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Judd Gregg: Trump is the almost, occasionally, pretty close to socialist policy guy

It is difficult to know what the president’s philosophy is.

It changes constantly, with the only constant being his self-indulgence.

A strong case could be made that he has no ideological consistency; his erratic purposes and inconsistent courses would make a weathervane appear steady.

He has had numerous epithets attached to him by his opponents and by some of the former members of his administration.

But here is one that has not been mentioned yet: The president seems to have a definite tinge of socialism in his chaotic policy closet.

His trade and alliance policies are built on the theme that America must be first; isolationism is an acceptable price to accomplish this.

It is a me-first, me-only policy. Free trade is a pejorative term and international alliances are unneeded. 

Those approaches are antithetical to the philosophy that has underpinned Republican policy in these areas for years; instead, they’re consistent with the policies have given rise to populist politics of the left. 

The president has taken to new heights the idea of industrial policy, a beloved purpose of the left, as he promotes the winners and penalizes those he does not like in our economic structure.

For example, he tells American companies they must stop doing business in China.

That’s the type of edict that might come from the leadership of the old Soviet Union, Cuba or even today’s communist China. It is the ultimate in government interference with the free market.

It is so amazingly inconsistent with everything that makes free enterprise work that one thinks he must be joking.

But the president is not.

He genuinely believes that he has the right to direct American commerce. It is a startling blunt exercise in socialism.

Farmers, who for decades have come close to being wards of the government with their different crop subsidies, are now even more dependent on the government because of Trump and his redistribution of tariff proceeds. The president’s actions have a certain French farm policy overlay to them.

The tariffs themselves are a massive new tax on the American consumer. Accurate accounting would require that they be described as a national sales tax 

Socialists, of course, like nothing better that a new tax stream to fund the government. This of course is what the president’s tariffs are. 

So who are the bad people of American productivity? Any company that builds a plant or expands employment outside the United States, according to the president and his Treasury secretary.

The fact that U.S. companies need to compete in an international market requires them to be international is lost on this president and his people. They set up a clear list of businesses they deem enemies of the state, and they do not hesitate to use the powers they have to berate them.

Theirs is industrial policy on steroids and can only be justified if you believe the government should dominate the market and pick its winners and losers.

That approach is a core element of socialist ideological purposes.

Furthermore, the president and his people want a weaker dollar.

Since the end of World War II, the dollar has been the currency of the world, providing a great benefit and advantage for our nation and our people.

To openly push to reduce the value of the dollar is a policy that has deep roots in the socialist movement that has always been a part of the Democratic Party’s policy matrix, starting with William Jennings Bryan more than a century ago. 

For the most part, the weaker-dollar philosophy has been a minority position even within the Democratic Party. But now it has been usurped by the president and made a centerpiece of his “republican” administration.

This is ironic and reflective of a move to the far left of the American political policy experience.

Socialists see no significant issue with running up the debt and deficits of a government if such spending is done in the name of a good cause.

This president and his people are overseeing and empowering the most dramatic expansion in federal spending, deficits and debt in U.S. history.

They have no interest in limiting this spending because it is their position that it is for a good cause. And after all, the price of paying for it will come long after the president has left office.

This type of government expansion — this explosion in the size of deficit spending now and for the foreseeable future — can only be labeled for what it is: a form of socialist fiscal policy.

Socialism should be a pejorative term. Yet, many are throwing it around with some alacrity.

For this reason, it is not of much value to apply it to the president, even though many of his core policies are certainly in the first-cousin realm of the term and its purposes. 

But he does not have any core policies, just those ideas that he happens to stumble onto while watching some late night talk show. So it is not possible to hang a title on him that claims he is this or that.

All one can really do is describe what his actions are — in terms that are accurate and applicable.

In the cases cited which make up a fairly substantial proportion of his policy actions, they can best be described as being almost, occasionally, pretty close to socialist.

It may shock Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.), but she seems to have simpatico in the president.

Judd Gregg (R) is a former governor and three-term senator from New Hampshire who served as chairman and ranking member of the Senate Budget Committee, and as ranking member of the Senate Appropriations Foreign Operations subcommittee.

Tags Donald Trump Elizabeth Warren Free market Republican Party Socialism

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