US President Donald Trump is a very wealthy man. He also has many wealthy friends and associates who achieved success in various sectors of the economy. Like any leader, Donald Trump is inclined to tap the advice of those he knows and those who know how to be successful. Where it is natural for elected officials to reach out to experts, the bias and limitation of experts can also blindside public officials to serious problems and critical faults of public policy solutions. Hailing from a similar background as many of advisers, a man like Donald Trump is inclined to easily agree with many of his advisers, which means he must be particularly careful when developing public policies.
Alleged “pro-business economic policies,” for example, often provide cosmetic results that portray a healthy economy in the short-term, even when much of the economy is either ailing or on the verge of collapse. The old mantra, “what is good for GM,” or any major corporation, “is good for America,” has become less true in far fewer situations. Today, what benefits a corporation can easily hurt small businesses and individuals. Removing trade barriers, for example, encourages corporations to outsource their operations, unless the costs of governance, worker safety, pollution, and so on are displaced onto citizens, the environment, and small businesses that cannot outsource. In essence, tariff free trade policies create a harmful tax on those who support our domestic economy, instead of those simply exploiting the domestic economy.
Fixing our economy requires public officials to tap corporate executives and other economic experts, but these individuals must properly weigh the bias of their own background and offer solutions that reflect US interests, even when doing so goes against their business interests. If someone like Donald Trump is truly to be the leader of the United States, he must be willing to, for example, slash subsidies to the real-estate industry when they do not serve the broader interests of the US, i.e. when they encourage real-estate bubbles and contribute to the National Debt. In other words, he must be willing to shoot himself in the foot for the sake of America, if he is to build sound economic policies that address the short and long-term interests of the United States as a country.
Furthermore, the sole interest of any modern government, in terms of economics, is the financial wellbeing of its own People, yet countries like the US often fail to focus on this fundamental interest. The US Federal government and US State governments have a tendency to pursue the interests of the best funded lobbyists as well as the voting blocks that marginally decide the outcome of elections. In short, the success of corporations and the benefits to trading partners come first with the hope that the interests of US citizens will be served. This lack of a capitalist mindset, i.e. a failure to put our Country’s interests first, translates into a government that loses out on tax income and overspends on commitments, among many other irrational practices.
One major reason government often fails to embrace a capitalist mindset is that humans tend to think in more direct terms than indirect terms. It is tempting to claim “free market” policies in terms of regulation, trade, and the global economy, for example, are the most capitalist oriented policies possible. It is, however, important to once again recognize a true capitalist will lookout for his, her, or its interests when embracing certain practices and policies. Businesses are against regulation when it costs them, yet they generally encourage regulation when they can use it to undermine competition while “free markets” are all the rage, until a bailout or subsidy is expected. Even communist countries like China will claim they are against protectionist policies, though their mostly socialist countries are built on protectionist policies.
Because all capitalist entities will more often than not move to ensure they achieve their perceived interests, government must also act as a capitalist entity and always pursue policies that ensure its interests are met. As a wealthy businessman advised by wealthy businessmen, Donald Trump will be inclined to craft public policy in such a way that serves the interests of wealthy businesses, which is something most politicians tend to do. As the head of the government, however, President Donald Trump must craft public policies that serve US interests instead of business interests. Only when the interests of the United States as a nation and businesses align should the US pursue policies that serve business interests.
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