While I listened to the inauguration speech of Donald Trump I tried to follow the body language of former presidents on the balcony of the white house. But they didn’t convey much information. The faces of the Obama’s, the Bush’s and the Clintons stayed blanc. Only every so often a polite applause from Obama was all I saw. The speech itself gave not much applause either. Not even from the ‘crowds’ in front of the White House.
And yet for them their was plenty of oral support: ‘Never again will the people of the United States be left out again. Together we will make America great again for all the people.’
To me it sounded like a policy of isolation of the US. The last time that really happened between 1920 and 1940 was explictily directed against Japan. Some writers say it resulted in the second world war. We are not as far as that yet. At this moment – 24 hours after the inauguration - I wonder what will happen. Let’s see:
1. Trumps promise to bring back jobs to the US maybe not so new as it sounds. Reshoring, the proces that is meant to bring back production of a large number of companies is already underway for the last ten years. But the number of additional jobs created will stay relatively small, because robots will take over the work to be done. Robots nowadays are already cheaper than the cheap labour elsewhere in the world.
2. (Re)building bridges, tunnels highways, etc. to compensate for deferred maintenance will cost trillions of dollars. Though that may create lots of jobs the question remains: how will Trump finance the infrastructure? Higher taxes? For whom? If he doesn’t want the burden for ‘the Americans who will no longer be ignored’ grow? This becomes more interesting because Trump also wants restrictions in international trade. Will the GOP happily approve higher taxes for the rich?
3. Restrictions on international trade will almost certainly lead to a lower gross domestic product. So again what will be the benefits for all those forgotten Americans?
We will see. The first signs are that Trump is not running hard to repeal obamacare.