A lot has happened in 2017 around the world but none has had more consequential effects than Donald Trump. Last year, he campaigned on draining the swamp in Washington and changing how things are done. Largely, he has succeeded in all this although; much of the focus has been on his tweets.
Trump began his administration by removing the country from the Transpacific Partnership (TPP). This was a NAFTA-like deal made by the Obama registration to open up American trade with 12 other countries. While the deal would have been good for other countries, the American economy would have not benefited significantly.
Then came the travel ban. During the campaign, Trump had campaigned on banning Muslims from entering the country. In his first weeks as president, he listed several countries that would be prohibited from entering the country. The decision was challenged in the court and in the end, Trump won.
On a legislation side, Trump decided to focus on repealing and replacing Obamacare. In the house and in the senate, the bill faced opposition from the democrats and some republicans like John McCain and Susan Collins.
Then, he focused on the tax reform. Again, no democrats supported the deal which passed a few hours ago.
Largely, the new tax reform package undoes some aspects of Obamacare. For example, the new bill ends the individual mandate, which was a key pillar in Obamacare. It mandated everyone to take a health insurance cover or pay a tax, which was at times higher than the premiums.
Therefore, from a legislation standpoint, Trump has received far-more wins than has been reported.
His biggest wins has come from his executive capacity. Early this year, he exited the Paris Climate Accord which he believed was unfair to the United States. He then refused to decertify the Iran deal in a bid to make a better deal. He then declared that the United States embassy in Tel Aviv would move to Jerusalem.
In addition, he has worked to help corporations by removing regulations. For years, corporations have complained about the massive regulations that have made them uncompetitive. For example, during Obama’s presidency, he refused to accept the construction of several pipelines. With just a pen, Trump ended this and so far, the pipelines are being built.
The impacts of all these actions have been a better financial market. The NASDAQ has gained by about 28%, the Dow by 26%, and the S&P 500 by 23%. The dollar has gone down by about 8%, which is actually positive to many American exporters.
Trump has faced several challenges with the main one being the Mueller investigation. For months, Trump and his campaign officials who include his close family members have been under investigation by a special counsel. This issue has consumed the president who believes that it is a witch-hunt by the deep state.
He has also faced a major challenge with the media, which has been significantly negative on his administration. Every day, the mainstream media has focused on everything he has done as president and criticized it.
Another challenge is on disunity in the Republican Party which has failed to support the president on several issues like ending the Mueller investigation.
The North Korean issue has also been a major challenge to the president. For decades, the west has tried to make North Korea a nuclear weapon-free zone. Under Trump, the country has accelerated its nuclear program despite all the harsh sanctions.
Although Trump seems to have bolstered economic growth, his emphasis doesn’t seem pro-social, in fact they seem to favor the few. Exiting the Paris Accord to preserve coal mining, he has appointed people at the heads of the FDA and EPA that have vested interests opposing the capacity of their positions and has revoked protection of public lands to facilitate oil drilling. He has created significant diplomatic rifts with both allies (chastising NATO member-states for not contributing their “fair share” and threatened a NAFTA disbandment) and countries the U.S. has a contentious relationship to begin with. It might have been a great year for U.S. economy and corporations but it has been a hard year for the world, constantly watching Westwards in case a tweet kicks off WW3.