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End of term review.

So after three years and confronting impeachment, a bundle of court cases, 6 of his close staff in gaol, and a staff churn of historic proportions, how is the leader of the free world doing? 

North Korea now treats the US as a totem punch bag.

China is in for the long haul, will wait out the election and shows llittle intention of weakening. The impact of negotiations so far has been entirely negataive.

Elsewhere the White House has encouraged disunity (Europe, WTO, NATO), favoured Despotism (Venezuala, Turkey), increased uncertainty (Canada, Mexico and manufacturing everywhere) and supported luddite* thinking at a time of technological expansion (Climate change). The big winner during these three years has been Russia and Putin, our single evil adversary.

We are very lucky. Immediately this may not matter here in the US – our economy is so resiliant, the consumer is in such fine shape, low unemployment and low interest rates all add up to a powerful momentum going forward. This was a momentum begun long before the current President – to his credit it has continued it. But the US today is an integral part of the world’s economies, and of the world’s societies – here are one or two thoughts:

  • We have pulled awy from our right to a Rooseveltian role of world influence. Events will increasingly take place without our input. Our reputation, already questioned, will become demonised as for example with Climate Change where we chatter at the edge of the abyss. Yesterday 631 global institutional investors managing $37 Trillion called for a reversal of thinking.
  • The market here is enjoying a goldilocks period.It is growing at around 2%. But it, manufacturing investment and agriculture are held back from realising their potential by the risibly chaotic trade talks and threat of tariffs with all comers. The underlying potential in this economy is at least 1-2% points higher. Future success with China will not rest on a few rules.  It will rest on competetive and timely investment in tomorrow’ science and technology – that is being constrained by the indequacies of the current thinking, and by the day to day doubts raised by the stop go negotations.
  • Junk debt is a growing problem that already threatens to put the FED into a straight jacket over raising interest rates – so more debt becomes more seductive and the vicious cycle continues.
  • The White House meddlings in the private sector is now approaching an abuse of office. The President has no claim to a place in the pantheon of business greats – but Jeff Bezos certainly does. We should take notice when his great company Amazon claims the President used pressure to divert the JEDI defence contract to Microsoft in petulant revenge over articles published in the storied newspaper – The Washington Post – also owned by Bezos.
  • America’s leader is helping this great nation to become sour, selfish, deceitful and insensitive – is that where we want to go?
  • Have a good day. James.
  • “Luddite” – the name given to roving gangs of hand loom operators in the early 19th century put out of work by the new mass production cotton mills and factories in the North of England. Unable to come to terms with the new technology of the Inustrial Rvolution they broke up the machinery, and burned the mills. It has come to describe unthinking, regressive attitudes that are unable to embrace new tchnology, new thinking and new attitudes.