A while ago, I asserted fairly baldly that Don Trumpeone does not really have a macro strategy. He has a bunch of largely random policy ideas, which – if implemented – might have macro implications.
But the idea that he starts with a macro view is pretty silly and flattering. And so mainstream journalists’ efforts to assess that strategy – and, gasp!, to find logical inconsistency – are largely a waste of time. If you apply the idea of consistency to Trump, then you are overestimating him, even if your presumed point is to show that in one particularly case he lacks it.
So that was the right take. Point to me! Recently, Trump has bailed on calling China a “currency manipulator” * and has become more open-mined about reappointing Yellen, even though she is hopeless politicized. Hey wait a minute, somebody who is hopelessly politicized into making the economy grow less shittily might actually be good!
For me, piercing the drivel you find in the mainstream media is so easy. But actually getting it right, well that is much tougher. Another way to put this is that beating the so-called “consensus” is easy, but beating the market is much tougher. The “consensus” is not the market, you know.
I think I may have initially understated the extent to which Trump has no coherent policy. Rather, on economics, Trump seems to be motivated by three considerations:
First, he wants to give all the money to the one guy. Who that guy might be is as yet unknown, but it may become more an issue once the 0.1% need to start screwing fellow members to keep their own mo going. Once there is nothing left to steal over there, you need to start looking over here.
Second, Trump is out for Trump and family. He will probably do things motivated by that, as opposed to ideology. Slate has a nice piece on that quite recently, applied to Jared Kushner’s family loyalties – mob style.
Third, Trump seems to apply some value to being a dick per se. A policy that hurts weak people per se, seems to be favored on the grounds that it “shows strength.” I would not guess that this is ever the main motivation, but it could be a tie breaker in the event the other two principles generate an ambiguous result.
Opinions will vary, and I am being conclusory here for sure. But that would be an update of my earlier skepticism, based on results so far.
* As I explained in that post, whether China is a “currency manipulator” is actually irrelevant to the question of whether we should allow unfettered trade is visibles and capital with her. The question is an important and unresolved one, but totally indepdentnt of whether China “manipulates.” This is not something that the mainstream media might be expected to process. and communicate.