Saturday, January 28, 2017

An Engineer Thinks About Four Years of Trump

After the first week of President Trump, I thought it would be good idea to outline my thoughts on dealing with the next four years.
  1. Information exhaustion on what 45 is saying, doing, and/or tweeting is real.  Disconnect and take information free breaks. Look for information fee zones in public spaces - - like a museum.
  2. Pick up a basic macroeconomics textbook.  Read the chapters on international trade, economic growth, taxes, and inflation.  It seems these economic themes will dominate the news and outlook over the next four years.
  3. Watch for updates on what is planned for infrastructure.  Who gets what and where will be interesting to watch and understand.
  4. Your 401(k) is probably driven by equity markets and what is happening in the global stock markets.  But the next four years will be impacted by the bond markets.  What are the bond markets telling you about the future?  The bond markets are the ones in charge.
  5. Watch two key growth metrics - - demographics and productivity.  With retiring baby boomers, look for less people in the work force with this same group buying less stuff.  In terms of productivity, look for new gizmos and whatnots that allows you do get more stuff done - - something on the same scale as CAD or your smart phone. The national growth trajectory is a function of these two variables, regardless of what 45 says or does or doesn't do.
  6. Watch The Wall construction as a case study in terms of project promises versus project realities.  How long will it take to construct The Wall and what is the per mile life-cycle cost?
  7. History tells us that populist revolutions always end up delivering the sharpest fall in living standards to the the people who are their biggest supporters.  This will be important in 45's fourth year.
  8. The strength of the dollar is important the next four years.  Watch the dollar versus other currencies.  Might be a good fours years to travel overseas!!!  If your livelihood depends on exports in the era of a strengthening dollar, you might want to swim to the shallow end of the pool.
  9. Watch the federal deficit.  This might go off the charts over the next four years.
  10. The rising star over the next four years will be the U.S. Constitution.  Adams, Madison, and Jefferson had someone very like 45 in mind when they designed the Constitution.  The Constitution will be a welcome calming influence over the next four years.

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