A recent Foreign Policy article makes a case that the role of the government in the U.S. economy has grown under President Trump. Normally this would seem contrary to the values of a conservative administration. However, Trump is no small-government conservative nor is he a free market capitalist. Donald Trump is a big government protectionist and any claims of battling “socialism” or big government are a complete fraud. His actions show a continued push for increased government interference in business and the economy.
The president recently tweeted that he will be monitoring Facebook closely to look for bias against conservatives. It should be noted that the “conservatives” in question are just conspiracy theorists and trolls. Why is the president of the United States monitoring a private company for its business decisions? When did the decisions of private social media companies fall under the purview of the president? The push to regulate social media and instill some sort of government mandated fairness isn’t free market capitalism, it’s just one more instance of big government Trumpism.
President Trump’s big government habits can best be seen on display with his trade policies. He threw out the GOP’s traditional free trade stance and replaced it with a protectionist stance that’s more reminiscent of something you’d see from the left. Trump’s tariffs have already cost the U.S. economy over $7.8 billion, and on Sunday the president stated he would increase tariffs on Chinese goods. His statement about increasing tariffs on Chinese goods was accompanied by false statements about China paying the tariffs and revenue from tariffs benefitting the U.S. economy. In reality, it’s American businesses and consumers that pay tariffs on Chinese goods and the revenue from tariffs has mostly gone towards subsidies to help farmers hurt in Trump’s trade war. President Trump’s defenders praise his tax cuts while ignoring his taxes on trade.
Perhaps the most disturbing element of Donald Trump’s big government is his penchant for eminent domain and asset forfeiture. Constitutional scholar Ilya Somin has a very good write up on Trump’s private property abuses that can be found here. The President’s bogus national emergency, along with being a constitutional crisis, would be a private property nightmare. Normally Republicans would balk at an expensive federal project that requires a massive land-grab, but it’s pretty much par for the course in Trump’s GOP. If the eminent domain for the wall wasn’t bad enough, the president hopes to partially fund the wall through civil asset forfeiture. If you live on the border you may have the distinct honor of losing your property to give the president his vision and maybe even your valuables to pay for it.
The fact is that Trumpism isn’t small government conservativism. The Trump administration is increasing government intrusion on both the state and federal level. Its policies are steeped in tribalism and rhetoric instead of logic and principles. Trumpism is a combination of executive overreach, victim politics, and economic buffoonery all rolled up in a McDouble wrapper.