th 2016, 21:07 NEW YORK THE ECONOMIST

            IN HIS cool-your-jets remarks the day after the presidential election, Barack Obama noted that “a lot of our fellow Americans are exultant today” and “a lot of Americans are less so”. Whatever Americans’ feelings about the results, he said, “we are actually on one team” and the election was just an “intramural scrimmage”. The 44th president is known for his preternatural calm and the perhaps excessive charity he shows to political opponents. But Mr Obama’s cool assessment of the mood of the nation is hard to reconcile with the unprecedented ferocity and range of protests breaking out against the president-elect in cities across America.

            In Boston, Chicago and Washington, DC; in Portland, Oregon, and Austin, Texas; and in Donald Trump’s home, New York City, large numbers of protesters are taking to the streets to condemn Mr Trump as president. The Republican victor is “not our president”, according to the chanting among many of the 20,000 or so demonstrators who gathered outside his eponymous tower in New York City on November 9th, where more protests are scheduled for November 10th and the weekend. Many were simply shocked and appalled by the electoral outcome—though there were no Hillary Clinton signs in view. Others had particular concerns. Simone Mills, a first-generation American whose parents came to New York from St Kitts, is fearful of how Mr Trump’s presidency will affect her family. “He’s just too racist for this county” she remarked. Many seemed to agree. A chant of: “Racist. Sexist. Anti-gay. Donald Trump go away!” was shouted by the crowd in New York throughout the evening.

            Other chants on the pavements in New York ranged from taunts (“**** Trump”) to quibbles with his positions (“**** your wall”) to references to his on-camera boasts about sexual assault (“***** grabs back”, “End rape culture”). But some of the critiques are more radical—and focused. One of the groups that put together the protest was Socialist Alternative, an organisation that helped push for Seattle’s $15 minimum wage. More than a few anarchists were found on the streets, with signs like “Dump the Elephant, Dump the Ass, Let’s Build a Party of the Working Class”.

            For one 17-year-old attendee, the anarchism was slightly alienating. “I felt very empowered”, she said of the march that stopped rush-hour traffic on Fifth Avenue, “but there were moments when I felt very dissociated” from the messages on the signs, including one that read “No one for president!” Another teenage protester agreed with this sentiment, surprised to encounter the idea that, she said, both “the Republican and Democratic parties should be abandoned”. A young Hispanic woman noted the contrast between the anti-Trump march and Black Lives Matter protests she attended two years ago. In 2014, symbolic targets of the protesters’ wrath—police officers—lined the streets; now, “the perceived enemy is so difficult to identify.” There is “less rage”, she said, and more of a “love in the form of a passionate anger”.

            A day after the march, a 17-year-old was gratified to see that the event was broadcast on national television, and that similar protests were filling streets across the country. The efforts will not prevent Donald Trump from taking office on January 20th, she knew, but they “have to be sparking some kind of reaction”. “It’s reassuring”, she said, that when the president-elect takes office and makes a “bad call”, it won’t go unnoticed, and that discontent with Mr Trump will be channelled into “concerted efforts” to advance the causes he disdains. “It gives me hope”, she said. Not my president-elect: Anti-Trump protests continue across America | The Economist

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            • #7
              The button panic - Donald Trump and the nuclear codes
              Mr Trump will soon control America's nuclear codes
              Nov 12th 2016 THE ECONOMIST

              IN A ritual out of sight of the cameras on Inauguration Day in January, America's ''nuclear briefcase'' will change hands and President Donald Trump will receive a card, sometimes known as the 'biscuit'. The card, which identifies him as commander-in-chief, has on it the nuclear codes that are used to authenticate an order to launch a nuclear attack. At that point, should he wish, Mr Trump can launch any or all of America's 2,000 strategic nuclear missiles.

              There are no constitutional restraints on his power to do so. Even if all his advisers have counselled against it, as long it is clearly the president giving the command, the order must be carried out. There are no checks and balances in the system. Moreover, once the order is given there is likely to be only a matter of minutes in which it could be rescinded. Once the missiles are flying, they cannot be called back or disarmed. Mr Trump, from what he has said, does not take this responsibility lightly. Indeed, he has often stated that he believes nuclear weapons to represent the greatest threat to humanity and that he will not be trigger-happy,"like some people might think". But in common with his predecessors, he does not rule out their use.

              With little more than ten minutes to take a decision that could kill hundreds of millions of people, even the calmest individual would be under intolerable stress if informed that America was under imminent attack. It is not Mr Trump's fault that the system, in which the vulnerable land-based missile force is kept on hair-trigger alert, is widely held to be inherently dangerous. Yet no former president, including Barack Obama, has done anything to change it.

              Of greater concern would be how Mr Trump might behave in an escalating confrontation if Russia were to rattle its nuclear sabre even more loudly. It is possible that his apparent desire to be buddies with Vladimir Putin might help defuse a dangerous situation. He is, however, notoriously thin-skinned and unable to stop himself responding to any perceived slight with vicious (verbal) attacks of his own. He also revels in braggadocio and is known to be reluctant to take advice. Marco Rubio, a rival for the Republican nomination, questioned whether he had the temperament to be put in charge of the nuclear codes. So did Hillary Clinton. They were right to do so. But it is now Mr Trump, not them, who takes the biscuit. Donald Trump and the nuclear codes | The Economist

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              Hannia - Hania - Mighthelp


              • #8
                please delete
                Last edited by Hannia; 11th November 2016, 23:12.

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                • #9
                  Thoughts for the Horrified
                  NY TIMES Paul Krugman NOV. 11, 2016

                  So what do we do now? By “we” I mean all those left, center and even right who saw Donald Trump as the worst man ever to run for president and assumed that a strong majority of our fellow citizens would agree.

                  I’m not talking about rethinking political strategy. There will be a time for that — God knows it’s clear that almost everyone on the center-left, myself included, was clueless about what actually works in persuading voters. For now, however, I’m talking about personal attitude and behavior in the face of this terrible shock.

                  First of all, remember that elections determine who gets the power, not who offers the truth. The Trump campaign was unprecedented in its dishonesty; the fact that the lies didn’t exact a political price, that they even resonated with a large bloc of voters, doesn’t make them any less false. No, our inner cities aren’t war zones with record crime. No, we aren’t the highest-taxed nation in the world. No, climate change isn’t a hoax promoted by the Chinese.

                  So if you’re tempted to concede that the alt-right’s vision of the world might have some truth to it, don’t. Lies are lies, no matter how much power backs them up.

                  And once we’re talking about intellectual honesty, everyone needs to face up to the unpleasant reality that a Trump administration will do immense damage to America and the world. Of course I could be wrong; maybe the man in office will be completely different from the man we’ve seen so far. But it’s unlikely.

                  Unfortunately, we’re not just talking about four bad years. Tuesday’s fallout will last for decades, maybe generations.

                  I particularly worry about climate change. We were at a crucial point, having just reached a global agreement on emissions and having a clear policy path toward moving America to a much greater reliance on renewable energy. Now it will probably fall apart, and the damage may well be irreversible.

                  The political damage will extend far into the future, too. The odds are that some terrible people will become Supreme Court justices. States will feel empowered to engage in even more voter suppression than they did this year. At worst, we could see a slightly covert form of Jim Crow become the norm all across America.

                  And you have to wonder about civil liberties, too. The White House will soon be occupied by a man with obvious authoritarian instincts, and Congress controlled by a party that has shown no inclination to stand up against him. How bad will it get? Nobody knows.

                  What about the short term? My own first instinct was to say that Trumponomics would quickly provoke an immediate economic crisis, but after a few hours’ reflection I decided that this was probably wrong. I’ll write more about this in the coming weeks, but a best guess is that there will be no immediate comeuppance.

                  Trumpist policies won’t help the people who voted for Donald Trump — in fact, his supporters will end up much worse off. But this story will probably unfold gradually. Political opponents of the new regime certainly shouldn’t count on any near-term moment of obvious vindication.

                  So where does this leave us? What, as concerned and horrified citizens, should we do?

                  One natural response would be quietism, turning one’s back on politics. It’s definitely tempting to conclude that the world is going to hell, but that there’s nothing you can do about it, so why not just make your own garden grow? I myself spent a large part of the Day After avoiding the news, doing personal things, basically taking a vacation in my own head.

                  But that is, in the end, no way for citizens of a democracy — which we still are, one hopes — to live. I’m not saying that we should all volunteer to die on the barricades; I don’t think it’s going to come to that, although I wish I was sure. But I don’t see how you can hang on to your own self-respect unless you’re willing to stand up for the truth and fundamental American values.

                  Will that stand eventually succeed? No guarantees. Americans, no matter how secular, tend to think of themselves as citizens of a nation with a special divine providence, one that may take wrong turns but always finds its way back, one in which justice always prevails in the end.

                  Yet it doesn’t have to be true. Maybe the historic channels of reform — speech and writing that changes minds, political activism that eventually changes who has power — are no longer effective. Maybe America isn’t special, it’s just another republic that had its day, but is in the process of devolving into a corrupt nation ruled by strongmen.

                  But I’m not ready to accept that this is inevitable — because accepting it as inevitable would become a self-fulfilling prophecy. The road back to what America should be is going to be longer and harder than any of us expected, and we might not make it. But we have to try.
                  Paul Krugman, American Economist, received Nobel Prize in Economic Sciences in 2008.

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                  Hannia - Hania - Mighthelp


                  • #10
                    Trump’s Economic Prescription. First: Do Harm.
                    NY TIMES Steven Rattner NOV. 11, 2016

                    Donald J. Trump is positioned to achieve the most radical reshaping of economic policy since Ronald Reagan. Even under Reagan, Republicans never controlled both houses of Congress.

                    Since Mr. Trump has yet to provide many specifics, I can’t thoroughly assess the overall impact of his plan. But at the least, if he follows through on his ideas, we could face higher prices on imported goods, rising interest rates, substantial inflation and a further shift of wealth to the upper classes.

                    For starters, Mr. Trump has promised an immediate attack on trade deals, at least with countries he views as manipulators. Presidents have significant authority to act unilaterally in this area, and Mr. Trump has insisted he would put 35 percent tariffs on imports from Mexico and 45 percent on those from China.

                    Trade, which has been proved to stimulate economic growth both here and abroad, has already been slowing, and Mr. Trump is determined to slow it further in an effort to protect blue-collar manufacturing workers, many of them his supporters.

                    Mr. Trump’s tariffs would raise the prices of imported goods sharply, cutting the purchasing power of every American. Lower-income Americans — including Mr. Trump’s core supporters — would be hurt the most because they disproportionately buy less expensive imported items. For China, and particularly Mexico, the economic costs would be significant, which is why at one point on Wednesday the Mexican peso had plunged by more than 13 percent.

                    While some manufacturing jobs might come back as a result of the tariffs, a greater number of domestic jobs would most likely be lost because Americans would have less spending power. A recent study by the nonpartisan Peterson Institute for International Economics estimated that, rather than bringing jobs back to the United States, Mr. Trump’s tariffs could result in a trade war that would cost our economy five million jobs and possibly lead to a recession.

                    The centerpiece of Mr. Trump’s plan is a huge $5.8 trillion tax cut unaccompanied by specificity around what expenses would be cut to pay for it. (Indeed, the president-elect has proposed more spending on defense and infrastructure.)

                    As soon as Mr. Trump’s ascendancy became clear on Tuesday night, interest rates on Treasuries began to rise. Usually, an unexpected event causes a flight to the safety of government debt, pushing yields down. That the opposite occurred reflects fears that the deficit might balloon out of control.

                    Mr. Trump has promised to keep Medicare and Social Security benefits unchanged, a commitment at odds with Speaker Paul D. Ryan’s own economic proposals. As a fiscal conservative, Mr. Ryan is unlikely to accept large tax cuts unaccompanied by major spending reductions. That could lead to the evisceration of many of the discretionary federal programs — think education or research and development — critical to putting our economy on a stronger footing.

                    To be sure, a tax cut on its own would give Americans more cash to spend. But according to the Tax Policy Center, by 2025, 51 percent of Mr. Trump’s reductions would go to the top 1 percent, who both least need it and would be least likely to spend it.


                    Then there’s the regulatory arena, where Mr. Trump also has a free hand to act unilaterally. And act he has promised to do, starting with a moratorium on new rules not required by Congress and a reversal of many executive orders.

                    If Mr. Trump sticks to his pledge, it will be open season on regulations, as businesses go after their most disliked provisions and agencies. Industrial companies will take aim at the Environmental Protection Agency. Financial institutions, including the big banks, will push to repeal Dodd-Frank. That’s just for starters.

                    Both Mr. Trump and Mr. Ryan are united in opposition to the Affordable Care Act, potentially ending the free or subsidized coverage that 20 million Americans are now receiving. Those Americans would be facing higher costs or loss of coverage.

                    Some of the efforts at dismantling government may face hurdles in the Senate, where 60 votes are required to break filibusters, more than the Republicans will have. But under a process known as “reconciliation,” matters relating to taxes and spending — and potentially the repeal of Obamacare — can be passed by a simple majority of 51.

                    Last, Mr. Trump’s signal issue was immigration, where he promised stricter standards, deportation of undocumented workers, a potential moratorium on the entry of new Muslim immigrants and a wall along the Mexican border.

                    Immigrants, including undocumented workers, play an important role in our economy, doing jobs that many native-born Americans won’t and paying taxes. The conservative American Action Forum calculated that his deportation plan would cost $400 billion to $600 billion and, because there are not enough citizens and legal residents to fill the demand, the plan would shrink the labor force and reduce gross domestic product by $1.6 trillion.

                    It’s hard to know whether the conflicting forces unleashed by Mr. Trump will create a recession. For the moment, at least, the stock market is betting no. But in addition to higher interest rates, financial markets are signaling higher inflation rates.

                    This much is certain: Mr. Trump’s proposals would confer vast monetary gains on wealthy Americans while leaving middle- and working-class Americans — his electoral base — further behind. For his supporters, the irony of a Trump victory is that they may end up even less well off.

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                    Hannia - Hania - Mighthelp


                    • #11
                      Trump team’s revenge - Some of the president-elect’s allies are seeking payback against Republicans who didn’t support his campaign.
                      POLITICO K.Vogel & B.Schreckinger 11/11/16, 4:51 PM CET

                      Donald Trump has 70 days to build a government and figure out how to run it, but some of his allies are spending the early days of his transition plotting revenge against those they believe slighted Trump — and them.

                      Since Trump’s shocking upset victory in Tuesday’s presidential election, several people who worked on his team have discussed ways to punish Republicans who were hostile to the New York billionaire’s anti-establishment campaign, including blocking them from administration or transition posts, or lucrative consulting work, according to a handful of people involved in the conversations.

                      They say that Republicans who opposed — or were seen as insufficiently supportive of — Trump have had their entreaties rejected by people around the president-elect, some of whom have expressed wonderment that former bitter critics are now asking for jobs, lobbying leads and even inauguration tickets.

                      “My phone is ringing off the hook with people who were on the outs asking how they can get into Trump world,” said one operative who worked with Trump’s campaign. “I’m telling them there is no f—ing way they’re getting inside.”

                      Even before Trump shocked the political world on Tuesday, one leading Republican policy adviser recalled being told second-hand that he was “non-grata” within Trump Tower for his outspoken criticism of the real estate showman-turned-candidate.

                      And the website seen as the unofficial news organ of Trump World, Breitbart News — which was co-founded by Trump’s campaign chairman and possible White House chief of staff Steve Bannon — has signaled that it intends to continue its crusade against House Speaker Paul Ryan. Trump clashed throughout the campaign with Ryan, whose support for Trump wavered between non-existent and tepid, though the president-elect and House Speaker have presented a united frontsince the election, praising one another after a Thursday meeting on Capitol Hill.

                      A source close to Trump stressed that the president-elect’s team is willing to work with Republicans who backed Trump’s rivals in the GOP primary, and even those who occasionally called out Trump — but added that some crossed a line.

                      “It’s one thing not to have been for him or to have had a disagreement, but if you went out of your way to be an *******, then we’re not going to helpful,” the source said.

                      The source suggested that Trump’s political operation would steer business away from Republicans who were involved in the #NeverTrump effort to block Trump from the GOP nomination. Comparing one of the effort’s leading operatives to a Hollywood actor who threatened to leave the country if Trump was elected, the source said “Katie Packer should see if Bryan Cranston has an extra room in Canada.”

                      Packer responded by cracking that she “fully expected to be rounded up and sent to a detention camp so if that’s the best they’ve got, then that’s a relief!” More seriously, she suggested that “if Trump allows sentiments like that to go unchecked,” it will undermine his claim during his victory speech early Wednesday that he wants to unite the country after the divisive election.

                      Tactically, the desire for revenge among some Trump allies could run headlong into the stark reality that the president-elect now faces. His transition team is scrambling to recruit thousands of people to fill administration positions — posts that require expertise of the sort that is prevalent among the Republican professional class.

                      But many in that orbit kept their distance from Trump and some have signaled they’re still unwilling to work for him, which limits the pool from which he can draw, even without proactively excluding others. Meanwhile, many in Trump’s relatively small group of loyalists lack relevant high-level government experience or relationships with veteran policy or political professionals.

                      To be sure, it’s common for incoming presidents to steer plum administration or political gigs to their supporters, and away from those who opposed them.

                      But, while new administrations typically mete out revenge and rewards in subtle ways, Trump’s style is anything but subtle.

                      He has openly litigated grievances against a range of perceived enemies — from business rivals to journalists to politicians — for all manner of perceived slights.

                      Some of Trump’s advisers have been urging him to cool his penchant for retaliation, and one told POLITICO he seems receptive.

                      But some of Trump’s closest confidants also are known for aggressively prosecuting their own rivalries. That includes Bannon, who in December 2015 emailed a Breitbart editor about working to oust Ryan from the speakership, as well as former campaign manager Corey Lewandowski, who is being discussed as a possible chairman of the Republican National Committee.

                      Bannon did not respond to a request for comment, while Lewandowski rejected the suggestion that he was interested in punishing former rivals, and said he has not discussed any job with Trump.

                      Trump spokesman Jason Miller disputed the notion that either the president-elect or anyone in a decision-making role on his team was prosecuting grudges.

                      “None of this is true,” Miller said, arguing that this publication was in fact prosecuting its own grudge by “making up stories to fit their agenda.”

                      A different campaign source elaborated “there is not and never will be a blacklist. Trump is focused on talent like any CEO. The swamp games won’t apply in his administration.” The source added, though, that Trump “is known for loyalty and you can expect his supporters to be eager to be a part of his team.”

                      And, in fact, one person who feuded bitterly during the campaign with Trump was assured Thursday morning by a top Trump aide that the president-elect had no interest in pursuing the vendetta.

                      Yet, it’s clear that some of Trump’s supporters and staff feel that retribution is warranted against parts of the GOP establishment that cast Trump and his supporters as a cancer on the party from the beginning of the race.

                      Talk about revenge began percolating among Trump supporters at his victory party on Tuesday night at the Midtown Manhattan Hilton. Former Apprentice contestant Omarosa Manigault, one of Trump’s leading surrogates, told a reporter that Trump’s team was grateful that “our enemies are making themselves clear so that when we get in to the White House, we know where we stand.” She added “Mr. Trump has a long memory and we’re keeping a list.”

                      And in recent days, a handful of operatives who worked for Trump suggested that any discrimination against prior opponents was fair game because during the campaign, Trump’s team members were the ones being called names (including “Trumptard”) and threatened with blacklisting by establishment Republicans.

                      “The people who worked on the campaign, and the convention too, put a lot on the line,” said one operative who worked on the convention. “We were told this would be a black mark on our careers we couldn’t come back from. We were scorned. The establishment was going to remember. For some people that was a big professional risk—never mind the personal relationships it strained. People who worked on the campaign or convention damn well deserve the first look if they want it.”
                      Trump team’s revenge – POLITICO

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                      Hannia - Hania - Mighthelp


                      • #12
                        INVISIBLE HAND OF BUSINESS - What Ukraine’s corrupt oligarchy can teach us about a President Trump
                        QUARTZ Max de Haldevang 11/12/2016

                        President-elect Donald Trump looks set to enter the White House with arguably the biggest array of conflicts of interest of any US president.

                        For just one example, take the case of Deutsche Bank. Trump’s lender of last resort has loaned him $364 million in mortgages in the past few years, according to The Intercept, plus $2.5 billion to his affiliated businesses and a further $1 billion in loan guarantees. And how are Deutsche’s current relations with Washington? Oh yeah, the government fined the bank $14 billion in September, according to the Wall Street Journal, to settle a series of investigations into the bank’s use of mortgage-backed securities during the financial crisis.

                        It’s not just a matter of managing his old friends, but his assets themselves. Unlike most other senior officials, the president and vice president have no legal obligation to put their assets in a blind trust. Trump has promised to do so, but there’s a wee problem there: the blind trust, he says, will be run by his children. At the head is likely to be his daughter Ivanka, who, along with her husband Jared Kushner, was one of Trump’s lead advisers throughout the campaign. Can we really expect Trump and his favorite child to never discuss the business on which they have spent years working together? Is it really a “blind” trust if you can work out what’s going on just by hearing a loose word from your daughter? Norman Ornstein, a political scientist and senior fellow at the nonpartisan American Enterprise Institute think tank, isn’t convinced.

                        “The idea that Trump will place his business holdings in the hands of his children is to me just frightening,” Ornstein wrote in an email. “There will be times when an action taken on behalf of the US can enrich Trump Enterprises, even as it hurts other American interests. What will he do?”

                        We contacted the Trump campaign to ask, but they didn’t reply to an emailed request for comment as of publication.

                        For answers to how this might play out, there’s a recent global precedent in Ukraine. Oligarch Petro Poroshenko was elected president there in 2014 while similarly promising to hide his assets from his sight and sell his main business, Roshen Confectionary Corporation, as soon as he could. However, he is yet to sell off Roshen, and his blind trust is currently run by the corporation’s long-time CEO Vyacheslav Moskalevsky, says Anders Aslund, a leading Ukraine expert and senior fellow at the Atlantic Council think tank. “It’s a completely hopeless situation,” he says.

                        Russian president Vladimir Putin has been using the situation to manipulate the Ukrainian leader, Aslund claims. Aslund’s sources in Ukraine tell him the two have discussed Poroshenko’s businesses in private conversations: “Poroshenko is kept very much in line by the Kremlin,” he says. In October, Putin even tauntingly mentioned a factory Poroshenko owns in Russia, telling a conference that “there are some problems with the non-payment of VAT.”

                        Poroshenko was elected on an anti-corruption platform that prided itself on hiring foreign experts to clean up the country, but this year his administration has seen embarrassing, high profile resignations by officials frustrated with corruption slowing down their attempts at reform. In February, Poroshenko’s Lithuanian-born technocratic economy minister resigned over the entrenched graft he was facing, health minister Alexander Kvitashvili stepped down in July, and the bombastic former president of Georgia Mikheil Saakashvili quit as governor of one of Ukraine’s most important regions in November. Announcing his resignation, Saakashvili pointedly asked his onetime friend Poroshenko, “How much can you lie and cheat?”

                        In the midst of all that, the Panama Papers made public on May 9 revealed that, while war raged in eastern Ukraine only three months after Poroshenko was elected in 2014, he was quietly setting up a secret offshore company in the British Virgin Islands.

                        So, what lessons can we take for Trump’s presidency? First, we need complete transparency, beginning with Trump releasing his tax returns and announcing any assets he may not have declared on his FEC and SEC filings. Second, his assets should be put in a blind trust run by a third party to block off exactly the distractions Poroshenko faced while his country was at war. That’s not an unprecedented demand: Ronald Reagan, Bill Clinton and both Bushes did so.

                        Trump is involved in businesses in over 500 companies, in countries like China, the UAE and Saudi Arabia—all of which have very complex relations with the US. There’s also strong evidence that he has at least received financing from Russian investors, according to the Washington Post, and he has tried a number of times to invest in property there. Putin is unlikely to be able to bully Trump the way he allegedly does Poroshenko, but Aslund says “there is a straightforward bribery risk” when the future president ends up in diplomatic negotiations with countries where he has assets, or where his children running his business are trying to invest. And Putin, a wily former KGB agent, is likely to pull every lever he has at his disposal to try to manipulate Trump.

                        In addition, there’s little to stop Trump’s children leveraging his name to do deals with reprehensible regimes, as former Federal Election commission chair Trevor Potter has pointed out. “We are faced with the possibility that a son or daughter of the president will turn up in Moscow or Uzbekistan or somewhere else negotiating a deal on a new property that will bear the name of the president, and the full knowledge that the president really is an owner of the company. That presents problems of a dimension we have never seen before,” Potter said in September, according to the Post.

                        The final message to take from Ukraine is the value of civil society, says Taras Kuzio, a senior fellow at the Canadian Institute of Ukrainian Studies. Ukrainians have learned to hold their elites to account where the justice system has failed, and have overturned two corrupt governments in revolutions over the last 12 years. They keep themselves intensely well-informed on politics: “You ask any taxi driver in Kyiv, who stole what, where, and when and he’ll tell you,” Kuzio says. “American civil society could learn a lot from Ukraine because they’ve had to deal with Trump-like characters a lot longer than America has had to; people lie to them all the time. Trump is a liar, he thinks he’s unaccountable, he can do what he wants—these are Ukraine’s elites since 1991.”

                        If American citizens, NGOs, journalists and communities fail to step up, the outcome could get bleaker and bleaker, says Ornstein: “What now? The word kleptocracy comes to mind,” he wrote.
                        To see how Trump's business conflicts of interest will play out in his presidency, look at Ukrainian president Petro Poroshenko — Quartz

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                        Hannia - Hania - Mighthelp


                        • #13
                          SWAMP THING - Donald Trump’s transition team is assembling like a super-lobbyist Voltron
                          QUARTZ Editorial Staff 11/11/2016

                          Donald Trump has assembled a team of advisors to help him staff his administration and plot policy going forward. Many members of the team working on economic policy are lobbyists, despite Trump’s repeated promises to “drain the swamp” if elected.

                          These advisors will assemble the ranks of officials who will attempt to make Trump’s campaign vision, however blurry, a policy reality. But the president-elect lacks the deep network of experts that often accompany a candidate to office, so he is filling the vacuum with a who’s-who of corporate attorneys and bankers. In the process, these advocates will put themselves in the best position to have access to officials when they are doing government business.

                          “He is going to need some people to help guide him through the swamp—how do you get in and how you get out?” Trent Lott, the former Mississippi Senator and powerful lobbyist, told the New York Times. “We are prepared to help do that.”

                          Trump’s transition-team advisor for the Department of the Treasury policy is David Malpass, who also worked for Ronald Reagan and George H.W. Bush before spending 15 years with Bear Stearns. He was the investment bank’s chief economist before its near-collapse in 2008 led to a firesale to JPMorgan and signalled the start of the financial crisis. Trump’s headline economic pledges—namely, to double annual US GDP growth to 4% or more—are common conservative fodder. Malpass wrote a chapter in a 2012 book on this very issue, The 4% Solution: Unleashing the Economic Growth America Needs, claiming that “fast growth isn’t rocket science.” All it takes is a strong dollar backed by higher interest rates, lower taxes, lighter regulations, and a limit on debt. Simple!

                          A name in the frame for Treasury secretary is Steven Mnuchin, the Trump campaign’s chief fundraiser. Mnuchin spent 17 years at Goldman Sachs—as did his father, a prominent Goldman partner—with key roles in the investment bank’s mortgage operations, before starting a hedge fund with backing from George Soros. As it happens, Goldman and Soros were both called out in Trump’s final campaign ad as part of the “global special interests” out of touch with common people.

                          — Jason Karaian

                          Donald Trump has picked Jeffrey Eisenach, a veteran foe of federal technology regulation, to lead his telecom transition team. A former economist at the Federal Trade Commissions and advisor in Ronald Reagan’s White House, Eisenach has fiercely attacked the FCC’s attempts to enforce net neutrality through the Federal Communications Commission. Net neutrality rules give all websites and services equal access to internet distribution, and are expected to be rolled back under Trump, who has called them a “top-down power grab” to “target the conservative media” and equated them (inaccurately) with the Fairness Doctrine. The FCC may also doom another of Obama’s signature tech initiatives, to expand broadband outside American cities.

                          Trump has not formulated a full technology policy platform, but the campaign did in October ask industry advocacy groups representing companies such as Apple, Facebook, Google, Microsoft, and Twitter to recommend federal agency appointments, and regulations they’d like to see removed, according to Politico. The meeting also came with a fundraising pitch.

                          – Michael J. Coren

                          Labor relations
                          The man filling seats at the Department of Labor is J. Steven Hart, a high-profile Washington lobbyist who previously worked in the Reagan administration. An Oklahoma native with ties to former Rep. Tom DeLay, Stevens has lobbied for Coca-Cola and Pfizer. “Hart is the man corporations call when they’re having trouble with labor unions,” according to Washingtonian magazine. Trump clashed with labor unions as a businessman, and he may attempt to roll back some of gains working people made under Obama, such as a lower income threshold for receiving overtime.

                          —Oliver Staley

                          Food policy
                          Trump has recruited veteran Capitol Hill lobbyist Michael K. Torrey to shepherd the transition of the US Department of Agriculture and its portfolio, including farm subsidies, the food stamp program, the Farm Bill, school meals, nutrition labeling rules, and more.

                          Torrey, who has been described as an even-keeled moderate by colleagues in other lobbying firms, has represented the interests of Big Soda in an array of areas, including food stamps policy, the government’s Dietary Guidelines, and food package labeling issues, financial disclosures show. Trump has yet to speak specifically about his food and agriculture policy ambitions, which he rarely addressed during the campaign.

                          — Chase Purdy

                          The environment
                          The person in charge of staffing up the Environmental Protection Agency is Myron Ebell, currently the director of energy and global warming policy at the Competitive Enterprise Institute (CEI), a libertarian DC think tank that is a nonprofit but largely funded by industry. The organization opposes most of Obama’s policies and “questions global warming alarmism.” It also “opposes energy-rationing policies, including the Kyoto Protocol, cap-and-trade legislation, and EPA regulation of greenhouse gas emissions,” as well as “all government mandates and subsidies for conventional and alternative energy technologies.”

                          Ebell also chairs the “Cooler Heads Coalition,” which is financed by CEI, and whose stated mission is “dispelling the myths of global warming by exposing flawed economic, scientific, and risk analysis.” In 1998, Ebell worked with oil giant Exxon to develop a communications strategy designed to “undercut the ‘prevailing scientific wisdom’” and force uncertainty to “become part of the ‘conventional wisdom.’”

                          — Elijah Wolfson

                          Trump’s transition website outlines a list of goodies for the fossil fuel industry, including reopening oil-drilling leasing on public lands and waters, and issuing more coal-mining permits. To get people in place to execute this plan, Trump has turned to Mike McKenna, a lobbyist at his own shop, MWR Strategies, where in 2016 McKenna has made at least $390,000 advocating on behalf of companies like Dow Chemical and Koch Industries. Trump also tapped David Bernhardt, a former Bush administration official who now represents large energy companies at the nation’s second-largest lobbying firm.

                          — Tim Fernholz

                          At least one of Trump’s transition planners isn’t a creature of Washington. He appointed the former CEO of Nucor Steel, Dan DiMicco, to handle staffing for the office of the US Trade Representative. DiMicco has been an outspoken critic of US trade policy, particularly with China, and became a Trump advisor earlier this year. “Trump clearly sees it and he will work to put an end to China’s ‘Mercantilist Trade War’! A War it has been waging against us for nearly 2 decades! A war in which we have yet to show up to fight! Trump gets it!” DiMicco wrote on his blog earlier this year. “He will do this by negotiating from a position of strength, not condescending weakness.”

                          — Tim Fernholz

                          Who are Donald Trump's presidential advisors? — Quartz

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                          Hannia - Hania - Mighthelp


                          • #14
                            America and the world - The piecemaker
                            For seven decades America has been the guarantor of global order. It may now become a force for instability
                            Nov 12th 2016 THE ECONOMIST


                            WHEN Donald Trump started to assemble his national-security team, he asked his advisers: “Do you know what constant pour is?” At least one of the generals present confessed that he did not. Well, explained Mr Trump, it is the process whereby the concrete foundations of buildings cannot be allowed to set before being filled; cement mixers must be lined up for many blocks at the ready. The lesson was: the generals may know a lot of fancy jargon, but so does he.

                            It was quintessential Trump: prickly yet boastful. The assertion that the world is complicated is but a con-trick to befuddle honest Americans who wonder why their country seems less feared by enemies and less respected by allies. In his telling, America’s problems are simple, self-inflicted and reversible. It is hard to think of a president-elect less versed in the workings of the world than Mr Trump; or of one more willing to upturn the global order shaped by America in the seven decades since the end of the second world war.

                            Mr Trump has described his foreign policy in only the vaguest terms, preferring such bumper-sticker slogans as “America First” to detailed plans. To the extent that it can be divined, his programme involves threatening to slap tariffs on imports from China and Mexico; demanding that allies like Japan and the Europeans pay more for their defence; and being nicer to strongmen like Russia’s president, Vladimir Putin. A good president, like a real-estate mogul, must be “prepared to walk” away from a bad deal; and it helps if he is unpredictable. Richard Nixon may have resorted to the madman theory of diplomacy to frighten enemies during the cold war. But Mr Trump’s politics of deliberate uncertainty is terrifying America’s friends and partners: no trade treaty, international institution or alliance is sacrosanct.

                            America’s allies, though mostly horrified, are scrambling to congratulate him in the hope of limiting the damage he might cause. Other demagogues who denounce elites and the liberal, multilateral, rules-based order are elated. Florian Philippot, an adviser to Marine Le Pen, leader of the xenophobic National Front (FN) in France, exulted on Twitter: “Their world is falling apart. Ours is being built.”

                            The one area of foreign policy about which Mr Trump’s views are clear and consistent is trade. He has grumbled about it since the 1980s, when he would appear on TV and claim that Japan was robbing America blind (by selling Americans reliable cars at reasonable prices). On the campaign trail, he has redoubled his anti-trade tirades. Whether addressing grey-haired ex-factory hands in Ohio or greeting reporters at his brass-plated skyscraper in Manhattan, he has denounced incompetent and corrupt elites for shipping jobs abroad. China is “killing us”, Mr Trump told The Economist last year. “The money that they took out of the United States is the greatest theft in the history of our country.” (In fact, the money in question was willingly paid for Chinese products.)


                            Depending on the week, Mr Trump’s remedies have included a promise to declare China a currency manipulator, and threats to slap tariffs of 5%, 10% or even 45% on imports to close America’s trade deficit (see chart 1). He has vowed to tweak the tax code and browbeat the bosses of such giant firms as Ford, Apple and Boeing until they make more of their products at home. >>>>>>>>>>>>

                            æ, !

                            Hannia - Hania - Mighthelp


                            • #15
                              Piecemaker Part 2

                              Miffed with NAFTA
                              Speaking before the election, Mr Trump’s senior trade adviser, Dan DiMicco, the former boss of Nucor, a big steelmaker, set out several actions the president will take in his first 100 days. These include starting to renegotiate trade pacts such as the NAFTA accord with Mexico and Canada (and threatening to pull out if they won’t play ball). Every future trade agreement, among them the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) between America and 11 other Asia-Pacific countries, and the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP) with the European Union (EU), will be put on hold. “Whether they go forward depends on whether we can return to balanced trade, and whether they add to GDP growth,” Mr DiMicco said. “The era of trade deficits is over. It will be: let’s talk, but otherwise we put tariffs on.”

                              Mr DiMicco cited the decision by Ronald Reagan (a favourite of Trump supporters) to impose a 45% tariff on Japanese motorcycles in the 1980s: “That brought people to the negotiating table.” Yet it seems implausible that trading partners will stand idly by should America raise tariffs. A trade war would come as protectionism is already on the rise. The World Trade Organisation predicts that global trade this year will grow less quickly than the world’s GDP for the first time in 15 years.

                              The Peterson Institute for International Economics (PIIE), a think-tank, has estimated the impact of Mr Trump’s trade policies under three scenarios, ranging from “aborted trade war”, in which Mr Trump is forced to lower tariffs within a year of imposing them, to a “full trade war” with Mexico and China. In the former case, global supply chains are disrupted and 1.3m private-sector American jobs are lost; in the latter, the damage includes the loss of 4.8m American jobs and would spill over into the services sector, too. Adam Posen of the PIIE says Mr Trump’s trade policies would be “horribly destructive”.

                              Neighbour makes bad fences
                              They may prove even more devastating abroad, especially in Mexico, where the peso slumped against the dollar. Enrique Peña Nieto, the Mexican leader, was chastised for inviting Mr Trump for talks in August. Mr Trump’s habit of insulting Mexican immigrants and his rallying cry—that he would build a wall along America’s southern border and make Mexico pay for it—have earned him much hostility in Latin America. But Mr Peña may now feel vindicated, as he has to deal with the president of his giant northern neighbour.

                              Mr Trump’s victory comes, cruelly, just as left-wing populism in Latin America is in retreat, opening opportunities for closer trade between the two halves of the Americas. Before the election, Latin Americans’ opinion of the United States was warmer than at any point this century. Mr Trump’s victory risks rekindling anti-yanqui sentiments, especially if he repudiates Barack Obama’s policy of normalising relations with Cuba.

                              Across the northern border, meanwhile, Canada frets about the economic harm that will be caused should NAFTA collapse. The United States buys about three-quarters of Canada’s exports. Some Canadians fondly imagine that a wave of young, well-educated Americans will move north, as they did during the 1970s. However, this is unlikely. A Trump presidency will hardly scare people in the way that the prospect of being drafted to fight in Vietnam did. (As Mr Trump doubtless recalls, though he was lucky enough to receive five deferments during the war.)

                              Mr Trump has repeatedly said that America’s willingness to defend its traditional allies should depend on whether they pay their fair share for their defence—which in Mr Trump’s view includes paying America in cash to cover the costs of protecting them. America has a justified complaint: it spends far more on defence than its European and Japanese allies put together (see chart 2). But Mr Trump risks upending the basis of post-war global security—particularly in Asia, where China is menacing its neighbours; and in Europe, where Russia has annexed Crimea and stirred a proxy war in eastern Ukraine. >>>>>>>>>>>

                              æ, !

                              Hannia - Hania - Mighthelp