Trump’s 100 Days

Trump’s 100 Days

donald-trump

Today, Saturday, April 29, 2017, is Donald Trump’s 100th day in office and following tradition since the presidency of Franklin Delano Roosevelt (1932-1945), Americans seek to understand what their new president has accomplished and what he has not judged against his campaign promises. Against that often flexible standard, Trump has failed to deliver on his number one promise – to repeal and replace Obamacare, his predecessor’s proudest legislative achievement, but has accomplished his second most important campaign promise – to nominate and have confirmed by the Senate a conservative judge to the Supreme Court of the United States (SCOTUS). Moreover, as we neared the end of this period, there are unmistakable signs that the republican majority in Congress is close to reaching an agreement on  replacing Obamacare with GOP legislation, which would represent a major victory  for Trump, albeit, not in the first 100 days. More importantly still, there are persistent rumors, emanating from the chairman of the Senate’s Judiciary Committee, Chuck Grassley, himself, that this coming Summer, the swing vote at SCOTUS, Judge Kennedy (80 years old) will resign and give Trump the opportunity to appoint another conservative on the court. If this happens, the ideological coloration of the court will swing firmly to the right for years to come.

 

In other, less weighty but nonetheless important matters of national significance, Trump has been fairly successful, perhaps more than could have been expected. The key reason for that is because the widely expected conflict between Trump and the republican majorities in Congress has not materialized. And the reason for that, in turn, is the fact that Trump voters, as numerous polls have shown, have remained loyal to him by margins as high as 96% to 4%. This has made possible for Trump to pass 28 pieces of conservative legislation and 25 executive orders that have begun chipping at the bloated “administrative” state and “rule by regulation” installed by Obama over the past 8 years. In the process, Trump has reportedly saved $18 billion to the tax payer. One of these executive orders (related to immigration) has had a huge effect on the willingness of potential illegal immigrants to cross the border and the current rate of illegal crossings is said by the federal government to be at a 17 year low.

 

At the very end of his 100 days, Trump unveiled a plan to reform the hugely complex and dysfunctional American tax system. The key element in it is to lower the corporate tax rate to 15% from the current average of 39.1%, which is the highest corporate tax among the developed nations of the OECD and a huge obstacle to faster economic growth. Mostly because of it, the average rate of growth during Obama’s tenure, following the end of the recession in June of 2009,  at 2.1% was the among the slowest in history, compared to a growth rate of 3.3% in the years 1974- 2001, and higher still during the Reagan years.

 

Apart from policies that the Trump administration claims as accomplishments, it is important to mention things that were widely expected but did not happen. Two things stand out here. Positive things said by Trump about Putin, during the election campaign, and money received by his short-lived chairman of the National Security Council, General Michael Flynn, from Russian and Turkish sources, were interpreted by many of Trump’s opponents to mean that his administration will be pro-Russian at the expense of the West. None of these speculations were even remotely realistic and they were proven groundless when Trump bombed Assad for using poison gas on his own population, including women and children, at Idlib. Perhaps nothing characterizes American opinion of Russia’s ridiculous efforts to deny responsibility for this barbaric attack, than Secretary of State Tillerson’s harsh words directed at the Kremlin that it was “either complicit or incompetent” in this matter.

 

The other and just as irrational interpretation of US intentions under Trump was the nearly hysterical reaction to Trump’s justified request of America’s NATO allies to pay their fair share of military expenditures, which they have not been for many years. This was interpreted by many as an outright abandonment of the Atlantic alliance by Washington. While numerous alliance problems remain, steady reassurances by key American policy-makers, such as Trump, Secretary Tillerson and Pentagon chief, Gen. Mattis, as well as, small but steady increases in European defense budgets this year, have reassured the alliance that there is no reason to panic and that America under Trump remains what it has always been since WWII – the ultimate guarantor of European security.

 

By Alex Alexiev

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