Wednesday, March 01, 2017


The Trump speech

Last night, Donald Trump gave a joint address to Congress that served as a sort of State of the Union speech.  You can see the full transcript here.

He stayed on script. He started out by condemned threats against Jewish centers and the killing of two Indian immigrants. He avoided using his time to rage against the press. That all was good.

In terms of initiatives, here were some of the things he argued for:

-- infrastructure spending of $1 trillion from public and private sources
-- lower taxes for businesses and the middle class
-- building a border wall
-- creating the greatest speeding increase in history on the military
-- develop a plan to "demolish and destroy" ISIS.
-- institute a "merit-based" immigration system
-- replace Obamacare with tax credits and expanded Health Savings Accounts
-- fund "school choice for disadvantaged youth"
-- start a new Homeland Security bureau called "Victims Of Immigration Crime Engagement"
-- increase funding for veterans

Probably everyone agrees with at least one of these, and disagrees with at least one. Some will recognize that the whole package is a budget-buster, especially if (as Trump has promised) the major entitlement programs of Social Security and Medicare are unchanged. Others will point out that it is unlikely the whole package, or even most of it, will survive the Congressional culling process.

What were your thoughts?

I think he's getting a late start. As I have mentioned many times, the Presidents with the most successful legislative records hit the ground running. The dropped concrete proposals for action on Congress immediately and got them passed within a few months. The longer it takes to get discussions going, the more locked in Members of Congress become. And the more they start thinking about the NEXT election.

IF the Pres can put away his mobile device, stop tweeting, limit the self-aggrandizement and hair trigger sensitivity, maybe he gets a few things on this done.

Like Obama, where he's going to have real impact is not through legal action, but through Executive Order and regulatory action. Which could lead to a LOT of litigation over the next several years.
Actually, during the two years he had with a friendly Congress, Obama did get some things done-- like Obamacare, which was a major initiative, right?

Also, IPLawGuy, when do you get here on Sunday? I need to figure out if we can make it all the way to Bismark.
I agree with the consensus that it was a great speech. As the list above is basically "heaven or hell" issues (who is against the victims of crimes perpetrated by illegal immigrants?), I actually agree with most of it in principle.

As for his legislative agenda (or lack thereof), I tend to believe the Trump admin has made a strategic decision to forego a big tax bill and/or maybe even the big infrastructure stimulus for this legislative session. I think they are banking on the palpable optimism in the biz sector and markets and also, very importantly, regulation relief (which can be driven by the executive) to carry (boost) the economy over the course of his first year.

Then they must show up next spring (2018) prepared to enact legislation on taxes and infrastructure but with some necessary momentum (imagine if the economy were to be growing at 4 percent in the final quarter of 2017). He might well be a very popular president asking Democrats in an election year to support him on spending money and lowering taxes. They would "resist" at their electoral peril.

You guys are talking about a really good con man read a pretty well crafted speech. The same serious flawed Republicant approach to governing was behind the words.

His singling out of immigrants as those who might victimize us was despicably snd blatantly political. Some people in a speech to the nation could call for us to support the victims of crimes committed by farmers from Waco. Jeff Sessions could seek support for victims of nappy haired criminals. That was a dreadful moment. It was probably one his few thoughts included in the speech. This made a pretty good television moment but not a lasting crutch for making the planned Republicant agenda produce good results. He told us his achievements and hopes ...I thought .. if only we could believe him.

We will all agree that the goals presented were admirable. His path to achieve these goals will be strewn with victims ( losers), conflict and a damaged planet.
For 70 years this is who he is. Watch his tiny hands while he shows you his tricks like last night
To date he has presented no new legislation. He has made no real positive contribution since taking office. He is a good liar, showman and salesman. Beware of moments like his address to Congress. Stay alert.

For 70 years Donald Trump has remained
I pretty much agree with John Osler (JO). It's hard to know what he really means when he says anything. Apparently, he even took a new turn when he talked about pathways to citizenship for some undocumented people.

Like JO said, the part about singling out the crimes of immigrants is dangerous. Today it is illegal immigrants. Tomorrow it is legal immigrants who commit crimes. After that, it is people who live in certain areas of Chicago. The most troubling thing I read in Mark's synopsis list is the special bureau within Homeland Security. It feels like a slippery slope.

John Willome (a.k.a. Hill Country Bear)
Don't put me down in any sort of pro-Trump category. I agree he's a complete con man.

Yes, Obama got Obamacare passed in his first term.... WAY too late, over a year after his inauguration. If it had passed in March or April 09, it would have been in place by the time of the '10 midterms and perhaps some of the Democrats wiped out in that election would have survived.
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