Donald Trump gave his first major speech since his inauguration in an address to Congress, which was really an address to the American people.
I tuned in late. I turned it on just before 10:00 EST. It showed a woman in tears listening to thunderous applause. My wife immediately said that she must be a widow of a fallen soldier. My response: I only know of one fallen soldier in combat since Trump became president. Sure enough, it was the widow of this U.S. soldier.
Trump stated, quoting General Mattis, that “Ryan was a part of a highly successful raid that generated large amounts of vital intelligence that will lead to many more victories in the future against our enemies.”
Ryan Owens was a Navy seal who died on January 29, 2017, just nine days after Trump took office. He died in a raid in Yemen.
When I heard about his death, my first thought was: “I didn’t know there were U.S. boots on the ground in Yemen.” I knew the U.S. helped Saudi Arabia in starving and drone bombing the people of Yemen, but I didn’t know there were troops on the ground. It doesn’t surprise me though.
Of the seven countries that Trump tried to put a temporary immigration ban on, the U.S. is bombing and killing civilians in 6 of them. The seventh is Iran, which the U.S. has imposed sanctions and threatened war repeatedly.
This widow was put out there by Trump as a political pawn. She was being used for political purposes. Trump followed in the footsteps of many presidents before him. I had slight hope that maybe he was better than that, but apparently not.
This woman’s husband did not die in a highly successful raid. If it was successful at all, it was only for the military-industrial complex and the establishment that is so thrilled with war and empire. Are we supposed to believe he was there doing something important other than helping to starve and murder innocent people in Yemen?
This is the militarism that is so rampant in the United States. Can people wake up and wonder why this guy was in Yemen in the first place? Does anyone honestly believe he was defending our freedom by being in Yemen?
Trump’s overall speech (which I read the text of) was horrible from a libertarian viewpoint. The only good thing about it is that he didn’t threaten war with Russia or Iran, although he did mention imposing new sanctions on Iran, which could be seen as an act of war.
Trump was more politically correct than normal, and he did not put any emphasis on the things that libertarians would normally cheer.
On economics, he continues to be terrible. He used the tyrant Lincoln in order to defend his proposed tariffs. He keeps saying we need to hire American and buy American. Trump is either playing on the economic ignorance of the populace, or he is economically ignorant himself. I think it is both. We should not be trying to save jobs in the United States.
While Trump says he is going to cut income taxes and corporate taxes, we can’t really be sure to what extent and if there will be tax hikes in tandem. Still, it doesn’t matter much because he doesn’t want to cut government spending, which is the biggest economic problem there is. Instead, he proposes one trillion dollars in new infrastructure spending. He also says he wants one of the largest increases in national defense spending in American history.
Tax cuts won’t mean much if government spending continues to balloon. It is still capital that is being sucked out of the private sector and being misallocated. It is money being spent according to politicians and bureaucrats, and not being spent or saved by the individuals who actually earned it.
Trump also said he wants to “make childcare accessible and affordable” and “to help ensure new parents have paid family leave”. I guess he was channeling Bernie Sanders on this.
Actually, the whole speech could have been taken out of the Bill Clinton playbook. It was actually classic Clinton. He had the welfare programs. He had the widows and the tears. He had all of the new government spending, while still pretending to be a defender of freedom.
This speech might have somewhat pleased the establishment. It might have pleased some of those who live in a state of economic ignorance, although I’m sure many in that same group were opposed to his speech simply because the words were being spoken by Trump.
From a libertarian perspective, this speech was mostly a disaster. He was bad on almost everything. If this is any indication of how the next four years will be, then I am not going to feel sorry for Trump.
Stocks continue to hit all-time highs. The Dow went above 21,000 after his speech. The economy may be in a mini-boom cycle right now, at least in terms of stocks, but it isn’t going to last. The longer it lasts, the more painful it will be. Trump is most likely going to have to deal with this. Maybe he can find someone who understands some basic economics that he will listen to. One can always dream.