Saturday, December 30, 2017

Years of living dangerously

The year 2017 has turned out to be a year with much noise but little bang, although one should still be careful about the potential impact on 2018 and beyond.  Most of this is obviously due to Trump in the White House.  First, right off the bat, the much hyped RussianGate has remained a dud and will likely be one of the so many scares in the "land of the brave".  Despite some indictments and pleads, it is hard to imagine Trump himself did anything illegal there, partly and simply because he is just not smart enough to be too vicious when he was not in power.  

But once he is in power since 2017, he and the GOP need each other so badly that they would do anything to remain there, promises, consistency, and decency be damned.  Again, not to say the establishment Dem are much better, but at least at the moment they are more united to the left, which on paper look out more for the poor and minorities.  One item Trump has been successful is to install a lot of conservative judges in the system.  The convictionless Trump needs this for the support from GOP, and GOP got their wishes, and Dem are powerless to stop them.  This clearly has long-term consequences.

Another thing Trump and GOP tried to do is to stop ACA, but mostly failed.  Somewhat surprising, since they had the head counts and have been talking it up for years.  But they managed to kill the ACA mandate in the year-end tax bill, and Trump can continuously undermine ACA with more administrative actions.

Then there is the tax bill, no secret that most of the money goes to big companies and rich people.  Not so rich people may get a tax break too, but the tiny break will likely be eaten up by the "welfare reforms" already contemplated by the GOP for 2018.  By the inflation Trump demanded and likely gets with simple economics.  And by the increasing deficits and debts, since the trickle down economics the tax bill sold for has never worked and will not work in 2018 or later.  All at the same time they are increasing the pentagon budget, which is now essentially another entitlement program that nobody is talking reform about.  So people who own stocks will be better off, but most Americans don't, and they will have lower living standards in a couple of years.

Lastly, in the international scene, a lot of potential devastation just because of Trump being Trump, and GOP wanting to stick it to the Dem.  Trump's words and orders in 2017 have set a stage for more conflicts in 2018: Iran, NK, Israel, etc.  The most dangerous part is that many Dem will go along with it.  When the Trump economy is not working, inventing a war is good for the bottomline.

In short, major disasters averted in 2017, but the chance only increases in 2018.

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