Last year, I wrote that one of my resolutions for 2018 was to deTrump myself. No more reading about the insane clown president. No more all-Trump, all-the-time monologues from the late night guys (I’ve quit the sadly unfunny Stephen Colbert and the sanctimonious Seth Meyers, but I’m still a fan of Jimmy Kimmel and Conan O’Brien).
However, as a sentient being, avoiding everything about Trump is like trying to avoid the weather. I’m trying, oh how I’m trying, to quit. But I can’t completely go cold turkey, so I’m taking a whole new approach.
I’ve decided, after one year in office, that maybe this Trump guy isn’t really that bad after all. In fact, I think there is much to admire in the man. OK, maybe not ‘much’. A little to admire, perhaps. So let’s take an alternative look at Donald Trump.
First of all, maybe he IS an economic genius.
The U.S. economy is bubbling right along. Economic growth exceeds 3% in the second and third quarters of 2017. Blue-collar wages are going up. Unemployment is at 4.1%; it was 4.8% when he took over. And the stock market is soaring. Maybe not the greatest stock market of all time, as he says, but it seems everybody is making money.
Second, there was a huge stink a few weeks ago about the administration’s overhaul of the tax system, which was passed under cover of darkness and was so hastily conceived, some of the changes were actually PENCILLED IN to the document they voted on. The biggest change was a cut in the corporate tax rate, to 21% from 35%. Chaos, said the Democrats and almost everyone else! Huge tax gains for the rich! Middle class getting screwed!
All that is probably true, but get this.
On Wednesday, Apple announced that it will “repatriate” most of the estimated $274 BILLION that it holds in offshore earnings, resulting in a one-time $38 BILLION tax payment. The company promises to add 20,000 jobs to its U.S. work force, and build a new campus. Another $5 billion will go toward a fund for advanced manufacturing in America.
And this is just the beginning. According to a New York Times opinion piece, Microsoft holds $146 billion in overseas earnings, Pfizer $178 billion, General Electric $82 billion, Alphabet $78 billion, and Cisco $71 billion. The paper says the haul is about $3 TRILLION.
“Assume that just half of that money comes home to the United States,” the paper said. “It’s still the equivalent of Canada’s entire gross domestic product. “
Sheesh. Way to make a country feel puny.
The economic performance of a country, particularly the United States, is the overriding concern of voters. If times are good, the government usually gets a pass on the other terrible things they might do. And so it is with The Donald. Yes, he’s an idiot, the voters might say. A buffoon. A pig. A racist. But hey, my stocks are going through the roof!
But what about all the other terrible stuff he does, or more accurately, says. Well, are they really that terrible?
Take the uproar about “shithole” countries. Trump wondered aloud, in a conversation with a senator, why America gets so many immigrants from “shithole countries” like Haiti, and not much from non-shithole countries like Norway. Cue the uproar.
It’s not much of a stretch to say that Trump was referring to mostly black countries and mostly white countries. Yes, it was a terrible, tactless thing to say … but you know that millions of Americans (and, to be honest, Canadians) wonder the same thing. Why so many immigrants from “shithole” (i.e. poor) countries, and so little from non-shithole (i.e. rich) countries? The answer is obvious, of course; who wants to leave a rich country with a good lifestyle and stable government? It’s the nature of immigration. Nobody leaves one country for a lesser life in another. Even though it was stupid and crude to say, he’s only saying what a lot of people are thinking.
Then there is his greatest accomplishment, one that nobody gives him credit for.
It’s utterly remarkable, and a tribute to the American system, that a clearly mentally ill person can achieve the highest office in the land.
There is a case to be made that Trump is suffering from something called narcissistic personality disorder, or NPD. According the the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual, a checklist for this disorder includes a person who:
• has a grandiose sense of self-importance;
• is preoccupied by fantasies of unlimited success;
• believes he is special and unique;
• requires excessive admiration;
• has unreasonable expectations of especially favourable treatment or automatic compliance with his expectations.
Sound like anyone we know?
And finally, in this era of 24-hour-a-day diversions, where we demand to be entertained ALL THE TIME, Donald Trump has provided no end of amusement. Compared to the boring, no drama competence of Barack (Yawn) Obama, Trump is wildly entertaining. As long as he doesn’t press any buttons with his stubby, hamburger-greased fingers, let’s just sit back and enjoy the show.
Jerry Keeling, 78, former CFL quarterback with the Calgary Stampeders and others … Red Fisher, 91, much admired Montreal sportswriter, back in the day when there were good sportswriters in Canada … Dorothy Malone, 93, movie actress who won the 1956 best supporting actress Oscar for Written on the Wind … Peter Mayle, 78, author of the influential A Year in Provence … Jo Jo White, 71, Hall of Fame basketball player (Boston, Golden State, Kansas City) … Dolores O’Riordan, 46, Irish lead singer of The Cranberries … Hugh Wilson, 74, creator of WKRP in Cincinnati.