I'm challenging AKS on the merits of America's financial policy since Donald Trump has been elected. First, we'll go with a generally accepted source for Trump's financial policy. https://www.thebalance.com/donald-trump-economic-plan-3994106 This is a far Left publication(that's actually quite outdated) but that's besides the point. By going with a Far Left source, AKS cannot possibly accuse me of being bias'd. We'll start with the big one: Can Protectionism create jobs? This is no longer a question. It's a resounding yes, and a major political victory for the administration. Of course, anyone who studied finances(as I did, during the peak of the greatest crisis since the great depression. Obama's words, not mine.) would know that one of our biggest problems over the past 20-30 years(even this paper acknowledges it) was the MASSIVE economic black holes. (Black holes are referred to as derivatives, and debt in general. But in a larger scope, we can say the trade imbalances were also black holes in the microeconomy.) When you combine massive publicly held debt, with jobs being shipped off as well as poor American employment, you had the recipe for a political disaster. The economy, to some degree has to be protected. There is no such thing as a 'free and open economy'. The reason being(see: Canada trade positions) is that countries cannot unilaterally agree on something that would be fair to both nations. That's not possible fiscally as different countries have different needs. Also, other nations just like this one would want to have trade surpluses(or at least to be equal). The nature of competition means that there will be deficits on some level. That being said, the tariffs are indeed a double edged sword, and we would have been better suited by simply withdrawing from the pacts without the tariffs. While the POTUS is correct that Europe/Asia tariff us significantly, that's not a reason to goad them to further tariff us even more. In the long run, the tariff situation reflects on something I already knew and I wish this administration were taking more provocative and meaningful steps: A self-sufficient economy. The US had become too reliant on being a buyer and a shipper of goods. America was a merchant for the world, but the world was not a merchant for America. If America regains its self-sufficient power that it used to recover from the great depression and lead much of the world economically, I believe it will be easier for us to stand independently and demand better/fairer deals overall. On that note: Democrats also wanted improved trade deals. Obama made a plea to it in 2008 that he didn't follow. And even HRC postured during the campaign that she didn't approve of the TPP because it no longer met her 'rigorous' standards.(Again, her words not mine.) So the idea that these deals were not up for revision, is simply antagonism for no real purpose and certainly not financial purposes. Overall, I give Trump a B on the issue of protectionism. It has not led to a financial collapse. It has not led to a decline in hiring. In fact, it leveled the playing field between Asia/European tariffs and American ones. Thus leading these companies to emigrate back to the US en masse. I would have chosen a different strategy in many ways(while agreeing with lowering the Corporate Tax Rate) but the President has been effective by any neutral measure. Speaking of which: Taxes: This is mostly a Congressional issue, but where I take issue with the President(mostly hampered by Russia/investigative issues) is that he almost NEVER uses his veto power. He needs to.(In fact, I'm surprised that the renegade Congress cannot recognize this fact and isn't simply pushing bills forward.). The lowered Corporate Tax Rate of 21% puts us right just above the median.(The 15% cryout was an attempt to put us exactly at the median, but a little above was a fair and healthy compromise. Props to House Repubs/Trump on that.) Unfortunately, the current government is not of the right political climate for the rest of the Trump Republican/Nationalist demands. We wanted far deeper cuts across the board. We didn't get it. It's my sincere hope that with a majority Congress in both the House/Senate, we will be able to push an improved bill for POTUS to willingly sign. While the POTUS did want to avoid a shutdown, the veto pen is there for a reason. Trump did not approve of the Congressional bill(thus blaming him for the increase is laughable.) Also, let's talk spending increases: https://www.usgovernmentspending.com/recent_spending This has been a pathetic and poor gotcha attempt by both liberals and neoconservatives(trying to reclaim the Republican Party after being ousted by the Trump Revolution two years ago.). Also, it's economically inaccurate. In reality, we had the MAJOR spike in 2010(noted by the many charts), and a steady flow of spending leading up to 2012 being the year where government-to-debt GDP exceeded 100%(102% in 2012). https://tradingeconomics.com/united-states/government-debt-to-gdp Today, it's 105%. So it's not exactly wrong that we've had a spending increase. But the rate of 3% is incredibly small(compare, on the same page the rate of 96% to 101% in 2012(5%) or when it really topped off at 103% If I chose 103% as the cutoff, I could have argued it was only a 2% increase. But to be fair and impartial, I chose the end of the rising point as the cutoff to give an accurate judgment. But whether 2% or 3% spending increase, my very good friend Akiphi(a Keynesian Economist who used to be a part of this forum) would actually be disgruntled that the spending increase is nowhere near what he expected under a Trump administration. And actually, I'd been converted into something of a hybrid of Keynesian as well as a moderate proponent of deficit control measures.(Noting debt-to-GDP as being the key indicator of US wealth.) We were at our best as despite increases, we were under 90% until the second Bill Clinton term. Fiscal health can be restored to the land, it just takes conscious decisions. One of the biggest crucial points is that it's not spending per say that's the problem, the debt accumulates as spending is on laptops, on executive chairs(or yes, on Trump's golf vacations.). If we instead spent on things that increased productivity: More manufacturing, roads, bridges, etc. More monies to the sciences and education. Seriously, look at a spending graph and look at how hollow National America actually is. We spend majorly on 3 items: Defense Spending, Medicaid/Medicare and Retirements. Everything else, if you look at a graph is somewhere between 5-10%(if THAT.) That's why teachers complain about funding for example. So Obama spoke a half-truth on the education situation. It's true, that maybe 5% of our GDP is billions, but when you spread that around the hundreds of schools, it becomes oh so much less per school. We actually need more spending on general goods(and this even includes Welfare spending. Yes, the Reagan reforms of the 1980's were a mistake.) Me mentioning the reforms of the 80's were a mistake needs explanation: At the time, the GOP feared unlimited welfare. They feared the program would go out of control, and so they capped it. Not so much the cap, but how they capped it: Earnings. By capping earnings, they unwittingly trapped those on Welfare to remain on Welfare since you could earn say, a portion over the cap limit(and lose benefits) and still not be financially secure. This is actually how most government programs(and even some businesses) operate in today's world. The problem is that earnings fluctuate, they go up and they go down. Generally speaking, your true earnings are not via paycheck since it doesn't account for taxes, or mandatory items like rent/mortgages, or cable(that technically isn't so much of a necessity to spend but most do. For the varying reasons of entertainment and/or connectivity to the world.) When you're done with all of your bills, from the standpoint of the say bottom 30-50% of America, what they have left is pennies. But if their 'overall pay stub' surpasses that amount and the programs retroactively take away benefits(because that's what they were programmed to do.) then these people would be crushed. So why risk financial uplifting, when you can safely remain below the poverty line/cap line and continue to receive benefits? That might seem defeatist(and it is defeatist), but it's a 'sound' financial option unless you can convince yourself of higher and higher earnings to remain stabilized. There's two ways(IMO) to solve this problem: A: Increase the cap-limit relative to inflation.(This is along the same lines as $15.00/hr). Or B: Judge a person's overall net worth instead of his/her income. Net worth might be a far greater indicator of personal wealth than wages/earnings. Because while a person's wages/earnings might fluctuate, net worth does not. There are other ways of increasing the strength of our social benefits programs, and the avenue that Trump chose(and I purported) is to simply lay them off(transfer them) from welfare to independence. The other problem with the 1980's reforms(and the same issue exists with SS) is that no one expected the MASS population growth(just coming off of the Baby Boomers, this can be seen as irrational. Our politics in the 60's-70's was all kinds of ****ed up. Even if the percentage of Americans on social benefits were stabilized, the number of Americans has naturally skyrocketed and it cannot afford that many people. That's not being a cold blooded conservative, that's just acknowledging reality in 2018. I wanted to have a mass jobs creation program, including an entreprenurship creating program with the intention of vastly creating literally trillions of new jobs. If my program had come to pass, we would've reached that 10-15-20% GDP growth that many say impossible. And I'll leave on this lastly, the idea that our increased growth is unstable/insecure: We, the US underwent a HUGE job underbelly over the last 20-30 years. There's still approximately at least 56 million Americans on SNAP(Food Stamps) and over 100 million on SS primarily. We can STILL make inroads. But it's not just the inroads. Naturally, there will be ebbs/flows in the job market. That's where my entrepreneurship plan comes into full circle. By enabling new entrepreneurs, we would have created jobs and the positions to fill-in as workers leave to become entrepreneurs(or they'd sometimes double as an entrepreneur/worker). By maintaining a constant steady flow of workers and production, the ebb/flow that damaged the US Financially since at least the 1930's will be a thing of the past. The key to a financial system is to preserve stability. Growth may end, but that doesn't mean it has to precipitate a decline. That's the old way of thinking. We Nationalists reject this. It's not supply-side economics. It's not trickle-down or trickle-up. Call it 'Stabilizing Economics', the idea that the US Financial System is a hub of American enterprise, and must be by necessity stabilized in a coordination of strong worker rights, corporations working with their workers and the government meditating but not interfering in these negotiations and market values. And well, that's all I have for the opening salvo.