Just announced have been some important policy decisions both here and in the US.
The US changes are the most important but Shorten’s proposed changes to restore double taxation are of course most significant too (see Shorten’s Tax Breaks). This shows today’s Letters to the Editor , which include one by former Treasury Head, John Stone and are headed“An attack on hard-working savers and job creators”. I envisage that I will include further comments in due course.
As to US developments, as Andrew Bolt points out in the attached (see Bolt on Tillerson Dismissal),
“no, firing Rex Tillerson is not more reason for us to worry that a madman is on the loose in the White House. Indeed, the opposite”. He identifies the real worry by asking “will we get a sober discussion of either point? From the moment Trump campaigned to become president, our political and media class treated him as the great Satan. “Terrifying,” said Defence Industries Minister Christopher Pyne. “Barking mad in some issues,” sneered Labor leader Bill Shorten. “A security threat to Australia,” stormed Greens leader Richard Di Natale. And the media followed suit. “Donald Trump is no laughing matter,” preached The Project’s frowning Waleed Aly.
Bolt suggests that Tillerson’s replacement, the CIA boss Mike Pompeo “is more simpatico with Trump and will run Trump’s foreign policy and not the Washington elite’s. Good. Against Putin and Xi, can the West afford a US as weak as it was in those eight disastrous years of Obama?”
And it seems that Trump’s decision may have been received quite well in the US.
The US Family Research Council (FRC) said in a statement Tuesday that the nomination of Mike Pompeo for Secretary of State will enhance the administration’s goal of a return to “American values and principles” and make support for human rights and religious freedom a priority. “President Trump has been an agent of change in Washington,” said FRC president Tony Perkins in a press statement. “It is hard to identify another federal agency that is in more need of change than the State Department, which has historically and consistently been at cross purposes with American values and principles. Mike Pompeo is a proven leader, and I am very confident that he will be the desperately needed agent of change at State.” In the Christian pro-family group’s “Washington Update” Tuesday, Perkins and his staff noted that, under Rex Tillerson, the “harmful cultural imperialism” that existed during the Obama administration continued (see also more in US FRC Welcomes Pompeo Appointment).
A similar reaction occurs in this article by Colin Rubenstein, Executive Director of AIJAC, a shorter version of which was published in today’s Fairfax press.As Rubenstein says “Mr Trump is determinedly focussed at least as much on another rogue state, which probably poses an even greater threat in the longer term – Iran. Mr Trump stated, ‘When you look at the Iran deal, I thought it was terrible, he thought it was okay. I wanted to either break it or do something. He felt a little differently.’ In fact, Trump had already set a deadline of May 12 to have new international arrangements in place to deal with Iranian rogue behaviour in terms of nuclear and missile proliferation, regional aggression, terrorism and other problems”.
If the US were to succeed in suppressing Iran, that would be a most important development.
Almost as important a new appointment by Trump is the new economic adviser, Larry Kudlow who was a Reagan economist and longtime CNBC commentator. The brief article (Trump’s New Economic Adviser) says “Kudlow is best known for his advocacy of tax cuts. As an informal adviser to the Trump campaign and later the White House, Kudlow helped develop some of the ideas that became the Trump tax cut plan in 2016, which many consider the crowning achievement of Trump’s first year. Last year, Kudlow and co-author Brian Domitrovic published a book lauding the tax cuts of John F. Kennedy and Ronald Reagan. Kudlow was once an advocate of relatively open immigration but changed his mind in 2015 following terrorist attacks in San Benardino and Paris. The U.S. should “seal the borders” and end all immigration and visas until the system can be made safer, Kudlow wrote.
Overall, these developments in Trump’s Presidency are most encouraging. We must hope that Australian Ministers realize this and respond favourably.