Investing Under President Trump

Is Donald Trump a narcissistic blowhard or an astute businessman with the ability to make America great again?

We will all find out over the next four years, but we should also keep in mind that he will not be running the country by himself. He has a Republican majority in Congress and most states are now run by Republicans (the party that most media were writing obits for a month ago).

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Although President-elect Trump is a former Democrat and has expressed support for expanding many government programs, the advisors he has picked to date signal that the regulatory state we’ve lived under for the past eight years will be reined in. That would be good news for the economy and for the markets.

Regardless, he is not Hillary Clinton, who was poised to tack left of President Obama and bring us closer to the socialist state that U.S. Senators Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren have been advocating.

While we worry about his stands on trade and immigration, President Trump will undoubtedly be stronger than President Obama, more bipartisan and more focused on economic growth. In all cases, it wouldn’t take much.

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An Election Post Mortem

You can’t play sports without losing sometimes and, in losing, you learn something about grace and how to act under pressure.”                                  John F. Kerry

The silent majority has made its choice. Working class white males bonded with the billionaire from New York City and, as a result, we have a new president who is not a Democrat (though he was), not a woman and, thankfully, not politically correct.

Donald Trump, though labeled as a racist by Democrats, also drew more votes from blacks, Latinos and Asians than previous Republican nominee Mitt Romney.trump-donald

Supporters of Hillary Clinton did not take her surprise defeat well. In fact, they may have reacted with more constraint if bubonic plague had been introduced to their water supply. Clinton supporters swooned. I’m still not sure what the vapors are, but Hillary fans had cases of them in droves. It was like a scene from “Contagion” or “The Day the Earth Stood Still.” Panic was widespread.

Consider this quote from the Telegram & Gazette’s Dianne Williamson: “Yes, it hurts. It’s spirit-crushing. I’ve heard from many people who expressed surprise at the visceral emotional pain they felt upon learning that a slick, opportunistic demagogue has been chosen over a smart, capable and accomplished woman who has devoted her life to public service.”

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What’s Your Platform?

“My reading of history convinces me that most bad government results from too much government.”                                                                   John Sharp Williams

We’ve made our disapproval of both presidential candidates clear, but suggested that, given this year’s poor choices, voters consider the platforms of both parties before deciding how to vote.

Last week, we dissected the Democratic platform, and concluded that the party’s problems extend beyond having an untrustworthy candidate.  While both Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump deserve their high unfavorable ratings, the party platforms showcase the differences between the two parties.Trump

If a Congressional majority is from the same party as the president, the party platform provides a guide for what to expect.  Neither candidate, if elected, is likely to veto major legislation that’s overwhelmingly approved by his or her own party and both have signed off on their party’s platform.

Based solely on the party platform, if you want slow growth, higher taxes, more government and an activist Supreme Court with little regard for the U.S. Constitution, vote for Hillary.  It’s all outlined in the platform, which makes 10 references to the right to unionize, but not a single word about the need for tort reform.

While there’s no guarantee that if Donald Trump is elected president the economy will grow again, the Republican platform at least doesn’t abandon the free-market capitalism and Constitutional rights that have made this country the freest and most prosperous country in history.

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The Art of the Unreal

“You ran up mountains of debt, as well as losses, using other people’s money, and you were forced to file for bankruptcy not once, not twice, four times.”

Carly Fiorina to Donald Trump

You may think that having a billionaire as president is a good thing, since he must understand how to manage money.

But what about a billionaire who has declared bankruptcy four times?  Given that the U.S. is $19 trillion in debt (and that’s just federal debt), maybe it’s a good idea to elect Donald Trump president.  His first act in office can be to declare the U.S. bankrupt and get us out of paying off all of that debt. Trump, Donald

To be fair, Mr. Trump’s bankruptcies were not Chapter 7 bankruptcies, in which anything of value is typically liquidated, leaving creditors with pennies on the dollar.  They were Chapter 11 bankruptcies, in which a restructuring takes place.

But creditors still lose plenty in such cases.  So you may interpret the bankruptcies to mean that Mr. Trump took advantage of other people to enrich himself, which would make him unethical.  Or you may interpret them to mean that Mr. Trump is incompetent.

Maybe, given his tendency to borrow more than he needs at very high interest rates, both answers are correct.  At least National Review makes The Donald seem neither ethical nor competent:

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