Sunday, July 24, 2016

Scary

I watched small segments of the Republican party convention and some of Trump's acceptance speech. As much as I have tried to tune it out I have followed the Trump campaign. Over the years I have voted for both Republican and Democratic candidates. Most of my career has been in business. I have also worked in local government. My employers and clients have been both Democrat and Republican. I lived in Asia for about 2 1/2 years and have traveled and worked in about 20 countries. My friends, associates, business and other relationships consist of people with a wide variety of business, ethnic, economic, educational, geographic, cultural  and religious backgrounds. I have worked for and on behalf of men and women, the public at large and a wide variety of people who have little if any power or resources to folks that have vast amounts. If you know me well you know I am a big reader in a variety of subjects. For several years I authored economic, industry and public company research for professional investors.

Over the past year I have listened to Trump denigrate women, single out Muslims, insult Mexicans/Mexico, handicapped people and the Pope among others along with anyone else who disagrees with him in the worst way possible. His remarks and behavior are very disturbing. At this point in the campaign his behavior is well documented and in my view reaches the lowest of lows. He is not fit to be President of the United States and I will not vote for him.

On the policy front, the odds of him implementing his political rhetoric as his stated approach is at best simplistic and at worst a lie. On this front he has demonstrated again and again a complete lack of knowledge of issues he raises. I do not know if he is a reader but based on his arguments he does not appear to be. The facts and reality are not the point for Trump and his supporters. The examples are many and I will touch on a few.

On trade, if you are going to address the issue you have to understand and think about the concept of comparative advantage. I learned about the concept in the first one or two economic classes I took in undergraduate school owing to the fact that this is a basic core economic concept. As far as I know, he has not thought about this as I have not heard him mention it. I may be wrong, but I do not get the impression he has any understanding of this.

On bringing back jobs in the coal industry, to understand the probability of this outcome you have to understand the concept of the energy complex and how pricing between energy commodities (i.e. natural gas, coal, oil and alternatives) influences supply and demand for each commodity. If you attempt to understand this and have some level of intellectual curiosity you begin to understand that the long-term pricing for natural gas (among other factors) influences the demand for coal which in turn influences the demand for coal workers. Trump's rhetoric does change this concept. This concept has a bigger long-term influence on demand for coal and therefore jobs in the coal mining industry than Trump can ever hope to have. If he does not recognize this basic fact he is completely lost. On the other hand, if you assume he in fact understands this, then you have to conclude he is completely misleading the coal miners and the voting public based on his rhetoric.

Trump's rant about the wall across the Mexican border is more about prejudice than reality as it makes little sense. So much has been said here I have little to add except to say if you truly care about this issue and  want to understand  it, at a minimum, I would recommend looking at cross border trade flows, immigration patterns and historic relative economic prosperity over the years on both sides of the border. This level of thought and complexity is not discussed by Trump and his supporters. Wise folks should consider facts that do not support their opinion or Trump's dogma. How much are you willing to bet Trump and his supporters will do this? I could go on and on but will not. Trump's campaign is not based on about facts, complexity, reality or substance and instead is based dogma that appeals to the worst instincts in our nation's history.

His acceptance speech was the darkest speech I heard in my lifetime. It confirmed my worst fears about Trump and brought back the memories of the worst authoritarian dictators in the century. If he is elected the U.S. and world will be a much darker and scarier place in my humble opinion.

Finally, look things look decent here in the U.S. contrary to Trump's questionable opinion.