You’d think at some point I would get tired of writing about Trump. It may happen, but not today. Let’s look at the long term impact of Trump’s regime.
I’m using the phrase long term to mean 5-10 years in the future. Though most of the impacts will probably start sooner, and continue for much longer. Also, I’m not thinking just about Trump, but the other two parts of the federal government as well.
Number one. America’s standing at home and abroad will drop. Trump pulled out of the Trans Pacific Protocal. The trade deal that encompassed most of the countries around the Pacific Ocean. Many people have pointed out, rightly so, that the TPP would be great for American companies, not so great for regular people in all the countries that signed on to it. But the whole point of that deal was to limit China’s influence over the world economy. Without it, it’s safe to say China will increase its economic power, and hence, political power. Given that Trump appears to be Putin’s loyal puppy, it’s also a safe bet that Russia will increase its own powers as well. In addition to that, Trump has gone on the record, many times, that US elections are rigged, and that we kill people too and are no better than our adversaries. We are losing any moral high ground that we could previously claim.
Number two. Economic rules are going to be rewritten. If Trump accomplishes what he says he is trying to do we will see our deficits increase, the US debt increase to even crazier levels, and fewer abilities to react to disasters. Trump wants to lower taxes. That’s great, except that it means the government will take in fewer tax dollars when we already take in less than we spend. He wants to limit immigration. Again, that might be good, but fewer people working generally means less economic activity, which means less economic growth. He wants to increase our fossil fuel production, which might put some people back to work, but means we will miss out on the newest technological advances in renewable energy. Those benefits will go to China and India instead. Taken together, this means that our debt will explode, our ability to pay it will drop, and the US will get closer to defaulting. What this means is anyone’s guess. We have no idea what happens when such a huge economic player suddenly becomes much weaker than it was. Economists will have a field day trying to work out what it all means.
Number three. Private citizens power will increase. We’re already seeing this in guys like Elon Musk, Jeff Bezos, Peter Thiel, and the Koch brothers. They’re taking on enormous projects which have the potential to change not only the technological landscape, but the social and political landscapes as well. These are projects which only the US government had the resources to pull off before.
Lastly, more and more of the US will resemble third world countries. We already have a fairly high number of areas where poverty is endemic. Detroit, the area around New Orleans, Camden all are places where escape from poverty is damn near impossible. More and more areas will resemble we fail to prepare for natural disasters, and fail to repair the damage afterwards. The economy is going to take a turn for the worst. If nothing else simply because it can’t grow forever, but also greater automation will mean fewer jobs, and those that remain will largely have low wages.
I know, I know. There’s a lot of pessimism here. But it’s best to go into the future with open eyes. Hopefully, talking about it will help us prepare for it.