Fly on the wall – III

For those of you that have not read my first two parts of this post, here is a link:

Fly on the wall Part I   Written before the election.

Fly on the wall Part II Written right after the election.

Well, we are at the end of week 3 and start of week 4 of the new administration. The view from outside the US is very interesting.  Here are some of the highlights of the past three weeks:

  • The first is the directive to work towards repeal and replacement of ACA.  The title of this piece is – Minimizing the Economic Burden of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act Pending Repeal. Though the order has been made, it is proving to be difficult to make any progress. GOP members are getting a lot of angry feedback from their constituents in the town hall meetings. We even had a Sanders Vs. Cruz debate on this topic. Apparently the powers that be have realized that repealing without replacement is out of question. Replacement will need lot of thinking and consensus building etc. and the will take time. We need to wait and watch what happens next.
  • Withdrawal from the TPP. While there has always been an anti globalization under current for a while, this action assumes a different significance when seen with the America First agenda and threats of border tax. The automobile industry and other industries have a supply chain that goes across borders and it is doubtful how quickly they can re-configure to survive in the new environment. On the other hand, the auto industry has consistently held our government (Canadian) to ransom every few years and pocketed a few billions to keep the jobs in Canada.
  • Removed climate change from the White house website. Congress kills the Stream protection rule as a precursor to reinvigorating the Coal mining industry. This move can potentially endanger clean stream of water by exposing them to industrial pollution. Apparently Leonardo dicaprio did not succeed in convincing Trump about the fragile balance in which the environment is struggling to stay viable.
  • Removing protections for retirees from the financial advisors. The removal of the Fiduciary duty to keep client interest first can potentially cause the repeat of what prompted the law in the first place. It opens the possibility for Financial advisors to recommend products that are more profitable to them instead of products that suit their clients risk profile. Another initiative is to review the post crash banking regulations and do away with them. If you put these two actions together, what we are seeing is a return to the bad days of pre-crash where banks launched exotic products (like mortgage backed securities) and for good profit, the advisors sold it to their clients (who believed their advisors) until the big crash and subsequent bailout with tax payers money.
  • Criticize Companies, Judges and countries. This Twitter enabled action by the President is unprecedented in the history. As a redeeming gesture, we now know that all is o.k with the One China policy.
  • Travel ban announced abruptly and a lot of deportations underway while two levels of court have ruled for a stay on the ban.Overwhelming protests followed the ban announcement but as per WH officials, it was mostly due to a computer glitch at on of the airlines.
  • Jeff Sessions appointed Attorney General while Elizabeth Warren silenced. Apparently if a Senator has anything bad in their record, it is wrong for another Senator to point it out in the Senate even if it is relevant to the discussion at hand.
  • Pence casts a vote to break the tie and appoint Betsy deVos as secretary of education.
  • News that during the election, Flynn may have assured the Russians and asked them not to retaliate to sanctions.
  • News (or fake news) that the intelligence community has corroborated parts of the Dossier on Trump that was prepared by an Ex intelligence operative from Britain.
  • All Social Media companies are not working on combating Fake News while Tim Cook renewed the call to redouble the efforts.

Now is the time when the rubber hits the road. In the next few months, we will be testing all the economic theories that we have believed to be true. The American voters starting to feel the consequences of their vote will make up their mind in light of all of the above.

In summary, the first three weeks have been chaotic, caused a lot of uncertainty and discord on a national as well as global scale. Hopefully the new administration settles down in the next few weeks and polishes up its execution and communication.

Finally, if you have read so far, I am sorry to say that all my opinions have been formed by what Trump calls the Dishonest Media peddling its fake news. LOL!

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