Published On: Mon, Nov 14th, 2016

It’s the Truth: Political Decisions Have Consequences

It’s the Truth: Political Decisions Have Consequences

 

Carlos-Barbieri-retrato-122x150By Carlo Barbieri

 

“Every political decision comes with consequences.”  Certainly someone said that during the presidential campaign of 2016 that came to an official end on Nov. 8 after what seemed an eternity of rhetoric, verbal jousting and flying insults.

The United States got its November surprise this year in the form of a resounding victory for billionaire entrepreneur Donald J. Trump. In the two months until he takes the oath of office, the nation – and the world – will ponder, predict and pontificate about what consequences his win will have on the national and international economy, and how he will relate to Latin America in general, and Brazil in particular.

Trump’s “surprising” victory brings with it several unanswered questions as well as some certainties. But what is surprising, in retrospect, is the continuing inaccuracy of pre-election polls. Many prognosticators seemed to pull their estimates right out of Hillary Clinton’s pocket. Clearly, we had been pre-polled to believe that Election Night was Hillary’s game to win – until results took a Trump turn – and by mid-morning on Nov. 9, the part time Palm Beacher was declared the winner.

It’s not surprising that polls about conservative candidates seem to be reported differently than what the final tallies turn out to be. This happens in Brazil, the USA and practically all over the world.

But this election is over. And while the predictors can put their pens aside for another year, many people – perhaps a million or so – want to perpetuate the battle by protesting and demanding an 11th hour turn to Hillary Clinton by the Electoral College.

 

World Trend – Globalization

Looking past the election, a realistic and more exacting analysis confirms that not only is the United States changing, but so is the world at large.

This globalization can be cause for celebration, for example, when it is used positively – such as increasing revenue through improved international commerce.

Financial fluidity, however, can also be viewed with some skepticism when it seeps into the political and societal realms – particularly as it refers to entitlements. As we prepare to relegate Barack Obama to the history books, the government continues to support a segment of the population that essentially does nothing – and returns nothing.

After all, few people want to work and pay taxes to maintain and subsidize a non-performing element – including many foreigners — who are contributing nothing to this country.

With Donald Trump coming into office, questions are being asked about those who live off the favor of the state, which is maintained by the taxpayers; specifically, what are the limits of these favors.

The administration about to leave office never truly questioned the extent of government handouts, even though many citizens have expressed a weariness to continue doling out these benefits.

Today, a person can get the rent paid by the state, have a cell phone paid by the state, food stamps given by the state, state unemployment assistance, aid for single mothers, and so on. Some recipients can tally nearly $4,000 a month without working — more than a bank manager’s pay.

A finance-minded person like Trump will undoubtedly take a hard look at entitlements.

 

Who Won?

When you think about it, who actually won the Nov. 8 election? Under Trump, will Americans truly take over the reins of the American government?

Who are these Americans? The workers, the white and Christian middle class? What about the Latinos who represented 30% of the vote?

If this group won, who lost? Traditional politicians have lost. The “Establishment” was shut out. The Democratic Party lost, but many in the Republican Party lost, too – the “NeverTrumpers” and members of the GOP who refused to back Trump, but have returned, hat in hand, to curry favor with him now that he has won.

One thing is certain. Judging by the chaos of the election, the people of the United States, like those in São Paulo, are tired of being used by politicians.

 

What about Brazil? 

The new phase of national policy in the US expanding internationally will surely bring changes and sequels, even internally.

As we told French Radio, we do not think the election of Donald Trump is a problem for Brazil. The president-elect has already had disagreements with Mexico and will need a strong partner in Latin America. Brazil is the perfect nation to take that role.

In the same way, Brazil is a viable alternative if Mr. Trump has problems with China.

 

Immigration Issues

Immigration, vis-à-vis investment and business visas, should not undergo any changes. On the contrary, the E-2 visa program could be more easily left for Brazil to handle without the rancorous posture of its previous government. The former administration is gone, removed in ignominious fashion. Immigration should set as its target investments in US jobs as the Trump administration begins to raise employment levels to more than existing, mediocre numbers.

What is at risk are undocumented immigrants. More than 12 million. Surely those who have committed crimes should be persecuted. The others, we hope, will find the means and solutions to stay and contribute to America.

 

A Last Review

It can unequivocally be seen that the election of 2016 represented a victory of imprudence over impudence. The American people preferred the risk of a president who appears to be emotionally unfiltered, a bit too frank and often crude, to a president who, along with her husband, allegedly stuffed their personal coffers and their “foundation” with illegitimately procured money. Voters preferred the unknown risk of explicit recklessness to the specter of hidden e-mails – a situation that may never be resolved.

They preferred to risk the madness of an entrepreneur to the negligence of a former secretary of state and senator.

We can even say that there was the victory of a hope with the desire to change against the fear of continuing present follies.

Certainly under Trump, there will be more investments in the US than ever before. Capital seeks security and profitability. Trump will offer that.

Many Obama voters who endorsed the current president with the desire for change, voted for Trump now with the same hope, but more certainty.

Actually, voters didn’t look to just the next four years, but to 40, with the Supreme Court nominations about to take place and which will impact our laws for a generation. One vacancy must be filled, and one or two other incumbent judges may end up being changed.

Americans voted for the lesser evil, chose the risk of a man of uncertainty to a woman with a 30-year record that is certain, but is packed with self-serving decisions.

As it is said on US shores: God save America.

 

Carlo Barbieri

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