By Hussain Abdul Hussain
President Donald Trump ended the year on what seemed to be a high note, snatching a significant legislative victory as Congress passed one of the biggest tax-cut laws in decades. Trump continuously boasted that America’s stock market was recording new highs by the day, that unemployment was near record-low at 4.1 percent, and that the GDP in 2017 grew at an average rate of 3 percent, 1 percentage point higher than the 2-percent average since 2000.
But for all his boast and bombast, Trump’s economic performance -- which he has made his signature policy given his previous experience as a businessman -- might not be as strong as he depicts it.
In his first weeks in office, Trump presumably convinced Carrier to reverse its decision to lay off 1,800 of its workers at one of its factories in Indiana. Because Vice President Mike Pence had just left Indiana’s governorship, he was able to pull some strings to offer Carrier some state tax incentives. Carrier agreed to keep the workers, as Trump went on TV to declare that there would be consequences for companies that decide to offshore their operations.
Few months passed before Carrier announced, again, that it would lay off 500 workers, with more cuts looming
When it came to jobs, Trump has claimed low unemployment as one of his achievements. By December, the U.S. economy had created jobs for the 99th consecutive month, a record in U.S. history. Yet, only 11 of these 99 months were on Trump’s watch, with the remaining 88 months of job creation happening during the presidency of his predecessor Barack Obama.
Like his Carrier stunt, Trump always put a spin on his policies to make them sound better than they actually are. His tax cuts, according to the non-partisan Congressional Budget Office, will not only punch a hole in America’s annual deficit and national debt, now standing at over 100 percent of its GDP, the office also said that by the time the temporary tax-cut for individuals expires in 2023 (while cuts for corporations remain permanent), taxes would have effectively risen on most Americans.
Trump might not deliver on the economy as much as he promised, yet the American economy -- alongside the world economy at large -- is expected to expand in the coming few years, which makes the U.S. economic performance the least of Trump’s concerns.
After his first year in office, Trump should be concerned over several other issues, some pertaining to policy -- such as his confused foreign policy -- and others connected to the ongoing investigation into possible collusion between Trump and his lieutenants, on one hand, and Russia, on the other, during his presidential campaign in 2016.
Like on the economy, Trump has claimed
Meanwhile, Trump continued berating his predecessor for his Iran policy, accusing Obama of appeasement and of reaching “the worst (nuclear) deal in history”. Despite taking a stronger position against Daesh, Trump has yet to escalate in ways that force JCPOA, the international nuclear agreement with Iran, to crumble.
Trump has so far endorsed a confused policy on Iran. He made the Office
Another foreign policy that Trump designed to part ways with Obama was
But because Trump believes that by keeping Israel happy he can get the Jewish-American vote and election funds, he became the first sitting U.S. president to visit the Western Wall in Jerusalem.
Trump also tried to hint that he would go where none of his predecessors dared to go: He ordered the relocation of the U.S. embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem. What Trump did not say, however, was which Jerusalem. By intentionally not saying “united Jerusalem” or “East Jerusalem,” Trump effectively left the question of the U.S. move open, and amenable to fall in line with the positions of the members of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC), which met in Istanbul to declare that “East Jerusalem” is the capital of the would-be Palestinian state, hence leaving West Jerusalem open for a possible relocation of the U.S. or any other embassy in Israel.
Domestically, Trump has suffered. The courts have blocked many of his executive orders, such as a travel ban and an Obama-era protection program for illegal under-age immigrants (known as DACA). Trump also looked worried and unable to shake off a federal investigation into his possible collusion with the Russian government.
To complicate things further, shortly after his election as president, Trump fired FBI Director James Comey after having failed to convince him to drop the Russia investigation. Special Investigator and former FBI Director Robert Mueller assembled the best team of investigators as he went after Trump, his family members
As Trump tries to deflect attention away from his legal troubles, often by posting controversial Tweets, he has also urged Republican lawmakers to kill the investigation by
Even though Trump employed his sales skills to convince Americans that his first year in office has been remarkable, with unparalleled achievements, the majority of Americans seem aware of his spin. Hence, the Democrats have shown extraordinary results over the course of seven election rounds held throughout 2017, most remarkably in the states of Virginia, New Jersey
Because of his unpopularity, 29 Republican Congress members — including eight veteran committee
If the Democrats retake
*Opinions expressed in this article are the author’s own and do not necessarily reflect the editorial policy of Anadolu Agency.