Friday, November 11, 2016

Economic Outlook

Although the Times still is publishing an extra section to cover election "news," and a lot of young people in urban centers haven't figured out that you're supposed to organize and get active before bad things happen, the dust is beginning to settle.

Somebody seems to have assured Wall Street that our next president will not be starting any trade wars, so the markets have stabilized.  Given Tr*mp's anti-regulatory instincts and the promise of even more tax advantages for the rich, a bit of a bull market certainly isn't out of the question.  Economically, it looks like Republican-as-usual on the horizon.

The narrow Republican majority in the Senate means that Obamacare, such as it is, will be safe for a while — although steady defunding seems inevitable.  In a way, it's a shame: the total elimination of Obamacare could pave the way for genuine national health insurance down the line.  The biggest beneficiaries of the ACA were those newly qualified for Medicaid, and it's pretty clear that letting market forces determine health spending continues to be unworkable.

I wonder how successful Tr*mp can be in moving expensive infrastructure projects past the deficit hawks.  They even might balk at a substantial expansion of border controls.  Forget the "wall" altogether: if there is any real progress towards seizing remittances to Mexico, invest in virtual currency exchanges — or, perhaps, organized crime cartels.

The biggest damage will be done to the fight against climate change — but even there, it seems to be too late to save the coal industry.  Hopefully, though, the industry's last gasps won't be a prelude to our own.

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