The best accomplishment of Donald Trump’s presidency is having substantially reduced corporate taxes. In a world avid for international investments, it is smart to do so. Competition is necessary, and that’s one way to achieve it. One of the main requirements to create jobs is the existence of a low tax rate.
It is true that it benefits 3 percent of the United States’ high class, but it is also true that those under-10-million people pay almost 60 percent of the nation’s taxes. To blame them for the relative poverty of 15 percent of the nation is false and demagogic. Still, it is a pity that the fiscal reform was not more generous with the American middle classes. They have benefited, though little.
The same happens with the regulations. In principle, Trump has done well to reduce them. Excessive regulations are contrary to economic activities. The World Bank’s Doing Business rankings establish that unequivocally. For example, the real time that it takes a builder or industrial entrepreneur to start his projects in Miami-Dade is a shame, but I suspect that the same happens nationwide.
Trump also has scored well in the opaque terrain of defining an adversary. North Korea is an enemy and must be treated as such. The same with Iran. Both countries are intent on affecting and destroying the United States. It is up to Israel, not to the Arab countries, to designate its capital. Half a dozen U.S. president before Trump promised to move the U.S. Embassy to Jerusalem; he acted on it. All Washington has to do is to build its legation in the traditionally Israeli sector of the city.
Finally, Trump did well to meet with Lilian Tintori, Leopoldo López’s wife, and show his rejection of Maduro’s regime. Venezuela, Cuba and Bolivia are participants in the so-called 21st-Century Socialism; they are outspoken enemies of the United States. Ecuador has ceased to be one. Nicaragua in the 21st Century is like the platypus: a mammal that lays eggs and has a duck’s beak. Nobody knows exactly what it is. So far, it squawks leftist slogans but governs from the right, as if Daniel Ortega were the artificial son of Lenin and Pinochet with the face of a Marxist Somoza.
Let’s go to Trump’s mistakes.
If proven, allowing the Russians to slip into the United States’ electoral system to harm the Democrats was a swinish act. It is very dangerous to ask the enemy for ad hoc aid. If the suspicions turn out to be true, today Trump and his administration are in the hands of Vladimir Putin. Either Trump dances to a balalaika tune or the Russians turn over to the press a dossier with all the details of his collaboration.
Trump acted with political and inhumane cruelty when he took hostage almost 800,000 “dreamers” and denied them residence until the Democrats agree to allot funds to build a wall that will separate the U.S. from Mexico. Most Americans don’t believe that The Wall is a good idea.
Sixty-three percent of Americans support the “dreamers.” They’re usually young students of Mexican origin but sociologically Americans, illegally brought to the United States by their parents. Many don’t even speak Spanish. To leave them in the country and allow them to work and create wealth is convenient for everybody.
Trump’s every action toward Mexico has been wrong: threatening to build the blighted Wall, denouncing NAFTA, insulting his neighbors with racist statements to the point that it is likely that, in the next presidential election, the exasperated Mexicans will elect Andrés Manuel López Obrador, an “anti-Yanqui” candidate, something that undoubtedly will be harmful for both nations.
Trump has also erred with relation to Europe by praising the Europhobes in the European Union, whether they’re the Brits who back Brexit or all those French, Austrian, Hungarian, Dutch or Polish ultra-nationalists who share with him that dangerous, nearsighted vision that emphasizes the interests of their nation (“America First”) without realizing that nationalism and its sequel, protectionism, are ancient plagues that impoverish us on the economic field and usually kill us on the battlefield.
When it comes to form, nothing that we criticize Trump for is minor. His out-of-fashion machismo. The indelicate way he treated the Puerto Ricans, flipping to them rolls of paper as if he were tossing seeds to the birds. His unpresidential Tweets, the way he starts trivial disputes, his confrontations with the FBI, his attacks on any Democrat or Republican who does not come to his side, forgetting that “civic cordiality” is a substantial part of the republican spirit in the broadest and best sense of the word.
*Journalist and writer. His latest work is the essay The President: A Handbook for Voters and the Elected.
Published in Spanish by El Blog de Montaner on Saturday January 6th, 2018