Thursday, November 10, 2016

Don't jump to conclusions on big bad Trump

Keep your shirt on. The world as we know it may be ending, but if so it won't be for a while. And maybe things won't change as much as feared.

Yesterday the experts were confidently predicting Hillary Clinton would be president. Today they are predicting Donald Trump's presidency will be a disaster with equal confidence. How do they know?

I find it hard to imagine Trump's ascendancy won't end up being bad for our economy, for the rest of the world and the Americans themselves.

But that's a long way down the track and lots of unexpected things could happen between now and then. Maybe even a few good things.

The thing of which I'm most certain is that the election of a climate change-denying president will further delay a serious response to the challenge by America and, through its bad influence, the rest of us.

But, hey, we are probably too late already. So no (extra) harm done. And Donald, you and I will be dead long before it gets really bad.

Sorry, back to the present. Don't forget the guy doesn't even get the job until January. And even then he may not yet have assembled the full range of his thousands of appointees.

Not that there is likely to be any shortage of volunteers. They won't be America's finest, but there will be plenty of people keen to be the president's friend.

The delay will give Wall Street and the world's share markets plenty of time to change their mind about Trump - several times.

Remember, share markets took no time to decide Brexit was the end of the world and only a little more to decide it wasn't.

And every new presidency starts with a honeymoon, in which all the people who voted him in rejoice - a new start for America! - some of the people who didn't wish they had, and everyone is glad to be shot of the last lot and all their failings.

Nothing very bad will happen in the honeymoon.

If one of the first new policies to go forward is Trump's plan to end decades of neglect by renewing America's public infrastructure, that would be a good thing of itself, would boost the US economy and spread a little growth on to the rest of us.

At the other extreme, should Trump lose no time in starting a trade war with China, everyone would lose - the US, China and the rest, with Australia prominent among those last.

This is where we must trust that America's celebrated "separation of powers" comes to the rescue, allowing other, wiser heads to prevent Trump from being as foolhardy as he said he would be.

Of course, the one prediction every Aussie voter can make made with confidence is that Trump, being a politician, will fail to keep most of his promises. Good.