President Trump Has Done Almost Nothing

Just weeks into Donald Trump’s presidency, you would think that everything had changed. The uproar over the president’s tweets grows louder by the day, as does concern over the erratic, haphazard and aggressive stance of the White House toward critics and those with different policy views. It is the illusion of a presidency, not the real thing.

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Will Trump Cut the Red Tape?

Of the many polarizations of the United States today, the battle over regulation is particularly fierce and many years in the making. Over the past decades, since at least the presidency of Ronald Reagan, the right and the Republican Party have come to view regulation as the premier sign of government overreach, stifling freedoms and hobbling economic growth. The left and the Democrats for the most part see regulation as the vital bulwark protecting the mass of Americans from corporate and government abuse.

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Trump’s Economic Team of Rivals

Donald Trump ran his company and campaign, as many have observed, like an episode of “Game of Thrones”: Pit various factions against one another and see who comes out on top. It may be an inelegant and crude way to manage, but it has a certain logic if you are interested in power and who can wield it effectively. 

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Trump’s Year of Magical Economic Thinking

 It is a relief that Donald Trump has finally turned to policy. Because now we can see, finally, that his policy ideas are as frothy, bombastic and detached from the world as the rest of his rhetoric. What the GOP candidate outlined in his big economic speech in Detroit on Monday relies entirely on an outdated theory (trickle-down economics)

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‘Have You No Sense of Decency, Mr. Trump?’

“Have you no sense of decency, sir, at long last? Have you left no sense of decency?” Those cutting words, delivered on national television, effectively ended the career of Senator Joe McCarthy. For four years, McCarthy had enjoyed a kind of immunity as he smeared anyone he pleased while on a national witch hunt for Communist sympathizers. 

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Why Trump Can’t Become a Dictator

Not only hasn’t he retracted his pledge to ban Muslims from America’s shores, Donald Trump has doubled down on it over the past week. In the wake of the Orlando shootings, Trump announced that as president he would “suspend immigration from areas of the world where there is a proven history of terrorism against the U.S.” 

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An Economy of Chicken Littles

The “nattering nabobs of negativism” (a phrase we have to thank Spiro Agnew for, via William Safire) are out in full force again in the financial and pundit world. While there was only occasional mention of the economy during the Republican debate last week, both the GOP contenders and market mavens seem to agree that the world is going to hell. They have different reasons: The Republicans think the world has become dangerously unstable and that Obama is a cause. Investors, who have pushed global financial markets sharply lower (the S&P 500 is now down almost 10 percent since January 1) to the worst start to a year ever, see the root cause as heedless central banks, a U.S. economy grinding to a halt, and a collapsing debt-laden China.

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Hey, Donald: Washington Is Working!

The view of Washington as a dysfunctional system is deeply entrenched—and of course it’s the most popular meme on the GOP campaign trail. “Nothing works in our country,” Donald Trump said again at Tuesday night’s debate, repeating his favorite (and seemingly most effective) appeal to a base that’s disgusted with politics as usual. Yet the past week has been a blow to cynics everywhere, because lo and behold, Congress, the White House, and the Federal Reserve all acted on vital economic policy and did so with minimal drama.

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How the Economy Helps Trump

The American economy suffers from a split personality, and Donald Trump appears to be the chief beneficiary of this illness. A study just released by Pew shows that for the first time in decades, the middle class is no longer in the majority in the United States. Instead, the upper and lower classes are. Now the middle class—defined as people earning between two-thirds and twice the median income (from $42,000 to $126,000 a year)—constitute just under 50 percent of the earning populace. Twenty-nine percent are in the lower brackets, and 21 percent in the upper.

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Janet Yellen's Quiet Revolution

Donald Trump turned his rhetorical bazooka on Janet Yellen this week, accusing the Fed chair of being “highly political” and merely doing President Barack Obama’s bidding by declining to raise interest rates. In this as in so many things he says, Trump was issuing wisdom from his rear end, but the GOP candidate from clowntown did serve one useful purpose. He prompted us to ask yet again: What is Janet Yellen’s game?

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