By Mason Mohon | USA
It was bound to happen sooner or later.
The Donald had been looking up for me, to be honest. As a radical libertarian, I am always hesitant to put my support behind any president, but the man almost swayed me. Almost.
During the election cycle, I was hard-set against Mr. Trump mostly for his protectionist trade outlook. It was a call-back to the Republicans of old: promote business in the U.S. by removing regulations (yay) but also increasing tariffs (boo!).
On inauguration day, I walked away from the Washington Mall fuming with disappointment and anger that I just saw the new president give a speech focused on promoting the American worker and “bringing jobs back” to the United States. Protectionist rhetoric of this sort always tends to set off the alarms in my Hazlitt-filled mind, so it was understandable that I felt this way.
To my surprise, though, he didn’t seem to carry out very publicly any of these grand promises. On the other hand, his first week was filled with executive orders, some nasty and authoritarian, but some glorious, particularly his order that every new regulation put in place would need to repeal two existing ones. While this doesn’t make much sense as an actual policy action (regulation was barely defined), it did set a precedent for what the Trump presidency was going to look like.
At that point, though, I was still extremely hesitant.
Then nearly a year later the tax cuts came around. The Republicans had seemingly proven themselves to be incompetent when it came to repealing Obamacare, but they cut taxes with flying colors. That is, flying colors as compared to their regular uselessness.
I thought to myself: “Man, that is pretty awesome. Taxes are hella theft, so thank god these are going down.” I began to budge. Trump had taken a pretty positive stance in my view, but this all changed very quickly.
I looked at my phone yesterday only to see a news notification that Trump is putting a 30% tariff on solar cells and washing machines.
Obviously, his intention is to save jobs in the U.S., particularly those in manufacturing. This fallacious reasoning has been debunked many times over – these jobs are outsourced to foreign nations because it is cheaper to make them there. If they are cheaper to make there, they will be cheaper to buy here, meaning that real wages will go up. If they are built here, they are more expensive because of wage and labor laws, in addition to an evolving workforce. Real wages are driven down, and U.S. citizens have less wealth to spend on other things that will boost the economy.
To add insult to injury, this isn’t even going to work. The Guardian reported that this tariff will cost the United States jobs, not give it more. Our real wages are going down, we have fewer jobs, less wealth is able to be used, and we lose out on a valuable source of energy.
Whoop dee doo.
Donald Trump is an immensely successful businessman and a charismatic speaker, two things I admire a lot. He is not an intellectual nor an economist, though, which is showing through in his actions.
There are still three years left, though, which means that there is time to make up for this blunder. Whether or not that will happen is not something that I know.
Charlie Gengler | USA
With his biggest success of the year, Trump’s presidency is turning out to be a dream come true for the small government types. He gave to his country the biggest reform of our wretched tax system in decades, saving U.S. citizens thousands. But the most important part of his tax plan is by far his cut for corporations. He lowered their taxes down to 21%, still higher than that of the socialist Europeans. Many a pundit of the left claimed that this was stealing. Yet, with the bill passed, they are proven wrong, and libertarians across the country rejoice. After all, less taxation is less theft. This comes off the back of a slew of free market-oriented decisions.
He started off manning a blitzkrieg on Obama-era regulations, freezing all regulations until expressly approved by his administration. He also provided aid to those negatively affected by Obamacare, both of these on his first day in office. He enacted a small review of federal regulations, studying there impact on domestic manufacturing, but the big one came just six days later, on January 30. He wrote in executive order 13771, which decreed, “Unless prohibited by law, whenever an executive department… publicly proposes… new regulation, it shall identify at least two existing regulations to be repealed,” and at the end of the next month, he began enforcing this order. This was, and still is, huge. It has, over the course of eleven months, eliminated 800+ regulations. He went on to eliminate regulations in matters of climate, education and other matters.
Reducing regulations is only a slice of the pie, Trump has gone for nearly the whole shebang. He has taken more libertarian stances on climate change, backing away from global pressures, and taking a hard stance on climate laws. His trepidation with global politics shows his hesitations towards global government, the nightmare of many a small-government individual. His stances on climate change are also inviting. Libertarians, by principle, are against laws concerning climate in almost all circumstances, therefore we should implore Trump to continue this path.
Moreover, his stances on firearms are consistent with libertarian values. He is against regulation on guns in every instance so far. Trump is not only consistent with liberty valuing people on the 2nd amendment though, for his views on LGBT issues tend to fall in line with us. He supports gay marriage, one of the few Republicans to do so, but also, by proxy of the DOJ, supports the baker in the controversial case yet to come to the supreme court, Masterpiece Cakeshop Ltd. v. Colorado Civil Rights Commission. The president’s approval of the store, in this case, is vital to our republic. Without it, the 1st amendment is under serious threat.
The only real complaint against Trump from libertarians came during his campaign, about the time when he was threatening libel laws. The only problem? He has yet to pose any threat to not only free speech but all major values consistent with our beliefs. You might have qualms about his military policies or his stance on immigration, but, so far, he has been the smallest government president since Reagan.