The Trump presidency is off to a rocky start. The 45th President of the United States has been in office for less than a month, and has fostered a contentious relationship with the media, ordered a controversial travel ban that may be declared unconstitutional, and criticized the judiciary for exercising its authority to stay executive orders. That’s just the short version, obviously.
It’s easy to criticize. But I also believe in giving credit where credit is due. In trying times like these, you gotta stay positive. So here’s a few good things our fearless leader has done so far:
Maintain the Iran nuclear deal
Trump spent a lot of time on the campaign trail criticizing the Iran nuclear deal. He called it one of the worst deals ever made and vowed to tear it up, despite the fact that most foreign policy experts consider it an incredible diplomatic achievement. But now Trump is singing a different tune. From Reuters:
The European Union’s foreign policy chief, Federica Mogherini, said on Friday she was reassured during meetings with President Donald Trump’s administration that it was committed to full implementation of the Iran nuclear deal.
Good for him! Good for all of us, actually. While the Iran deal is less than perfect, it’s much better than no deal at all. Tearing it up would serve no purpose except to satisfy a short-sighted campaign promise.
Kill the TPP
The Trans-Pacific Partnership became a convenient Trump talking point during his campaign, and for good reason. The deal was to be the crowning achievement of the Obama Administration’s efforts on trade policy. Hillary called it “the gold standard” in multi-national trade agreements, a statement she later tried to back away from when it became clear the TPP could do real damage to the American working class.
While there were valid arguments for the TPP (the Detroit Free Press published a great summary of the pro and con arguments), it was clear that the agreement had big league (or is it “bigly”?) potential to benefit large multinational corporations at the expense of American workers. Where the Iran nuclear deal is much better than no deal at all, the TPP is worse than no deal at all. Trump was right to tear this one up.
Starting a Bidding War Between Defense Contractors
Trump’s business acumen was one of his major selling points during the campaign, and he’s put it to good use in at least one area. And this is one positive Trump story that I actually think has been under-reported by the media (not that they haven’t been busy reporting on other things).
Before taking office, Trump made huge strides — yuuuge strides; big, beautiful strides that only a man with long legs and large hands could make, you’re going to be so proud — in forcing defense contractors to cut their production costs. From The Washington Times:
On Wednesday, Mr. Trump met with the chiefs of Boeing and Lockheed and pressured them to cut costs. For Boeing, he wants a cheaper Air Force One replacement. For Lockheed, he warned that it needed to limit the “out of control” overruns for the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter.
Based on the reactions, the meeting with Boeing seemed to go better. The CEO promised to lower the cost of Air Force One to less than $4 billion.
This is undeniably great, and it’s something that should have happened decades ago. I must confess, the pro-Trump crowd were right on this issue — it took a businessman, not a politician, to negotiate these deals.
Build Up American Infrastructure
Alright, so Trump hasn’t actually done this yet. But he is talking about it and making it one of his big first-term goals. From The Business Insider:
President Donald Trump’s administration has compiled a list of 50 infrastructure projects, totaling $137.5 billion in investment, that it wants to undertake according to documents obtained by the Kansas City Star and The News Tribune in Tacoma, WA.
50% of the projects will be funded by private investment according to the presentation and directly create 193,350 job years according to the presentation.
Everyone agrees that a US infrastructure build-up is sorely needed. Indeed, it was a goal of the Obama Administration that went unrealized due to Republican obstructionism. But a good idea is a good idea no matter who implements it. Obama won’t get the credit he deserves, but we’ll get the roads and bridges and public work projects we need. Fair enough.