What Trump (and Obama) Got Wrong About Loyalty and Patriotism

In his inaugural address today, Donald Trump drew a connection between loyalty and patriotism, claiming that loyalty to country leads to individual virtue.

At the bedrock of our politics will be a total allegiance to the United States of America, and through our loyalty to our country, we will rediscover our loyalty to each other. When you open your heart to patriotism, there is no room for prejudice. The Bible tells us how good and pleasant it is when God’s people live together in unity.

In his first inaugural in 2009, Barack Obama also tied the two concepts together:

Our challenges may be new. The instruments with which we meet them may be new. But those values upon which our success depends—honesty and hard work, courage and fair play, tolerance and curiosity, loyalty and patriotism—these things are old. These things are true. They have been the quiet force of progress throughout our history. What is demanded then is a return to these truths. What is required of us now is a new era of responsibility—a recognition, on the part of every American, that we have duties to ourselves, our nation, and the world, duties that we do not grudgingly accept but rather seize gladly, firm in the knowledge that there is nothing so satisfying to the spirit, so defining of our character, than giving our all to a difficult task.

When you set aside Obama’s customary poetry and Trump’s habitual bluntness, both men are circling around the same idea: that loyalty to the state will lead Americans on a path to personal goodness. That working together toward a common goal of national greatness is the way to self-betterment. They’re far from alone in this view; hell, flirtation with the causal relationship between being a good man and a good citizen goes all the way back to Plato.

But for a refreshing contrast to this state-centered view of life in the-not-too-distant past, take a gander at the inaugural remarks of George H.W. Bush, who was unable to attend today due to illness:

We cannot hope only to leave our children a bigger car, a bigger bank account. We must hope to give them a sense of what it means to be a loyal friend, a loving parent, a citizen who leaves his home, his neighborhood, and town better than he found it….No President, no government, can teach us to remember what is best in what we are.

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You Can’t Resist Trump by Closing Your Eyes

I have serious concerns about a Trump Presidency. I’ve laid these out repeatedly in the past, but to summarize, they center around his authoritarian nature, a disregard for civil liberties, and lastly the fact that many of the people he has surrounded himself with posses an ideology which runs completely counter to the populist message he espouses. As I warned back on November 9th, in the post Americans Roll the Dice With President Donald Trump:

Trump will be a failure unless he brings the right people into his inner circle. This is of the utmost importance. Indeed, I knew for certain Obama was a total fraud the moment he appointed Larry Summers and Timothy Geithner to key positions within his administration. This is the area I think Trump is most vulnerable to making some very big mistakes.

Irrespective of my serious concerns, I desperately want Trump to succeed. America needs him to succeed. I’m confident that Trump will never read a single word of this, but it’s also possible someone with access to him will. If so, please consider my observations. The Republic depends on him unifying the people and helping to foster an environment in which every American has a opportunity for life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.

I’ve been very disappointed with a large number of Trump’s cabinet picks, and I think the people he has surrounded himself with in general will be a hindrance to populist polices that can help the American public. That said, I acknowledge he hasn’t actually done anything yet as President, so I’ll reserve further judgment for now.

Going forward, I will applaud Trump when he takes action I believe to be in the best interests of the people, and I will critique him when he does the opposite. This is what every thinking American should do, but I’m not delusional enough to expect it. I understand the inherent human desire to be tribal, attach yourself to a group and cheerlead your team. Unfortunate as that may be, it’s still very much a part of the world we live in.

continue reading

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Trump Redeclares War on Terror in Inaugural Address

Republicans got their wish today for a president that would utter the term “radical Islamic terrorism,” when Donald Trump promised to “unite the civilized world against radical Islamic terrorism, which we will eradicate from the face of the Earth.”

The use of the term became on issue on the campaign trail during the Republican primary season, one that stood in for the more complex question of how the war on terror ought to be conducted and what it meant. Trump’s use of the phrase came along with an expansive definition of what the war on terror meant.

The Obama administration laid the groundwork for this. The post-9/11 authorization for the use of military force has been used for counter-terrorism operations in North Africa and the Middle East, the Indian Subcontinent, and West and East Africa. The U.S. has targeted groups like Boko Haram and Al-Shabab, as well as Al-Qaeda and ISIS affiliates in places like Libya and Afghanistan, whose fighters are often too young to remember the attacks of September 11, 2001, let alone to have anything to do with planning, authorizing, committing, or aiding the attack, or harboring organizations or people who did, as the AUMF stipulates.

Trump’s promise to “reinforce old alliances and form new ones” suggests Trump is interested in expanding the global war on terror in places like Syria. Of the 26,000 bombs the U.S. was estimated to have dropped in 2016, about 12,000 are estimated to have been dropped on Syria, the most of any target country. Syria, along with Iraq and Afghanistan, are considered “areas of hostility” for U.S. government reporting purposes. The Obama administration insisted U.S. national security interests in Syria included the removal of Russia-ally Bashar Assad from power. Different parts of the U.S. government armed different sides of the conflict, some of which opposed each other. Disengaging from Syria and not permitting the Russian intervention to influence U.S. foreign policy-making is an altogether different prospect than aligning with Russia to prosecute the war on terror together.

“We will seek friendship and goodwill with the nations of the world, but we do so with the understanding that it is the right of all nations to put their own interests first,” Trump said in his inaugural address—U.S. policy makers should ask whether America’s best interests lie in more military operations around the world.

“We do not seek to impose our way of life on anyone,” Trump continued, “but rather to let it shine as an example. We will shine for everyone to follow.” That departed from Bush-era rhetoric. In his second inaugural address, President George W. Bush insisted that the “survival of liberty in our land increasingly depends on the success of liberty in other lands,” and so it would be U.S. policy “to seek and support the growth of democratic movements and institutions in every nation and culture, with the ultimate goal of ending tyranny in our world.”

Tyranny was Bush’s go-to word for the war on terror—he didn’t mention radical Islamic terrorism in his 2005 inaugural address. “There is only one force of history that can break the reign of hatred and resentment, and expose the pretensions of tyrants, and reward the hopes of the decent and tolerant,” Bush said in that address, “and that is the force of human freedom.” Freedom, of course, was another go-to word in talking about the war on terror.

Obama struck a similar tone, in 2009, describing the war on terror as a “war against a far-reaching network of violence and hatred” insisting Americans would “not apologize for our way of life, nor will we waver in its defense,” and promising terrorists the U.S. would defeat them. During the 2012 election, the Obama campaign pushed a narrative that the administration had essentially won the war on terror—the president took credit for ending the Iraq war despite trying to postpone the withdrawal, claimed the war in Afghanistan is coming to a close (it remains ongoing), and called ISIS (which the U.S. is fighting in Iraq today ) a JV squad.

“A decade of war is now ending,” Obama declared in his 2013 inaugural address—he was wrong. “We, the people, still believe that enduring security and lasting peace do not require perpetual war,” he observed. Yet both major candidates last year promised more of it, and Trump made his promise for the first time as president today. Sixteen years of bipartisan work on a culture of fear and paranoia about national security, and physical security and cyber security and any other kind of security fear mongers can exploit, is set to come into fruition under the Trump administration.

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White House Site Relaunches with Trump’s Populist Policy Proposals

Donald TrumpThe website for the White House has been updated and relaunched to fit the new President Donald Trump administration.

It is obviously pretty bare bones for now (you can read his inauguration speech here), but the issues section puts his agenda on open display. For those less interested in speeches and more interested in actual upcoming policy hints, it’s worth looking over to see where things are going. He has six sections—energy, foreign policy, jobs, military, law enforcement, and trade. Here’s a few interesting things worth noting, both good and bad:

The administration will embrace fracking.

Sound energy policy begins with the recognition that we have vast untapped domestic energy reserves right here in America. The Trump Administration will embrace the shale oil and gas revolution to bring jobs and prosperity to millions of Americans. We must take advantage of the estimated $50 trillion in untapped shale, oil, and natural gas reserves, especially those on federal lands that the American people own. We will use the revenues from energy production to rebuild our roads, schools, bridges and public infrastructure. Less expensive energy will be a big boost to American agriculture, as well.

Unfortunately, but not unsurprisingly, Trump is also “committed” to the white whale of “energy independence.” Just as with trade, America benefits when we get energy cheaply no matter where it comes from. It’s great that he recognizes that cheaper energy creates jobs (by reducing costs). It’s a shame he doesn’t realize it’s another good that can free Americans up to do other things if we can get it more cheaply elsewhere.

The administration will use military action to fight the Islamic State (and increase the size of the military)

Defeating ISIS and other radical Islamic terror groups will be our highest priority. To defeat and destroy these groups, we will pursue aggressive joint and coalition military operations when necessary. In addition, the Trump Administration will work with international partners to cut off funding for terrorist groups, to expand intelligence sharing, and to engage in cyberwarfare to disrupt and disable propaganda and recruiting.

The Trump administration is also calling to “rebuild” the military as though America still overwhelms every other country’s forces, saying “our military dominance must be unquestioned.” But he does also call for embracing diplomacy and his saber-rattling here is focused entirely on terrorist groups and has no suggestion of interference in other countries’ governance.

The administration is calling for a moratorium on new federal regulations.

As a lifelong job-creator and businessman, the President also knows how important it is to get Washington out of the way of America’s small businesses, entrepreneurs, and workers. In 2015 alone, federal regulations cost the American economy more than $2 trillion. That is why the President has proposed a moratorium on new federal regulations and is ordering the heads of federal agencies and departments to identify job-killing regulations that should be repealed.

Tim Carney at the Washington Examiner noticed last night that right as Barack Obama’s administration was packing up, the Department of Energy released a new rule that will likely kill off cheap incandescent three-way light bulbs. Libertarians and conservatives who love trade should be doing the best they can to push Trump into focusing on these kinds of issues. This is what is hurting both manufacturers and consumers. Foreign trade makes goods cheaper for Americans and should be supported. All these regulations make both the production and the consumption of goods more expensive. That’s where the focus should be. Speaking of which.

The administration is really committed to screwing up trade:

This strategy starts by withdrawing from the Trans-Pacific Partnership and making certain that any new trade deals are in the interests of American workers. President Trump is committed to renegotiating NAFTA. If our partners refuse a renegotiation that gives American workers a fair deal, then the President will give notice of the United States’ intent to withdraw from NAFTA.

It cannot be hammered enough: Foreign trade is not what is killing off American jobs. Increased manufacturing efficiency and automation is killing off jobs. Trump’s tactics will not bring jobs back. It will instead drive up prices of goods and will likely end up hurting the people Trump insists he’s helping. A new study analyzed the impacts of increased tariffs and a withdrawal from NAFTA and calculated that it would actually spike the prices of American cars and cost more than 30,000 manufacturing jobs within the United States.

Check out more of the Trump Administration’s White House site here. And get used to hearing “Trump Administration.”

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Donald Trump Is Wrong about Manufacturing and Economic Patriotism

How misinformed—delusional, even—is Donald Trump’s understanding of the economy? Totally. Here’s a key passage from his inauguration speech (full transcript after the jump):

We’ve made other countries rich while the wealth, strength and confidence of our country has dissipated over the horizon.

One by one, the factories shuttered and left our shores with not even a thought about the millions and millions of American workers that were left behind.

The wealth of our middle class has been ripped from their homes and then redistributed all across the world.

Let’s be clear: Manufacturing jobs (factory jobs) peaked as a percentage of the workforce in 1943 at around 40 percent, during the mobilization efforts for World War II. Since then, they have declined at a perfectly steady rate (red line below). In terms of raw numbers, manufacturing jobs peaked in 1979. The United States produces more stuff with fewer workers. Not only are these jobs never coming back, they disappeared from our shores decades ago. Only people who are wilfully naive or mendacious about basic economic reality and history can continue to assert that declines in manufacturing employment are recent or a major part of contemporary economic dislocation. FFS, I lived in Buffalo from 1990 to 1993 and even then people were saying the factories and the mills had just shut down, even though the big declines were already 20 and more years in the past.

Of course, Donald Trump is not alone in constantly talking about bring factory jobs back to America. Bernie Sanders never stops talking about and it was a regular line in Hillary Clinton’s stump speech, too. In his early years in the White House, especially while selling the stimulus, Barack Obama also pushed that line, along with a very Trumpian “buy American” provision in the stimulus. To paraphrase Bob Dylan paraphrasing Samuel Johnson, economic patriotism is the last refuge to which a scoundrel clings. In today’s global economy—a system that has not lifted billions of horribly poor people out of extreme poverty but had delivered increasingly improved living standards for Americans—there simply is no such thing as “made in America.” Or perhaps a bit less categorically, nothing good will come of increasing the price of imports, whether we’re talking about finished goods or raw materials (such as steel).

If Donald Trump thinks the “strength and confidence of our country has dissipated over the horizon” due to, say, NAFTA, which increased the amount of U.S. good sold in Mexico, just wait until you have to buy a car built with steel only sourced from western Pennsylvania or made more expensive due to tariffs.

One more point: The industrial Midwest (also known as the Rust Belt) was key to Donald Trump’s victory. The region remains mired in a decades-long slump; states such as Ohio and Michigan have for years been at or near the top when it comes to job loss and population declines in percentage terms. They don’t need less trade with foreign countries, they need more; they also need more in-migration from other states. Whether U.S.-born or foreign-born, an influx of people is a sign of a thriving economy. These states need to create better, cheaper business climates by reducing taxes and regulation if they want to have any chance of competing with parts of the country that have better weather and lower start-up costs. When Reason TV and Drew Carey looked at ways to save Cleveland and other once-great American cities, the comparisons between the Mistake on the Lake and Houston were incredibly telling. Cleveland had dozens of different types of business zones, for instance, while Houston had essentially zero. The paperwork to start a business in Houston took an afternoon, while in Cleveland it stretched on for weeks. These are the fixes that should be discussed and implemented, not cynical and utterly unrealistic appeals to xenophobia and trade wars.

Here’s a 2009 Reason TV video that is freshly relevant in the wake of Trump’s inaugural address. I post it partly because it explains why free-er trade is good and because it explains that economic nationalism hurts poor people most of all. But I also post it to show that just eight years ago, we were hearing exactly the same rhetoric and arguments about how protectionism can fix what ails America. It wasn’t true then and it’s not true now.

Read a full transcript of Trump’s speech after the jump.

Transcript of Trump’s first speech as president:

Chief Justice Roberts, President Carter, President Clinton, President Bush, President Obama, fellow Americans and people of the world, thank you.

We, the citizens of America, are now joined in a great national effort to rebuild our country and restore its promise for all of our people.

Together, we will determine the course of America and the world for many, many years to come. We will face challenges. We will confront hardships. But we will get the job done.

Every four years we gather on these steps to carry out the orderly and peaceful transfer of power.

And we are grateful to President Obama and first lady Michelle Obama for their gracious aid throughout this transition.

They have been magnificent.

Thank you.

Today’s ceremony, however, has a very special meaning because today we are not merely transferring power from one administration to another or from one party to another, but we are transferring power from Washington, D.C., and giving it back to you, the people.

For too long, a small group in our nation’s capital has reaped the rewards of government while the people have bore the cost. Washington flourished, but the people did not share in its wealth. Politicians prospered but the jobs left and the factories closed.

The establishment protected itself, but not the citizens of our country. Their victories have not been your victories. Their triumphs have not been your triumphs. And while they celebrated in our nation’s capital, there was little to celebrate for struggling families all across our land.

That all changes starting right here and right now, because this moment is your moment.

It belongs to you.

It belongs to everyone gathered here today and everyone watching all across America.

This is your day.

This is your celebration.

And this, the United States of America, is your country.

What truly matters is not which party controls our government, but whether our government is controlled by the people.

January 20th, 2017, will be remembered as the day the people became the rulers of this nation again.

The forgotten men and women of our country will be forgotten no longer. Everyone is listening to you now. You came by the tens of millions to become part of a historic movement, the likes of which the world has never seen before.

At the center of this movement is a crucial conviction that a nation exists to serve its citizens. Americans want great schools for their children, safe neighborhoods for their families and good jobs for themselves.

These are just and reasonable demands of righteous people and a righteous public.

But for too many of our citizens, a different reality exists.

Mothers and children trapped in poverty in our inner cities, rusted out factories scattered like tombstones across the landscape of our nation.

An education system flush with cash but which leaves our young and beautiful students deprived of all knowledge.

And the crime and the gangs and the drugs that have stolen too many lives and robbed our country of so much unrealized potential. This American carnage stops right here and stops right now.

We are one nation, and their pain is our pain.

Their dreams are our dreams, and their success will be our success. We share one heart, one home and one glorious destiny.

The oath of office I take today is an oath of allegiance to all Americans.

For many decades we’ve enriched foreign industry at the expense of American industry, subsidized the armies of other countries while allowing for the very sad depletion of our military.

We’ve defended other nations’ borders while refusing to defend our own. And we’ve spent trillions and trillions of dollars overseas while America’s infrastructure has fallen into disrepair and decay.

We’ve made other countries rich while the wealth, strength and confidence of our country has dissipated over the horizon.

One by one, the factories shuttered and left our shores with not even a thought about the millions and millions of American workers that were left behind.

The wealth of our middle class has been ripped from their homes and then redistributed all across the world. But that is the past, and now we are looking only to the future.


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Trump Cabinet Picks Acknowledge Man-Made Climate Change: New at Reason

TrumpClimateHoaxCpenierDreamstimeIn a 2014 tweet Donald Trump notoriously asked, “Is our country still spending money on the GLOBAL WARMING HOAX?” In 2012, Trump tweeted that the concept of global warming had been created by the Chinese to make American manufacturing noncompetitive. During the presidential campaign, he vowed that he would “cancel” the Paris Agreement on climate change. Being his usual consistently inconsistent self, Trump claimed during a Fox News interview last year that the Chinese tweet was a “joke,” and he told The New York Times after the election that he would keep an “open mind” about the Paris Agreement.

Yet none of Trump’s cabinet picks seem to agree that man-made climate change is hoax.

In the hearings for various cabinet nominees, Democrats have sought mightily to unmask them as “climate change deniers.” So far, not one has questioned the scientific reality of man-made global warming. On the other hand, they have tended not to be as alarmed as their interlocutors, and/or have failed to endorse the climate policies that Democrats prefer.

View this article.

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Obama Administration’s 2016 U.S. Kill Count Outside “Hostile Areas” at 432 to 442, Including Just 1 ‘Non-Combatant’

The Obama administration released its firt, and last, annual report summarizing U.S. government strikes on “terrorist targets outside areas of active hostilities,” which the Director of National Intelligence (DNI) defines in the report as Afghanistan, Iraq, and Syria. The report was mandated by an executive order President Obama signed just last year. The Obama administration previously brought up the idea of more drone oversight prior to the 2012 election, but didn’t really get anywhere.

This year’s report listed the number of strikes in 2016 at 53, with 431 to 441 combatants and one non-combatant. The report explains in a footnote that non-combatants are “individuals who may not be made the object of attack under applicable international law.” The report does not offer any details on the method of the strikes, in which countries they occurred, nor the identities of any combatants or the lone non-combatant.

“The assessment of non-combatant deaths provided to the DNI reflects consideration of credible reports of non-combatant deaths drawn from all-source information, including reports from the media and non-governmental organizations,” the report notes, without offering any details or sourcing. “The assessment of non-combatant deaths can include deaths for which there is an insufficient basis for assessing that the deceased is a combatant.”

In the non-combatant footnote, the only footnote in the page and a half document, the DNI defines a “non-combatant” by what they were not. “The term ‘non-combatant’ does not include an individual who is part of a belligerent party to an armed conflict, an individual who is taking a direct part in hostilities, or an individual who is targetable in the exercise of U.S. national self-defense.” The DNI also insisted that “it is not the case that all military-aged males in the vicinity of a target are deemed to be combatants.”

In 2012, The New York Times reported about the redefinition of the term “civilian” during the Obama administration which had, in effect, according to administration officials, meant all military-aged males in a strike zone.

This week’s report follows one last summer that offered similarly suspicious numbers. That one reported that from the beginning of the Obama administration through the end of 2015, U.S. strikes killed between 2,372 and 2,581 combatants and between 64 and 116 civilians, “a fraction of even the most conservative estimates on drone-related killings,” The Intercept reported. For 2016, the Bureau of Investigative Journalism, which provides extensive coverage of the U.S. drone war, identified 49 strikes outside of Afghanistan, Iraq and Syria, which killed at least 4 to 6 civilians, and 362 to 507 other people killed in strikes

The Bureau estimates that between the start of the Obama presidency and the end of 2016, between 384 and 807 civilian deaths in U.S. strikes in Pakistan, Yemen, Somalia and Libya. The Obama administration’s final estimate falls at between 65 and 117 civilians.

USA Today was unable to get comment from the Obama White House, noting that “Most of the White House press office had left the administration by Thursday,” and also reporting about concerns Donald Trump may revoke the executive order that requires even this meager report on U.S. strikes around the world. The final number for the Obama administration is likely to be larger—the Bureau of Investigative Journalism reported covert U.S. activities in Yemen earlier this month.

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The Donald Trump of Texas

There is precedent for this president. There was another man who leapt directly from pop culture into politics, using showmanship and populist rhetoric to draw huge crowds to his rallies while the pundits pooh-poohed his chances of winning. He was a businessman and radio star named Wilbert Lee “Pappy” O’Daniel, and he was elected governor of Texas in that state’s bizarre election of 1938.

I wrote about O’Daniel in a Reason story about a year ago. With Donald Trump now assuming the presidency, it’s a good moment to remember a man whose rise looks a lot like Trump’s:

When it became clear that something big was afoot, [newspaper writers] argued that no one could tell whether the crowds consisted of supporters or just gawkers. Did those mobs actually agree with O’Daniel’s vague platform? the pundits asked. Or were they only there to enjoy, in the words of the syndicated columnists Drew Pearson and Robert Allen, “a mellifluous radio voice that women gush over and a hill-billy band that delights both young and old”? When the Star-Telegram finally acknowledged that Pappy was attracting “larger and more enthusiastic crowds than any other candidate,” it added that many members of those audiences were nonvoters and wondered whether the movement was a “bubble.”

…and whose reign may well turn out to look like Trump’s as well:

When re-election time rolled around in 1940, he had been unable to pass his pension….He had also failed to abolish the poll tax. Indeed, he hadn’t gotten much done at all other than alienate a great deal of Austin.

That and start a newspaper. Declaring that “no recent governor has been so unfairly dealt with as the press has dealt with me,” he launched The W. Lee O’Daniel News. There and on his radio show, he blamed his failures on evil outside forces—and not just the big failures. When two musicians quit his band, Pappy informed his listeners that “the gang of professional politicians” had “struck another blow at your governor.” The sunny side of Pappy’s populism was starting to give way to something darker.

There are some notable differences as well, starting with the contrast between O’Daniel’s moralistic persona and Trump’s hedonism. It’s hard to imagine Pappy bragging that he grabbed anyone “by the pussy.” (O’Daniel’s original band, the Light Crust Doughboys, did record a double-entendre song called “Pussy, Pussy, Pussy.” But that was after the group and the governor had parted ways.) Still, the parallels are pretty strong, and I’ve just scratched the surface of them here. To see more of them, you can read my article.

In the meantime, since it’s Inauguration Day, here is O’Daniel’s radio broadcast from August 3, 1941. The governor had just won a special election to the U.S. Senate, and this show went out the day before he took his oath of office:

And here, along with a nice collection of photos from O’Daniel’s career, is Pappy’s band playing his theme song, “Please Pass the Biscuits, Pappy”:

One more tidbit for you, though this one isn’t a parallel so much as it’s a strange coincidence. When O’Daniel’s band recorded “Please Pass the Biscuits,” the singer on the record was named Leon Huff. Many years later, another musician named Leon Huff co-wrote a tune called “For the Love of Money“; and many years after that, “For the Love of Money” became the theme song for a show called The Apprentice, hosted by one Donald Trump.

(For past editions of the Friday A/V Club, go here.)

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President Trump Promises Protectionism, Neglects Freedom in Inauguration Speech

TrumpIn his first speech as President of the United States of America, Donald Trump promised to govern the country as a staunch protectionist with little interest in limited government or individual rights.

“For many decades we’ve enriched foreign industry at the expense of American industry,” said Trump. “We’ve defended other nations’ borders while refusing to defend our own, and spent trillions and trillions of dollars overseas while America’s infrastructure has fallen into disrepair and decay. We’ve made other countries rich while the wealth strength and confidence of our country has dissipated over the horizon.”

There was nothing about shrinking the size of government in the speech; on the contrary, Trump essentially promised much more muscular government intervention into the economy. He betrayed no recognition that leaving private businesses alone—rather than managing them from Washington, D.C.—is the most effective proven method of enriching society.

“One by one the factories shuttered and left our shores, without even a thought for the millions of workers who were left behind,” said Trump. “The wealth of the middle class has been ripped from their homes and redistributed across the world. But that is the past, and now we are looking only to the future.”

A future in which economic protectionism, a ruinous ideology that fails everywhere it’s tried, is the governing philosophy of the leader of the free world.

“This American carnage stops right here,” said Trump.

He continued:

“America first. Every decision on trade, on taxes, on immigration, on foreign affairs, will be made to benefit American workers and American families. We must protect our borders from the ravages of other countries, making our products, stealing our companies, and destroying our jobs.

“We will follow two simple rules: buy American and hire American.”

Trump framed the speech as a celebratory moment for the people of America: today is the day the forgotten men and women take their country back, he said. But the American people will not be in charge of the government. They hired Trump for that job: a man who feels that it is his prerogative and duty to interfere in every economic decision he doesn’t like.

It’s terrifying to think that a man who believes “buy American and hire American” should be rules—actual rules—is now in a position to make that happen.

For more on what Trump means for libertarianism, read Nick Gillespie, Veronique de Rugy, and Peter Suderman.

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9 Reasons Why Libertarians Should Be Worried By Donald Trump

Donald Trump is officially the president of the United States of America. Libertarians have plenty of reasons to be worried.

His inaugural speech today was an extended defense of popilist protectionism, much like his campaign. From trade to defense spending to entitlements to immigration, Trump has repeatedly promised to take America in a direction that is less open, less free, and more burdened by an oppressive and expansive federal government.

Here are nine reasons why libertarians should be very concerned about a Trump presidency:

1) He has repeatedly promised to deport 11 million undocumented immigrants upon taking office, relying on a “special deportation force” to carry out the task. And even in the occasional moments in which he has seemed to recognize that this task would be logistically impossible, he has continued to insist that he will deport several million people right away, and that other undocumented immigrants who are in the country will not have a path to citizenship unless they leave the country first.

2) More generally, Trump’s attitude toward immigrants and outsiders ranges from disdain to outright hostility. He has called for a ban on Muslim immigration and the closure of mosques, and he opened his primary campaign by declaring that Mexican immigrants to the U.S. were rapists and criminals.

3) Trump has also promised to build a massive, expensive wall along the southern border, and has insisted that Mexico will pay for its construction, an absurd notion that is already crumbling, as the incoming administration has asked Congress, not Mexico, to pay for the wall.

4) Trump has made clear that his administration will take a much more aggressive stance on trade as well. During the campaign, he floated the idea of a 45 percent tariff on Chinese goods, which would be deeply harmful to consumers and the U.S. economy. Since winning the election, his administration has raised the possibility of a 10 percent tariff on all imports, a policy that could spark a global recession. After winning in November, he said he would pull the nation out of the Trans-Pacific Partnership trade agreement on day one of his presidency.

5) Trump’s authoritarian leanings extend to national security as well. He has said that he would institute a program of torture for suspected terrorists that goes beyond what went on in the Bush administration, and has also said that he would kill the families of terrorists. When informed that military commanders might resist such an order, Trump said that he would force them to commit war crimes.

6) The new president has a dim view of constitutional free speech protections too. The First Amendment, he said, provides “too much protection” for free speech. He complained that in the U.S. “our press is allowed to say whatever they want.” On the campaign trail, he said he wanted to “open up” libel laws, and threatened to take action against the owner of The Washington Post after the paper published material he didn’t like. He thinks flag burning should be illegal, and has repeatedly used the legal system to punish those who irritate him.

7) Trump has shown no interest in meaningful budget reforms: He has repeatedly said he will not cut Medicare, Medicaid, or Social Security—all of which are facing trillions in unfunded liabilities and are among the biggest drivers of the nation’s long-term debt—and he has criticized Republicans for wanting to pare back spending on those programs. He has also proposed increasing defense spending. Under his campaign plans, federal debt would rise by more than $10 trillion over the next decade.

8) As a real estate developer, Trump repeatedly sought to use eminent domain to enable the seizure of private homes to make way for commercial developments. On the campaign trail, he defended the use of government muscle to take private property, saying “I think eminent domain is wonderful.”

9) Perhaps more worrying than anything else, though, is Trump’s long and well documented history of admiration for dictators and authoritarian leaders. He has praised Saddam Hussein of Iraq and Kim Jong-Un of North Korea, and lauded Vladimir Putin of Russia for his strength as a leader. On the campaign trail, he referred to the 1989 Chinese political protests in Tiananmen Square as a “riot” and marveled at the toughness the Chinese government’s murderous response show. “They put it down with strength,” Trump told Playboy in 1989. “That shows you the power of strength. Our country is right now perceived as weak.” In the context of Trump’s record—his disdain for immigrants and outsiders, his authoritarian instincts on speech and government power, his general disinterest in reducing the size of the federal government—this admiration should be very worrying indeed.

(For a more cautiously optimistic take on Trump’s presidency, check out Reason’s podcast with Ken White here.)

from Hit & Run http://ift.tt/2jI6x4f