John O’Sullivan writes in the National Review:
To give a further paradoxical twist to the argument, the above immigration policy would tighten the labor market and, if sustained long enough, might even foster the prosperous middle class needed for such policies as the privatization of Social Security. For one of the internal contradictions of Kemp-style ideological conservatism was the attempt to combine mass immigration with the scaling back of entitlement programs: Keeping wages down through immigrant competition is incompatible with moving away from state welfare entitlements to market provision: Not many people would be able to save enough. More widely, mass immigration builds up a large new constituency for state welfare programs of every kind. As a New York Democrat once remarked, the Republicans have a choice: They can either change their policy on immigration or their policies on everything else. Trump stumbled on that insight earlier this year; it may have transformed American politics forever. Or not.
Haven’t critics been arguing this for years?
The GOP has pursued the interests of donors at the expense of the party. The strategy has seemed to be to bankrupt the US, forcing it to accept spending cuts while moving the US polity into a more global organisation after normalising wages among global partners. Obviously, most Americans reject this path, if given a choice.
While the US might now be on an inevitable course to bankruptcy, it is best to grow domestic investment, reduce unskilled immigration so that the coming “reset” isn’t so harsh as it otherwise would be. Ideally, a reset would be avoided altogether of course.
The advantage of so much present-day war spending is the US has an experienced military at the ready, but there’s no one to fight (none of the wars have been necessary). Foreign spending would be better directed domestically (eg. infrastructure) and on things like research and space exploration, or simply on balancing the budget. Additionally, Trump has mentioned the Federal Reserve Bank, could encourage future domestic investment if tackling that beast (ending low interest rates).
The US is divided, not only ethnically but by age. The elderly, mostly white, want social security and medicare, especially since they’ve paid into the Ponzi schemes for years. Younger Americans, who are less white, are more inclined to want free education (among other things), less inclined to support social security and medicare (though they do like Obamacare, currently). Additionally, around half of Americans pay almost no income tax. If the middle class and tax base aren’t expanded, we’re going to see a nasty future battle over government spending.
Trump has the potential to overcome such divides, uniting American citizens behind a pro-American platform, athwart many of the policies O’Sullivan’s “conservatives” would seem to support. Hopefully Trump can achieve the impossible: preserve American sovereignty, reduce the wealth gap, balance the budget, and more generally unify America. Pro-American policies (e.g. trade deals) are largely common sense, but it will be a struggle for Trump to pass them through Congress. Additionally, Trump is expected to spend money he doesn’t have, and Trump’s long-term focus could paint him badly in the near-term. Americans seem to prefer can-kickers and bubble-blowers over bubble-bursters.