Justin’s note: Readers can’t get enough of Doug Casey.
I know because I look at emails from readers every day. And anytime we feature Doug—no matter the subject—the response is overwhelming.
So much so that, from now on, we’re featuring Doug in the Dispatch every Friday.
And today’s installment may be our best (and most controversial) Conversations With Casey yet. Below, Doug tells me what he thinks of Donald Trump’s presidency so far. I think you’ll enjoy…
Justin: Doug, what do you think of Trump’s presidency so far? What’s he done well? Where’s he fallen short?
Doug: Let me start by saying that I’m very pleased that Trump was elected because, first and foremost, he’s not Hillary. In addition, he’s never been in political office. So he lacks some of the vices common to professional politicians. Even better, all members of the Deep State reflexively hate him.
That’s a good thing, because there’s some truth to the meme “the enemy of my enemy just might be my friend.”
I also like some of the things Trump’s done since he’s been in office—besides driving liberals and Deep Staters insane. He’s done some deregulating—not nearly enough, but he’s moved in the right direction. Of course, he did this not because he understands Austrian economics, but simply because he’s a businessman. He has some personal experience with the destructiveness of regulations.
Of course, he hasn’t done nearly enough yet. He’s just mowing the grass and trimming the hedges. He should be pulling these things out by their roots and sowing Agent Orange where they grew.
The same goes for taxes. His tax cut was helpful, but not drastic. And there hasn’t been a cut in spending. In fact he’s significantly increasing spending. So the tax cut is mainly cosmetic. The government will extract those resources from the economy, mainly by selling more debt.
Justin: And where has he fallen short or failed?
Doug: A number of ways, starting with running a trillion-dollar deficit. Where does he think that money’s going to come from? The Russians and the Chinese aren’t buying US debt anymore. Foreigners are looking to offload US paper.
Americans aren’t buying much, either. The only real alternative is to sell it to the Federal Reserve. Which is a real problem when the Federal Reserve is not only trying to deleverage, but has to refinance hundreds of billions of short-term paper coming due. Recall that almost all the $20 trillion of Treasury debt is very short term. Interest rates are going to rise, a lot. And so will the interest portion of the government deficit. Interest payments alone will be a trillion a year by the end of Trump’s second term—assuming he gets one.
Trump also—like all red-blooded Americans—loves the military. So, he’s adding to the already bloated military budget. It’s ridiculous, dangerous, and provocative. The United States already spends more than the next 10 or 12 biggest nations in the world put together. And most of that money is wasted and misallocated. It’s being spent on dinosaur technologies. What he’s doing there is very foolish. It’s accelerating the looming bankruptcy of the Government. And of course the Government will drag the country down with it.
He’s foolishly antagonizing the Russians by placing troops in the Baltics. He’s doing the same with China by sending ships to the South China Sea, which is their equivalent of the Gulf of Mexico.
But my biggest problem with Trump is that he has no philosophical core. He’s not by any means a libertarian. He’s a pragmatist, and an authoritarian. He’ll do whatever seems like a good idea at the time.
He’s got no background in or understanding of economics or history. I think it’s true that, as his critics say, he hasn’t read a book in 50 years. He goes strictly on gut instinct.
On the bright side, some of his instincts are pretty good. For instance, he can see that the culture of the US has changed radically over the last 30 years. And if mass immigration from backward countries continues this place will soon be unrecognizable. These people—unlike immigrants up to the 1950s—have values that are actually antithetical to those that made America what it is.
Justin: Yeah, Trump doesn’t follow any sort of playbook. So, what do you think about what he’s accomplished with North Korea?
Doug: I think he needs to be complimented for reaching out to baby Kim and establishing a personal relationship with him. It’s very interesting, and highly disturbing, that the Deep State called this outreach treasonous and dangerous. It shows how insane these Beltway creatures have become.
I mean it’s a good idea for him to be personally friendly with the head of an antagonistic power. It reduces the chance of war. That’s absolutely true for what he’s doing with Putin as well. Trump is to be congratulated for disregarding the media, the talking heads, academics, and State Department bureaucrats. Horrible people, captured by bad ideas.
I’ve read things that these morons have written. They’re saying he gave away the store. They’re crazy. They’re proof there actually is a clinical condition called TDS, Trump Derangement Syndrome.
For one thing Russia is a complete non-threat. It’s a gas station with an attached gun store in the middle of a wheat field. Their economy is smaller than Florida’s. They’re not a threat to anybody—alcoholism is rampant, the Russian population is in collapse, and they’re being undermined by massive Mohammedan migration from the Stans to Russia’s south.
Sure, they have nuclear weapons. So, it’s a good idea to be friendly with the Russians, if only because of that. But Putin and Russia are not a danger in any way whatsoever. Including a few guys spending $100,000 on Facebook to influence the 2016 election.
Justin: So, what do you think of the narrative that Trump’s a Russian asset?
Doug: It’s ridiculous. Everything that the media’s saying about Trump and Russia is completely counterfactual. There’s no evidence for this at all. Is it possible that they taped him doing naughty things with local working girls when he visited? Of course. That’s the type of things all governments, including our own, do as a matter of policy. Does that compromise him? No. It’s well known he’s always been a ladies man, as was JFK. But he’s never been accused of multiple sex crimes, as has Clinton.
Trump is a nationalist. It would run against Trump’s psychology to purposely act against US interests. It’s crazy. It tells me that the Democratic party is completely unhinged. They’re watching a different movie than the real world.
Still, I respect the Democrats much more than the Republicans. By that I mean the Democrats say all sorts of crazy things, but they believe them. They’re sincere. They’re not hypocrites.
Republicans, on the other hand, say they believe in free markets, freedom, and all sorts of intelligent things. But they don’t believe in any of this stuff. They’re completely insincere. Disgusting hypocrites. And everybody hates a hypocrite.
So, take your choice: crazy and sincere or somewhat rational sounding and insincere.
Justin: So, you approve of how Trump’s dealt with Russia and North Korea? And what about how he’s dealt with our allies, specifically in Europe?
Doug: I like the way Trump is handling the European leaders, all of whom are nothing-nobody socialist bureaucrats. Unworthy people run all these western European countries. He’s actually treating them with more respect than they deserve. They’re not real allies. They’re just Rent-an-allies, and very costly ones.
Justin: What about Trump’s suggestion that other European countries should kick in more for defense spending?
Doug: It’s one of Trump’s real problems. The U.S. is already bankrupt and sinking deeper into debt.
He shouldn’t be asking Europeans to raise defense spending. That’s asking for trouble. It’s going to make things worse for everybody.
Why, with their history of constant wars, should Europe be encouraged to become more militaristic? Who are they trying to defend themselves against? Not the Russians. They aren’t going to attack. Nobody’s going to attack Europe, including the Chinese.
These aren’t the days of the Roman Empire where warfare was a profitable venture, because after you won you got to enslave the men and steal the women, gold, cattle, and artwork, and take everything back to Rome. Economies don’t work that way anymore.
Today, warfare is strictly a money-losing and capital-destroying enterprise. So, it’s foolish for Trump to ask them to raise defense spending. It’s counterproductive. It will only provoke the Russians and Chinese.
Instead, we should be talking about disbanding the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO). It serves no useful purpose. It should have been disbanded 25 years ago. NATO is proof of how it’s almost impossible to get rid of a bureaucracy—no matter how worthless and dysfunctional.
Instead of asking them to raise their spending, he should radically cut US military spending. And by “radically,” I mean 50% for openers and then 50% again.
This is a huge mistake on his part. But my biggest worry with Trump is the economy. The US is long overdue for a very serious collapse. And the next crash will be much worse than what we had in 2008. And I’m afraid it will happen on his watch.
Justin: What could happen if the economy collapses while Trump’s in office?
Doug: It would play right into the hands of the Democratic Party, which has become nothing more than a cesspool, dominated by Progressives, and worse.
They’ll put up a hard left candidate against him in two years. And that person is likely to win if the economy collapses. The average American will—incorrectly—see Trump as representing the free market. So they’ll vote for someone who’s anti free market. Someone who promises them lots of other people’s money. We might get a radical socialist. After all, we’ve seen Americans not only elect, but re-elect Obama. The American public is capable of almost anything.
America has bifurcated into the red counties and the blue counties. And the people who live in red counties hate people from blue counties, and vice versa.
The country is even more divided than it was in the late 1960s and early 1970s. A lot of people don’t remember this, but there were riots happening all the time back then. And not just a few, but many hundreds of terror bombings.
Today, there’s less violence. But maybe that’s just because the average American is on some type of psychiatric drug, that pacifies him and dumbs him down.
Still, the country has been bifurcated into two antagonistic groups. These people don’t just mildly disagree on issues.
There’s also an excellent chance that the Republican party will bifurcate. There are already two separate parties within the Republican party—Trumpers and anti-Trumpers. They don’t like each other.
The Democratic Party is splintering, too. There, you’ve got the old line, not-so-crazy democrats. And you’ve got the Looney Tunes Democrats—the ones that wanted to vote for Bernie, the Antifa types, and “Black Lives Matter” types. There are two parties within the Democratic Party, too.
So, we’re up for a real political storm. It’s especially serious when you’ve got a guy like Trump in office who’s got a strong-man mentality. Trump—notwithstanding some of his good instincts—is capable of almost anything because he’s a statist and authoritarian at heart. He’s our version of Erdogan, Putin, or Xi. It’s starting to look like the ’30s, which was replete with strongman leaders—Roosevelt, Hitler, Mussolini, Stalin, Franco…
He’s trying to run the United States like a private company. So, it’s a dangerous situation… but it’s still better than if a Democrat was in office.
Justin: Doug, you predicted that Trump would win the election long before most people even thought he had a chance.
Now, I’m not asking you predict if Trump will win a second term or not. But how do you think Trump might position himself for reelection?
Doug: He can’t do anything to make the anti-Trumpers like him. And he can apparently do no wrong with the people who like him.
I just hope that he doesn’t stumble into a trade war. Or worse, a shooting war.
Justin: Thanks for taking the time to speak with me today, Doug.
Doug: You’re welcome.
Justin’s note: As you know, Doug is among the most respected investors in the world. Since 1979, he’s called some of the biggest financial events of our time. And now, as part of our new special offer, you can get all of Doug’s future moneymaking research—as well as everything we publish here at Casey Research—as part of our exclusive Casey Platinum Membership.
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Today, another reader appreciates our recent Dispatch, “How Trump Ends the Opioid Crisis”…
That information about Portugal which you gave a thumbnail sketch is great. Deeper study will make a thinking person even more enthusiastic about the way they do things. Another example that the arrogant Americans could learn from is the way Chile manages its retirement program. Lots of forces in place against both these ideas. Knowledge is strength! Spread the word.
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