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Get Ready for Another Trump Bump
The opposition to US President Donald J Trump has plagued his entire first term in office.
Despite being attacked by both the mainstream media and the Washington establishment, Trump has managed to rein in rogue states like North Korea and Iran, end a 20-year old war in the Middle East, redefine the bilateral economic relationships with every major country the US does business with, brokered an oil war solution with the Russians and Saudis, and in the latter half of 2019, started to see the US move on a path to the best unemployment and economic growth potential it has ever seen. ALL THIS WHILE CONGRESS WAS TRYING TO IMPEACH PRESIDENT TRUMP.
With great enthusiasm, Trump’s political foes embraced the external shock to the US economy⏤as the novel SARS-CoV2 coronavirus that causes COVID-19 came on the scene in the first half of 2020, it was like a party celebrating a ‘god’.
Finally, ’the gods’ struck that nasty Trump fellow with a bolt of lightning from which even he surely could not ever recover from.
But I am not so sure “The Donald” should be counted out. He is like a cat with nine lives. Indeed, looking at the economy objectively, the fundamentals that President Trump has put into place since taking office are showing that his administration is no paper tiger. To me anyway, it is looking to be more of a mighty lion that took a nap in the spring. It may very well be positioned as a more powerful coiled spring that could take the US economy to new heights in the latter half of 2020.
The stock market’s growing confidence in the economy is such that the major US indexes are, at this moment, at around the same levels they were a year ago. It is true that we have erased the 2019 Trump Bump that took place in the latter half of last year. However, it is also true that we have erased the panic driven COVID-19 nosedive of the first half of 2020. That means, as the economy re-opens, the fundamental path of recovery favors a return to the broader agenda of Donald Trump.
Those fundamental forces have been strong despite COVID-19. It is amazing how much business is still going on despite the media’s doom and gloom impression that the coronavirus has shut down the economy. Essential industries never slowed down. We even put Americans into space from US soil in the middle of it; and unfurled the flag of a new Space Force that will have a “super duper” missile.
Some might argue that companies may have improved their operating efficiencies, discovering which workers were essential and which were not, with attendant cost savings to their bottom lines.
The tactic is a favorite method of managing the reporting optics of companies. The coronavirus made it mandatory for companies to execute staffing changes they probably would not have.
It has changed a fair portion of the definition of the American workplace. The economy is clearly adapting to new forms of work. Workers with jobs that could be done remotely are doing so. Their companies remain functional. The conversion has gone smoother than people thought. The process is working so well, that many companies are looking at letting more workers do so permanently. Some will undoubtedly find that they don’t need nearly the same office space, and cost, as they did prior to the so-called “new normal”.
Some businesses are discovering they can rotate workers trading off part time work hours versus permanent layoffs, thus retaining access to employee skills and corporate memory at lower cost. The four-day workweek and job function team sharing workforce designs that theorists have examined academically are being realized.
Some are also rotating employees between being employed and unemployed to balance their businesses. They are using the unemployment insurance system to buffer the impact on their staffs. This is not an unknown pattern in some countries where people sometimes do work for half a year and go on the dole the other half.
Culturally, the next American social challenge may well be, what will people do with the rest of their time as the “new normal” becomes the norm? Regardless, it means a new American society is emerging. And it is emerging during President Trump’s administration. Any upside to this realignment to the economy will credit his watch.
When you add the fact that post-COVID-19⏤the world will embark on a massive exercise to realign the manufacturing and supply chain matrix of the global economy plus the reality that whether the Chinese like us or not, their need for agricultural goods from the United States isn’t going away, there are certainly fundamental forces at work that will demand the US economy expand to fill the available space.
Never count the US economy out! It is resilient, adaptive, and has proven to shrug off crises time and time again.
Dennis Santiago is an author and commentator on national policy and global stability issues. His subject matter expertise was developed during the Cold War as a strategic warfare systems analyst, missile defense architect, and arms control analyst. He is the author of the US Imperfect Defense Theory of Strategic Missile Defense. Dennis has worked on conventional warfare, nuclear warfare, and asymmetric warfare. His expertise includes combat aircraft, ordnance, electronic warfare, command and control, campaign design, and game theory.