The Trump Presidency: One-Year Libertarian Review

It has been one year since Donald Trump was inaugurated as president and delivered a speech that promised to shift power out of Washington DC (the swamp) and back to the people.

It is still somewhat surreal that Trump was elected president.  It isn’t so much because he was a reality tv star or he can be loud and somewhat obnoxious at times; it is because he defied the establishment and still managed to win.

Aside from Fox News, just about the entire television industry was against Trump.  Even with Fox News, it had Megyn Kelly at the time, along with several war hawks, who vehemently opposed Trump.  And the establishment media’s opposition to Trump wasn’t the same as opposition to Romney or Bush.  It was, and still is, absolute hatred.

So just the fact that Trump was able to win the presidency on at least a somewhat anti-establishment platform should give us great hope.  He went into South Carolina and said that Bush had lied us into war in Iraq.  He said he wanted to get along with Putin in Russia.  He said we shouldn’t be footing the bill for NATO.  He was certainly inconsistent, but he dared to question the U.S. empire in his campaign.  For that reason, it is amazing he won, and those who love liberty should recognize that, even if they don’t like Donald Trump.

It was also very entertaining to watch the election results come in and the reactions of the establishment media pundits.  They were shocked and squirming in their seats.  It showed that their opinions didn’t matter as much as what they thought.

Now that Trump has been president for one year, we can assess the positives and negatives.  He has mostly been a disaster, but there are certainly some good points.

He pulled the U.S. out of the Paris Agreement.  I’m not sure how much it really means, but even symbolism can matter.

The FCC under Trump pulled out of net neutrality.  This is positive, as anything should be celebrated where the government has less regulatory authority, even if the internet service providers rely on local government-granted monopolies to a large extent.

I have written extensively on the tax reform, and a lot of it is good.  The cut in the high corporate tax rates is especially positive.  But as I’ve pointed out, it unfortunately does not address the issue of spending.

I have heard some Trump defenders say that Trump has been good for liberty because he hasn’t done much.  In other words, libertarians should want someone who doesn’t do much in office.  The problem with this argument is that it isn’t true, and it’s not going to be true in the future.  Unless Trump is being overridden by Congress, he is partially responsible for the spending that comes out of Washington DC.  It is hard to say that a president is “doing nothing” when the federal government is spending $4 trillion (and growing) per year.  That’s a lot to pay for nothing.

It isn’t that Trump isn’t doing much.  It is more that he is maintaining the status quo in a lot of areas, including overall spending.  On spending, if anything, he is proposing even more than Obama, so we can’t even call it the status quo.

In terms of foreign policy, Trump has been mostly bad.  His Secretary of State, Rex Tillerson, is actually less hawkish than a lot of other potential people who could have been put in that position.  Tillerson is very far from having anything resembling a libertarian position on foreign policy, but he is less disastrous, at least so far, than past people in that position, including Hillary Clinton.

Trump has mostly fallen in line with the establishment on foreign policy.  He sent missiles into Syria.  He continues all of the wars.  He continues the U.S. government’s policy of cozying up to Israel and Saudi Arabia.

Perhaps one good thing that Trump did as compared to Obama is that he stopped overtly funding ISIS.  That is why ISIS has broken up to a large degree.  There are still a lot of terrorists out there to be sure (that is what happens when you kill their relatives and destroy their countries), but at least the U.S. government has seemed to withdraw its heavy support of ISIS, the supposed enemy.

Trump did appoint a lot of bad people, including Nikki Haley.  He is getting a lot of bad advice.  Luckily, he has not started any major new wars yet, but there is still time for that.

Overall, Trump’s promises to drain the swamp have not come true.  If anything, Trump is now just a weird creature living in the swamp.  Most of his promises were empty.  He may or may not get the wall.  Obamacare, while taking a hit, has still not been fully repealed.  There are some things we can be especially thankful that he did not fulfill his promises.  High tariffs is one area.  The wall is another area, although I recognize that some libertarians are not opposed to one.

Even some of the smaller things he hinted at have been left behind. I was hoping he was going to have a committee – headed by RFK Jr. – to study the ill effects of vaccines.  I guess the pharmaceutical lobby was too powerful.

As far as Russiagate, I think the whole thing is a scam.  The crimes were committed by the Clintons, the Obama administration, and the intelligence/ spy agencies.  It is amazing that it is still used as a story against Trump when there is no evidence of anything of significance, except for the crimes of the people who set the whole thing up.

One of the most frustrating things of the Trump presidency is his lack of use of the bully pulpit.  He uses Twitter, but not everyone is on Twitter.  And not everyone hears or sees the exact messages that he sends.

Trump should start making speeches in primetime.  The networks will essentially be forced to cover the speeches.  He should lay out the corruptness of the investigators in Russiagate.  He should lay out his case and point out that there is no evidence other than hearsay from a few anonymous sources in the intelligence agencies.

Trump should also pick some easy fights to win.  The Bureau of Land Management (BLM) and the FBI clearly lied in the Bundy case.  Trump should explain this in a primetime speech and propose massive budget cuts to each of the agencies.  They obviously have way too much money to spend if they are spending millions trying to prosecute people through lying and evidence tampering.

Trump is obviously very smart in certain ways.  He has some good political instincts, which is why he was able to get the Republican nomination and get elected.  On the other hand, he is not an intellectual.  Of course, we don’t want an intellectual who thinks they know how to run other people’s lives better than they do.  But it would be nice if Trump had some intellectual curiosity other than just watching Fox News.  It would be nice if he would read a book on some basic economics.

I don’t know if Trump will survive four years, but he has made it through one.  I will continue to be anti-anti-Trump.  In other words, I oppose his deepest enemies in the swamp.  His greatest enemies are the political left and the hardcore war hawks.  They truly do have Trump derangement syndrome, and they really don’t even make sense any more.  They grasp at straws trying to point out every flaw of Donald Trump.  And they get offended, or pretend to get offended, when Trump sends out a Tweet that is impolite.  But they don’t get offended when Trump or any of the presidents before him drop bombs on innocent people overseas.

The biggest positive of the Trump presidency is that he is helping to expose the whole rotten system.  Some of it is intentional on his part, and some of it is not.  While I don’t hold out any great hope for the Trump presidency in the next three years, let’s hope he doesn’t start any major wars, and let’s hope he keeps exposing the corrupt system that is Washington DC.

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