Memoirs of the Addams Administration 2.

During his first week in office,[1] President Donald Trump ended American participation in the Trans-Pacific Partnership trade agreement[2]; took the first step toward re-negotiation of the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) by arranging to meet the leaders of Canada and Mexico[3]; instructed the Department of Homeland Security to begin completion of the border wall; ordered that federal funds not go to any “sanctuary cities”[4]; indicated that he would lift President Obama’s blockage of the Dakota Access and the Keystone XL pipelines; began the process of “repealing and replacing” the Affordable Care Act by instructing federal agencies waive regulations that [the presidentially-appointed head of the agency] regards as burdensome; ordered the Environmental Protection Agency (E.P.A.) to pause in issuing grants and contracts; barred foreign aid funds from going to international agencies or groups that provide information on abortions[5]; and imposed a federal hiring freeze.[6]  All these steps appear to be reasonable efforts to fulfill promises that candidate Trump made during his campaign.

Furthermore, the president told a group of businessmen that he wanted to lower the corporate tax rate from 35 percent to the 15-20 percent range,[7] and to cut back federal regulation of business by 75 percent.

More alarming—to many if not all—was President Trump’s renewed claim that millions—up to five millions–of people had voted illegally in November 2016.  He promised to launch an investigation.  In addition, he seems eager for a war against the press/media, and he swats aside predictions of conflict of interest.  In addition, the president and his spokespeople have attacked the press—America’s last large unregulated industry—while trumpeting “alternative facts.”[8]  A 500,000-strong Women’s March on Washington had a divided impact.  Supporters saw it as “resistance”; while critics saw it as resistance to a democratic election.[9]

So, a fast start to his first term as president.

[1] “President Trump makes his mark,” The Week, 3 February 2017, p. 4.

[2] The agreement already was Dead-on-Arrival, given the shift in position by both parties during the 2016 election campaign.  Bernie Sanders or Hillary Clinton would have done the same thing.

[3] The two men signaled a willingness to negotiate.   Then came the whole personal spat.

[4] These are cities that refuse to co-operate with Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) in searching for illegal immigrants.  They do, however, avidly pursue federal money for other projects.

[5] This does not prevent other countries from providing those funds.

[6] This freeze ensnared my son, a seasonal wildlands firefighter for the National Forest Service.  The freeze seems unlikely to last, especially once the West catches fire in July 2017.

[7] The nominal Canadian basic tax rate is 38 percent, but a “federal tax abatement” cuts it to 28 percent, and a general tax reduction cuts the effective tax rate to 15 percent.

[8] “’Alternative facts’: Is Trump at war with reality?” The Week, 3 February 2017, p. 6.

[9] “Women’s March: The progressive backlash against Trump,” The Week, 3 February 2017, p.16.

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