A staple of contemporary U.S. media commentary is that President
is an authoritarian bent on trashing American constitutional norms. For example tomorrow is the big day when many of the nation’s newspaper editorial pages are expected to simultaneously publish claims that Mr. Trump is threatening the First Amendment. But in America and around the world, investors still aren’t buying this analysis.
It’s not that investors large and small only care about money and are happy to tolerate unprincipled strongmen. They understand that the closing of a society and the centralization of power in the hands of one man is terrible for economic vitality. They have been watching it happen in Turkey, not in the United States. That’s why they have fled the Turkish lira while embracing the U.S. dollar.
President Trump’s tariff increases have put pressure on the Turkish economy, but the basic problem is that Turkey’s President
Recep Tayyip Erdogan
has been bending the country’s institutions to his will. The currency has lost credibility because monetary policy is conducted to serve his political goals, not the needs of consumers, savers and investors.
Meanwhile back in the U.S., Mr. Trump has been pushing power out of Washington and back into the private economy—via tax cuts, regulatory restraint, and the appointment of agency heads and judges who believe in limited constitutional government. It is anti-authoritarianism on a significant scale and so far the results are outstanding in terms of U.S. prosperity.
Today brings more news suggesting that higher wages and higher living standards are on the way. The Journal reports:
U.S. worker productivity accelerated this spring at the best pace in more than three years, a possible sign stronger business investment is giving workers the tools they need to boost output.
The big exceptions to U.S. economic success are Mr. Trump’s trade and immigration policies. Fortunately so far the economic benefits of Mr. Trump’s anti-authoritarian agenda are much larger than the costs of his border taxes and his limits on new talent entering the country. Therefore the U.S. is the star of the global equity market.
Within the United States, the limited available evidence suggests that even those who oppose the President don’t actually believe he is destroying the foundations of American society. If they did, they would surely try to insulate themselves against the consequences of U.S. decline and make very different investment choices than Mr. Trump’s fans. Earlier this year the research firm Spectrem Group conducted a survey of Americans with more than $100,000 in net worth, not including principal residences. The typical asset allocations of Democrats were nearly identical to those of Republicans.
As for Mr. Erdogan, he is the opposite of a star because people don’t want to entrust their money to an authoritarian who, despite his country’s reliance on foreign investment, lately doesn’t seem to care what foreign investors think.
manages a portfolio of emerging market bonds for Van Eck Associates but has stayed away from Turkey. “As of now, this is looking more like Argentina 2001 or Russia 97/98, in which there is just no good domestic policy coming,” he writes in an email.
Although he’s not optimistic, Mr. Fine says “there’d be a massive rally no question” if Mr. Erdogan were to change course and embrace more market-friendly policies.
Why do bad things keep happening to Mr. Erdogan? Because he won’t adopt an anti-authoritarian agenda like the one that is working very well in the United States.
The Permanent Campaign
“Colorado is trying to compel the same baker who just won a Supreme Court case into baking a second cake that violates his religious beliefs,” The Federalist, August 15
Is This Why Trump Wants a ‘Space Force’?
“Mystery Russian satellite’s behaviour raises alarm in US,” BBC, August 15
We Recommend Rockets
“Russian cosmonauts manually launch satellites,” CNN, August 15
Now Make Way for the ‘Sleeping Elephant’
“Modi says India will send manned flight into space by 2022,” Associated Press, August 15
Back on Earth, Manhattan Travel Getting More Difficult
“Chicago, don’t ape New York’s ride-share restrictions,” Chicago Tribune, August 14
Identity Politics Make Everything Difficult
“Police chiefs, headed by Dudley’s Wojnar, blast Sen. Warren for remark on ‘racist’ criminal-justice system,” Worcester Telegram, August 14
Bottom Stories of the Day
But McCartney Says He Wrote It?
“A Songwriting Mystery Solved: Math Proves John Lennon Wrote ‘In My Life’,” NPR, August 11
Those Guys Can Do Anything!
“The Military Could Track Objects Underwater With Seal Whiskers,” Popular Mechanics, August 13.
Livestock Consider Him the Greatest Of All Time
“Rogue goat may have helped dozens of farm animals escape,” New York Post, August 9
The New First Amendment (as Authorized by More than 100 Newspapers Tomorrow)
The right of the press
To peevishly assemble
As one opinion
— Myles C. Pollin
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(Teresa Vozzo helps compile Best of the Web. Thanks to Lisa Rossi, Tony Lima, Myles Pollin, Jack Blanton and Jacob Shepherd.)
Mr. Freeman is the co-author of “Borrowed Time,” now available from HarperCollins.