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The Great Disrupter - News & Views brought to you by Howard Direct

The Great Disrupter - Part 1
How the Trump administration can affect North
American trade and Canada’s printing industry


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By:  Nick Howard  |  Date: April 2017 - Updated May 11, 2018  |  Contact the Author
Part 1 | Part 2

Decades ago an old man wandered into the foyer of a Vancouver luxury hotel. He was carrying a well-used shopping bag and dressed in less than appropriate clothes. Approaching the front desk, he asked for a room. The desk clerk, assuming he was a bum, suggested he try another hotel down the street. The bum, as it turned out, was a multi-millionaire and real estate mogul. Looks can be deceiving. Some of the planet’s richest people are seldom seen or heard.

They do not make anything, build our roads or habituate the world of graphic communications. But they do rent space to those who manufacture or sell products and services. Somewhat likened to an iceberg, most of the wealthy exist below the waterline of awareness. Hundreds of millions of square feet hardly noticed and owned by this group of the faceless land barons. Then there’s Donald Trump.

The results of the Bataan death march referred to as the never-ending U.S. election shocked a great many people. Lots of hand-wringing and mea culpa moments ensued. But it was too late. America had in fact elected Trump as its 45th President. He had campaigned on a clever platform: The world is falling apart and dragging America down with it. Too many immigrants from the wrong countries, unfair lopsided trading practices that put American industry at risk, and so on. The plan worked, and America found itself at war – with itself.

Unlike his often silent, low-key brethren of real estate, President Trump seeks the limelight. He craves attention and respect. There also seems to be zero commonality between himself and the average American $24 per hour factory worker. A large percentage of these [mostly] former Democrats were one of the key reasons Trump now holds one of the most powerful positions in the world.

It is difficult, if not impossible, to explain what drives Trump, and even harder to support his many rigid viewpoints, except to say that some of it have to do with his involvement in the construction industry in New York City. New York is not only the most costly American city but also the most frustrating. Sitting across from low-level bureaucrats in planning and permits departments - that have ultimate power over what can or cannot be built, plays a role in Trump’s development. Who are they to dictate to me! Having his own name emblazoned on his properties clearly belays a need to protect it. One assumes Trump blows himself a kiss each morning when he shaves.

It can be said that Trump's business views have changed very little since he pushed himself into the limelight of the highest office in the land. The books he is said to have written are nothing more than grandstanding, and one fears Trump himself believes every word of it. "I alone can fix it" summarizes extreme narcissism and bills him as a neo-fascist.

Trump sees government agencies as wasteful and incompetent – getting in the way of free enterprise and clogging society’s arteries with pointless work done by useless people. But he did indeed build his own brand, for which credit is due. All the while being feared or sneered by aristocrats and old money movers and shakers. Few wanted anything to do with a brash newbie with such radical views of society. But from the moment Trump threw his hat in the ring both sides of stupid were glued to his every move. The media could not get enough Trump. No one could guess what new controversial statement would come out of his mouth. It was entertainment! Trump created a crisis and drew low and middle- class white males and small business owners into his web.

Early gaffes such as the ban on seven (later reduced to just six) select Muslim-majority countries from entering the United States played to the right-wing hardliners who are also among his staunchest supporters. Obama and Bush’s separation of extremism and terrorism correctly differentiated the bad guys. Conflicts are primarily caused by two factors – economics and religion. Man’s character cannot be justified by religion: we are all capable of doing bad things. In the name of God is just a good excuse for war.

If we elected people solely on character, legislatures would be virtually empty. President Trump, with all his obvious flaws, has one attribute that may pan out especially for US manufacturers. They support Trump because he will disrupt the status quo of government and be a pro-business President. You cannot argue with that even though some realities of bringing manufacturing back to America may mean they will be buying $10,000 refrigerators and paying much higher costs for labor-intensive products. 

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