Squall as much as you want about his grotesqueries, but President Donald Trump, in the midst of a smashing first term, has shown his knack for sticking a finger through the scrim holding the world together and finding the stink beyond.
Iran, North Korea, NATO, the G7, trade pacts, immigration, the international order, administrative regulations—Pres. Trump does something useful with his questioning, assertions, and disruption.
In the United States every major organization but the government (and government schools) has downsized and reformed, with an emphasis placed on innovation. The government has just plodded along. That’s why Pres. Trump ordered policy reviews within administrative departments and now wants to consolidate the Departments of Education and Labor.
The Trump administration’s regulatory rollback at the EPA and elsewhere is a productive pursuit. Look at the FCC, for example. (Thank you to Uncle Chuck for calling this to my attention.) Commission chairman Ajit Pai spoke July 23 at the CANTO 2018 conference in Panama City. His theme was bringing “the benefits of communications technology to all the people we serve.”
Chairman Pai pinpointed one of the commission’s main objectives, which is to remove “regulatory barriers that hold back private network investment.” Promoting more investment will lead to more competition, he said. A significant reform of last March provides for updating environmental and historic preservation reviews to prepare for small cells that will be a key part of 5G wireless.
“Previously, small-cell deployments triggered the same federal environmental and historic preservation reviews designed for 200-foot-tall towers,” he said. By one estimate, nearly 30 percent of the costs of small cell deployments—of which tens of thousands are coming—may be saved. When you are in your autonomous electric car and are downloading a movie to watch, you will be grateful.
(Then, the other day, Chairman Pai defied Pres. Trump by killing the $3.9-billion merger of Sinclair Broadcast Group and Tribune Media.)
Even the trade war with China is starting to look like a good thing. With its reliance on mercantilism and the use of artificial economic props, China was never in a strong position, and this year the Chinese stock market is down 25 percent, the yuan has dropped against world currencies, and there are defaults on corporate bonds. Further devaluing the yuan has been ruled out, which prompts Donald L. Luskin, writing in the Wall Street Journal, to speculate about capital flight leading to a crash, depression, and high unemployment.
“With that scenario in mind, the Chinese government must be wondering whether it has enough riot police,” Luskin says.
One may ask if the Belt and Road initiative will end up with a rusty belt buckle and unpaved roads. Countries in Asia and Africa are starting to ask why the hell they’re opening up to the Chinese for economic colonization.
And in real estate, Chinese buyers are disappearing from the North American markets they had helped to overheat with their cash-purchase-today versus local buyers’ down payment-and-wait-for-approval. Some Chinese are even selling and leaving.
Luskin concludes his piece about Chinese vulnerabilities this way: “It took Nixon to go to China and show it the way to the 20th century. Now, through the unlikely method of trade war, Donald Trump is ushering China into the 21st century.”
How’s that for global reform?
Oh, and have you noticed that with President Sneaky Guy out of office, the street riots have ended?