Fran O’Sullivan: The truth is, Trump has (so far) been good for US business.

It looks like Fran O’Sullivan hasn’t been sipping from her Kool-Aid cup at the Herald.

She’s written a refreshing column that outlines some home truths about the Trump presidency. To get it past the editor though she had to have a slash in the first few paragraphs. I’ve trimmed those off for you.

The truth is, Trump has (so far) been good for US business.

American business has simply stared past the tweets, the inquiries, the political corpses and the scandals and looked to its own self-interest. It’s got its mojo back.

Major companies like Apple, which will now pay US$38 billion in taxes in the US relating to the repatriation of its overseas cash pile, are not doing so out of the goodness of their hearts. But out of self-interest and as a result of the public jawboning by a President who wants the US to be a winner when it comes to the international arm-wrestle under way for tax streams. Same too with the move to bring operations home by other major US corporations.

The noise has dominated: Svengali Steve Bannon, fired from both the White House and as chair of Breitbart News, has now taken a self-denying ordinance to say no more in the wake of Michael Wolff’s Fire and Fury revelations. Trump’s list of “fake news” targets is out. His doctor has cleared him. The Russian inquiry has yet to hit home with a smoking gun. He is in no danger of impeachment.   

He won’t get impeached, not with the swirling scandal of Obama/Clinton corruption.

The Trump Administration is studded with former Wall St players like Goldman Sachs executive Gary Cohn, and top businessmen such as former Exxon boss Rex Tillerson and former GM executive Chris Liddell.

Their influence is being felt.

Take the tax cuts, which were finessed late last year by the President in some skilful bartering. They are straight from the Republican playbook.

Their economic benefits are front-loaded. Polls show that Americans are warming to a package which gives massive, permanent breaks to corporations in 2019, and cuts for other “units” this year.

Businesses are lapping up the prospective breaks, with more than 70 major corporates now pledging that as a result they will give pay hikes or bonuses for employees.

As even former Treasury Secretary Jack Lew (an Obama appointee) admitted in Hong Kong this week (before warning of an inherent danger that they will ultimately blow out the US deficit to an unsustainable level), the cuts will give a short-term economic bounce.

The stock market continues to surge to new highs, unemployment remains low and new jobs are being created.

Fran doesn’t think Trump is responsible for it, but he is, because he passed the laws that sent the signals to business.

Let’s be real here. Trump is not responsible for this. The trend was well under way during the Obama Administration as it set about restoring confidence after the GFC.

Trump’s election has not stopped this.

Bullshit Fran. The Democrats opposed these tax cuts, and all the companies making announcements are saying the tax regime is now conducive to returning to the US.

The President questions whether the UN has got sufficient upside from globalisation. He has questioned the World Trade Organisation’s mandate and threatened new barriers.

At last year’s Davos, Xi Jinping made a strong anti-protectionism speech.

In Hong Kong this week, the IMF’s David Lipton suggested China also has work to do before it can claim to be a free-trader.

Trump will continue to lay into nations which he feels have taken advantage of America.

New Zealand is not on that list. But our politicians should play clever rather than “poke the bear” over his transitory outrages.

See through the noise and concentrate on the main game.

Trump will be here until at least 2021 and has a good chance of another term.

It’s a shame Fran’s own employer can’t see through the noise. The proof is her claim that NZ is not on a list in the US. It is. We voted against them on a stupid resolution about moving the embassy to Jerusalem. That will bite us.

She is right though, Trump is lining up for re-election now.


-NZ Herald


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As much at home writing editorials as being the subject of them, Cam has won awards, including the Canon Media Award for his work on the Len Brown/Bevan Chuang story. When he’s not creating the news, he tends to be in it, with protagonists using the courts, media and social media to deliver financial as well as death threats.

They say that news is something that someone, somewhere, wants kept quiet. Cam Slater doesn’t do quiet and, as a result, he is a polarising, controversial but highly effective journalist who takes no prisoners.

He is fearless in his pursuit of a story.

Love him or loathe him, you can’t ignore him.

To read Cam’s previous articles click on his name in blue.