The good – jobs.
Throughout his campaign, Trump has been hectoring automakers, jetmakers, air conditioner makers and anybody else he hears about who is considering manufacturing anything outside the U.S.
He’s got this whole carrot and stick thing going on. He talks about incentives for manufacturers to stay in the U.S. – cutting taxes and regulations – while threatening them with a 35 percent tariff on goods made in foreign countries and sold in the U.S.
He met with the CEOs of the Big Three U.S. automakers this week urging them to build more cars in the U.S.
Automakers seem warm to his ideas and some already have announced plans to expand existing plants in the U.S.
It’s unprecedented. I have no recollection in my lifetime of this amount of interplay between a president and private-sector corporations.
Mark Fields, Ford CEO, told Reuters automakers wanted to work with Trump to create a "renaissance in American manufacturing," and said Trump's economic priorities were encouraging, including his move Monday to bow out of the Trans-Pacific Partnership trade pact championed by Barack Obama.
"The mother of all trade barriers is currency manipulation. And TPP failed in meaningfully dealing with that, and we appreciate the president's courage to walk away from a bad trade deal," Fields told Reuters after the meeting.
Trump infuriated the left Tuesday when he signed executive orders supporting the Keystone XL and Dakota Access pipelines.
When he signed the XL order he said it would create "lots of jobs, 28,000 jobs, great construction jobs."
So far – and it’s only been a week – Trump is staying true to his “Buy American. Hire American.” slogan.
The result?
Investors are optimistic. U.S. equities closed at all-time highs this week. The Dow Jones industrial average broke above 20,000 for the first time Wednesday and the S&P 500 advanced 0.8 percent to a new all-time high.
In a weird turn of events, union leaders – longtime Democratic loyalists – are embracing Trump.
After union leaders met with Trump this week, Teamsters President James Hoffa told Fox News he welcomed Trump's overtures to the unionized workforce. He also praised Trump for his quick action on future pipeline projects.
"This is a good beginning," Hoffa said, "what he did for Ford was terrific,” Hoffa said, adding, “People are talking about investing in America and creating jobs. Trump is the president of everybody here. It's amazing that it's a Republican that's doing what we've been talking about for 10 years."
Promises, promises.
So far, Trump’s gone all in on his promises with regard to immigration reform and the wall.
He signed an executive order  Wednesday and said plans for a border wall ­– “physical barrier,” the order says – are imminent and construction could begin within months.
He also said 5,000 border patrol agents would be hired and that he was tripling the number of U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement agents used to arrest and deport illegal immigrants.
The order also calls for more detention centers and the withholding of federal funds to “sanctuary cities” that do not comply with federal immigration laws.
You may disagree with the policies, but he’s keeping his word.
The bad – Obamacare
I’ve been a long time critic of the Affordable Care Act – Obamacare.
I said all along it likely would result in a death spiral of premiums and coverage in the individual insurance market.
A year ago, research showed Obamacare enrollment didn’t reach half of what the government expected.
Even worse, with premiums increasing, the penalty did not act as an incentive for people to sign up.
Unless your income is low and you get a big government subsidy or you have a really expensive health condition, it makes more financial sense for you to pay the fine and go without insurance.
So yes, there are serious problems with Obamacare.
And a big part of Trump’s campaign was to repeal and replace it. Fair enough.
But Obamacare is a law, after all, so you can’t just make it go away it with the swipe of a pen. It will take years to “repeal and replace.”
So what happens between now and then?
A week ago, Trump issued an executive order giving his administration’s appointees flexibility to change how Obamacare works. Trump’s guys can grant exemptions or delays and waive or defer implementation of provisions or requirements.
So far, the administration hasn’t been real clear about what provisions or requirements might be affected.
But there have been hints of refusing to enforce the individual mandate or eliminating the penalty. There has been talk of making it easier for people with high-deductible plans to get hardship exemptions.
They’ve also suggested they might allow insurers to offer limited duration plans that they could still medically underwrite.
To be sure, Obamacare is an unstable program that is likely to fail, but some of the aforementioned “fixes” seem likely to exacerbate the death spiral.
Allowing limited duration plans, eliminating the mandate and easing hardship levels would provide some relief to consumers, to be sure.
But these measures also would drive more healthy people out of the Obamacare risk pool.
That’s not good. It only weakens an already unsound individual health care market.
On top of that, Republicans say they will keep a provision where health insurers can’t charge more or deny coverage because of a pre-existing conditions. And they want to keep the provision allowing kids to stay on their parents’ plans until age 26.
At the same time, they’re talking about cutting the medical device tax – a boon for our community, to be sure – and tinkering with several other taxes and funding mechanisms.
How is that fiscally possible in an already cash-strapped program?
Republicans said they wanted to repeal Obamacare and replace it with something better.
Good for them.
But they need to be careful. I see significant potential for moves like these to make a bad situation worse.
The ugly – alternative facts.
Last week, Trump marched his press secretary out in front of the cameras to say that more people showed up to his inauguration than to Obama’s.
This is demonstrably false.
An adviser on a Sunday talk show used the phrase “alternative facts” to describe the administration’s position.
Huh?
By Monday the networks were having a field day with that one, but it soon faded into the background when on Tuesday Trump reiterated his claim that he really won the popular vote in the election because “3 or 4 million” illegal aliens voted for Hillary Clinton.
Even Trump’s own Speaker of the House, Paul Ryan, knows better. “I’ve seen no evidence to that effect. I’ve made that very, very clear,” Ryan told reporters this week.
From “thousands and thousands of people in New Jersey cheering as the World Trade Centers fell” to “the unemployment rate may be as high as 42 percent” to “we have cities far more dangerous than Afghanistan” Trump really needs to stick to facts.
Pulitzer Prize winning website PolitiFact.com fact-checked 353 Trump statements going back to 2015. Eighty-four percent of those statements were found to be “half true,” “mostly false,” “false” or the dreaded “pants on fire.”
That’s ugly.
Wandering from the truth gives ammunition to Trump’s opponents and detracts from his agenda.
He needs to truth it up a bit.