A Dim Light In The Trump Dark

I
n America goes a proud boast, anyone can be president. Unfortunately, anyone often is. Instead of using the peace dividend from the accord with the Soviet Union to restore infrastructure and improve the lives of the people, a bill for $5 trillion from all the wars awaits.

Defying the forecasts of pollsters and pundits, Donald J. Trump became the 45th president of the United States. Yes, there have been demonstrations against him but these will die out. As the results coming in began to lean Trump's way, the markets in the east tumbled and Dow futures at first were down 1000 points. That is until the super conciliatory (for Trump) victory speech and the mention again of infrastructure. In the end, stocks rebounded strongly. Spending, of course, buoys the economy and spending for investment boosts it for the long run. It is why this author has been an advocate for the latter for many years (ZNet including other references March 1, 2011; "High Speed Rail, Infrastructure and Job Creation" Counterpunch July 10, 2013).

How could all the prognosticators have been so wrong? In the close battleground states, they predicted her vote quite accurately but underestimated Trump's support. It turns out the undecideds tend to vote in greater numbers against incumbents and Hillary was considered by them to be an incumbent surrogate, who would continue the Obama era. While President Obama is personally popular, his policies have brought endless war, a medical insurance plan that has not been an outright success, and a sluggish economic recovery. It was time for a change.

Everybody loves a winner and the House and Senate leaders of this Republican Congress have been queuing up to support their new president. With interest rates at record lows, the cost of capital for infrastructure could not be lower. Big infrastructure projects, requiring skilled and unskilled labor translating into hundreds of thousands of jobs, will certainly get the economy moving. The degree of success depends on the quality of those chosen to lead as well as the choice of projects, in addition that is to repair and upgrade.

The US is the only major industrialized economy without a high-speed rail system. A lateral across the country system supplemented with north-south connectivity on the Atlantic and Pacific coasts would transform the country, converting the seaboards into giant suburbs and facilitating access to jobs over wide areas.

An optimist would call it the silver lining in the Trump cloud. What remains to be seen is how quickly a President Trump can master the art and intricacy, political and otherwise, involved in public sector decisions, coupled with the ability to see them through.

Dr. Arshad M. Khan

Dr. Arshad M. Khan is a former Professor based in the US.  Educated at King's College London, OSU and The University of Chicago, he has a multidisciplinary background that has frequently informed his research.  Thus he headed the analysis of an innovation survey of Norway, and his work on SMEs published in major journals has been widely cited.  He has for several decades also written for the press:  These articles and occasional comments have appeared in print media such as The Dallas Morning News, Dawn (Pakistan), The Fort Worth Star Telegram, The Monitor, The Wall Street Journal and others.  On the internet, he has written for Antiwar.com, Asia Times, Common Dreams, Counterpunch, Countercurrents, Dissident Voice, Eurasia Review and Modern Diplomacy among many.  His work has been quoted in the U.S. Congress and published in its Congressional Record. 

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