The Bull's Eye

A YEAR OF TRUMP

A YEAR OF TRUMP

By the numbers

After one year and 32 days: 15 administrative casualties, thousands of tweets and an endless string on controversies. As Donald J. Trump begins his second year as the President of the United States, here is a look back on his first.

57

executive orders

2461

tweets

829.63

hours on golf course

Foreign Policy

Trump has made good on his promise to put “America First,” abandoning the Trans-Pacific Partnership trade deal last year, lessening U.S. influence in the Asia-Pacific area.

A few months later, the U.S. pulled out of the Paris Climate Change Agreement. Trump has also publicly criticized the leaders of Britain and Germany, two of America’s important allies, while praising those of Russia and China.

His silence on Article 5 of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization, which guarantees all member countries will rush to the defense of those under attack, speaks volumes about his lack of commitment towards even America’s longest-standing alliances. Trump’s policies, while nominally meant to protect U.S. jobs and interests, are in reality extremely concerning. If Trump continues to shun the country’s traditional allies, he might find himself with none.

In addition, every action he takes in office is overshadowed by the ongoing investigation into ties he has with the Russian government.

A number of his advisors have already been removed from office after failing to reveal their communication with Russian officials, and the newly-released memo penned by House Intelligence Chairman Devin Nunes has stirred up the controversy further.

 

Economy

As a disclaimer, it is difficult to attribute economic changes to a single president, especially one in his first year, since the market reflects changes that build up over time.

The businessman-turned-politician takes credit for nearly 1.7 million jobs created since last February, much more than his predecessor Barack Obama managed in his first year.

This has also led to the greatest drop in unemployment for any president not named Bill Clinton or Jimmy Carter.

Data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics indicates that the U3 unemployment rate, or the standard rate, has been falling since 2011. The U6 unemployment rate, which takes into account those who are working part-time because they cannot find jobs in their desired field and those who have given up the employment search due to bad economic conditions, has also been falling steadily since 2011, according to data from the Bureau.            

In conjunction these indicate that while employment has risen under Trump, the job boom may not be a direct result of his policies and instead reflect a longer-term trend.

Finally, Trump claimed in his State of the Union address that his “massive tax cuts provide tremendous relief for the middle class and small businesses.” Many Republicans have professed support for the bill, even though it may not help them, in part due to its promise of generating federal revenue. Yet, the main beneficiaries of Trump’s new plan are the top one percent.

According to data from the Tax Policy Center’s analysis of the bill, by 2027 the benefits for the bottom 80 percent of Americans essentially disappear, with the bottom 20 percent actually experiencing a tax hike. The top one percent will experience an average tax cut just north of $30,000, while the top 0.1 percent will experience a cut of over $200,000.

In addition, the TPC model predicts that about 80 percent of the benefits companies receive from tax cuts go directly to stakeholders and capital, with only around 20 percent actually benefiting workers. While even passing the bill is a legislative victory for Trump in and of itself, others like it have been few and far between.

Thus, while the economy has undergone growth under Trump, most of it cannot be attributed to policies he enacted.

 

Judicial System

When stepping into office, Trump had an unusually large number of vacant seats on the federal bench to fill—double the number Obama faced.

According to the Associated Press, the overwhelming majority of the judges he has nominated so far have been white. As of Jan. 13, 19 of his nominations have been confirmed, with another 47 pending Senate approval and another 102 empty spots waiting to be filled.

If Trump’s current pattern continues, he will be reversing a trend toward greater judicial diversity began by Bill Clinton over two decades ago. The aftershocks of these nominations will be felt long after Trump leaves office and will have a lasting impact on everyone in the U.S.

While we can never be certain exactly how each judge will vote on every case, the presence of so many Republicans on the bench will certainly extend Trump’s influence.

Summary

Has Trump really made America great again? The verdict: While the economy improved over the course of his first year in office, not all of its growth can be attributed to Trump. Trump’s ideas on foreign policy and his judge nominations, while conforming to his campaign promises, might not be in the country’s best interests.

All in all, while Trump has remained loyal to his supporters, his historically low approval ratings indicate that not all of them have returned the favor. While Trump’s first year as president has left much to be desired, he still has three more years to impress.

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