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Demonizing the Donald

For some, President Donald Trump can do no right, but so far there is much to applaud. Still, one great challenge threatens to undermine everything.

For most of the mass media, the federal bureaucracy, academia and the Democratic Party (and a number of Republicans), President Donald Trump can do nothing whatsoever good or right. Whichever side he takes on any issue, domestic or foreign, is for that very reason, wrong. Former President Obama has even taken the extraordinary and unprecedented step of founding an organization dedicated to opposing his successor and everything he does.

After one year of the totally unexpected Trump presidency, it is high time to step back and take a more balanced view of the course of American policy since January 20, 2017. As with all presidents, it is neither wholly good nor wholly bad. Although hardly surprising, given his lack of political experience and involvement, there has been a great deal of confusion and at times even chaos in the White House. It is certainly true that Trump’s personality and behavior can be, and often is, vulgar, and at times mendacious.

Nevertheless, on the plus side domestically, he has presided over the passage of a tax reform that is already resulting in increased economic activity and the repatriation of companies, reserves and jobs, just as promised. The burden of regulation, vastly increased under Obama, is being steadily lightened. The administration is anything but politically correct, and that is a good thing, considering the damage done by political correctness over the preceding eight years.

On the foreign side, American policy has been reversed. Instead of attacking friends and supporting enemies, the reverse is now the situation (with the significant exception of abandoning the Iraqi Kurds). Certain European countries are treated with the contempt they deserve while China and Russia (after a quickly aborted honeymoon) are confronted where they need to be.

With reference to Israel, the contrast with the Obama administration couldn’t be stronger. It may be a bit hyperbolic to say that the Trump administration is the the most Israel-friendly in history, but it is true, at least up to this point, and yet Trump’s relations with some of the Sunni powers are also good.

Up to this point, a positive balance overall. However, one yuge (to mimic the president) failure threatens to undermine everything else, as well as the country’s future. I refer to the not-yet-passed budget, which not only does not address the gigantic public debt inherited from the Bush and Obama years, but actually will make the situation substantially worse. That, and not North Korea or Iran, Russia or China, is the greatest threat that the United States is facing. If the country’s fiscal fiscal path is not firmly addressed, and immediately, it will soon become unsustainable. No likely or even possible rate of economic growth can avoid eventual default or rescheduling or hyper-inflation. Any of these would be domestically and internationally disastrous.

Mr. Trump has three more years to go. He has actually started out well, despite the legions of ill-wishers and his own manifest personal failings. But if the fiscal issue is not vigorously confronted, as it is not at present, his administration will go down in history as the third of three successive irresponsible administrations that turned the country that at the turn of the 21st century was the richest and most powerful in the history of the world into a pathetic bankrupt weakling.

This article was originally published in Globes.