The Trump Years
A Commentary by John Stossel
Two more weeks until the new administration begins!
I wonder if President Donald Trump will stick to his campaign promises -- like reducing immigration and slamming consumers by imposing a 35 percent tariff.
But it could have been much worse.
Bernie Sanders wanted to make college free, even though professors say classes are filled with privileged students who party and just kill time.
Both Sanders and Hillary Clinton promised a higher minimum wage and a thousand other new commandments that would do more harm than good.
Every Republican candidate vowed to increase defense spending, even though the U.S. is going broke and already spends more than the next seven biggest nations combined, while half the democratic world freeloads off America's armed forces.
I'm relieved that many of Trump's promises were vague or contradictory. That allows me to hope that he'll only do things that I like.
At this point, I'm in somewhat of an infatuation period, like that afflicting a teenager excited about a new boyfriend or girlfriend.
No, I'm not infatuated with Trump. His magical thinking scares me. What gives me optimism are many of Trump's appointments. He's surrounded himself with people who "get it," who understand the harm done by overregulation and the benefits created by economic growth.
Larry Kudlow as economic advisor?! Paul Atkins, Andy Puzder and Betsy DeVos in important positions?! Who would have thought that?! Not me.
I bet Mitt Romney wouldn't have appointed them.
I also celebrate waking up and realizing that our new president-elect is not Hillary Clinton. We don't have to suffer through more years of progressive sanctimony.
So what will Donald Trump's presidency bring? Will America be "great again"? Will we "have win after win" until we "get sick and tired of winning"? I doubt it.
It would be easier to judge progress had the Libertarian Party candidate won. We could measure whether the party kept its promise to shrink government, cut spending, lower taxes, decrease overseas military commitments, deregulate and butt out of people's private lives.
Libertarian candidate Gary Johnson, sounding like the Founders of our nation, often answered reporters' grandiose questions by saying, "I'm not running for king." Unlike Donald Trump, a narcissistic bully who often tells us he's "in charge," Johnson understood that decision-making power is best left in the hands of individual citizens.
Libertarians also respect Friedrich Hayek's insight: "The curious task of economics is to demonstrate to men how little they know about what they imagine they can design."
Will such modesty carry weight in Trump's administration? I'm still hopeful. So are stock market investors. But none of us knows enough to be sure.
I assume 2017 will be about the same as the years before, even with someone as unusual as Trump in the White House.
He talks about "draining the swamp," but we've seen how quickly he can pivot back to business as usual.
Many Iowa voters love the federal government's ethanol subsidies (even though they're cruel and expensive to most of America), so during Iowa's Republican primary, Trump joined the ethanol-praising club. In fact, he said regulators should force gas stations to increase the ethanol they use.
It was a pander to try to take votes from Trump's main Iowa rival, Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas, who courageously said the ethanol mandate should be phased out.
Trump is a businessman, so I assume he knew that the ethanol mandate is a special interest scam. But in Iowa, Trump just said, "Ethanol is terrific."
I fear that 2017 will bring us more of the same: politicians doing what they think will make the loudest voters happy.
They want us to think we can have it both ways -- that we can reduce deficits while boosting spending on infrastructure and defense and not touching entitlements, etc. That's what Donald Trump has promised.
I hope he breaks many of his promises soon.
John Stossel is the author of "No They Can't! Why Government Fails -- But Individuals Succeed." For other Creators Syndicate writers and cartoonists, visit www.creators.com.
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