Trump’s 100 days: An opportunity for liberty

Published 10:08 pm Tuesday, May 2, 2017

By Charles Frohman

An honest libertarian would have to praise Trump for sticking with his late-life conversion to free-market ideals in many of the accomplishments of his first 100 days. But a life-long devotion to big government has made many actions cringe-worthy events for lovers of liberty.

In many ways good for liberty, Trump has proposed to steal less of our money through taxes, harass us with less red tape and permit more innovation in health and education.

Email newsletter signup

However, Trump is stuck in a Nixonian police state; has proven an acolyte of warrantless spying; evinces a laughing Midas in a sandpile of debt; obstinately seems hostile to the benefits of the voluntary exchange of goods and the free movement of people; and has proven way too jingoistic in “making the world safe for democracy.”

These are some nice things for entrepreneurs, perhaps, but there’s way too much intervening overseas and at home.

Take Trump’s irresponsibility on debt. In his budget, Trump has absolutely ignored the health care and pension programs for the elderly. Credit Trump for block-granting Medicaid in his ObamaCare repeal, but in even that bill, if passed, we would have to lobby our states to opt out of the insurance regulations causing prohibitive premiums.

There is some free-market and budget discipline, but it’s woefully insufficient and requires a lot of lifting later in the states, where education reform fights, too, will continue to take place, thanks to Trump’s promise to cut what remains of a miniscule federal involvement in schooling.

While Trump is freeing entrepreneurs from much regulation, he’s replacing it with new red tape for workers not native to the land and proposed new taxes for inputs built outside our borders. His deportation Gestapo brings a little police statism to workforce issues, too.

It’s this fixation on security that brings out the worst of Trump’s first 100 days.

Tomahawking villages on questionable pretenses can only expose us to potential terrorism, as victims seek revenge.

And the fear of terrorism continues to be used to justify mass surveillance, continued persecution of whistleblowers and a threat to override free speech with the loose libel trap.

Couple this with Trump’s fixation on a warrant-ignoring police state and a crazed Attorney General trying to double down on the ridiculous drug war, and we leave a libertarian opportunity to work with progressives to roll back the over-criminalization nightmare.

Fear is holding Trump back from pushing more liberty.

So Trump in his first 100 days as president has relieved entrepreneurs from smothering red tape, promised less taxation theft and offered more choice in education and health.

But he is smothering these same businesses with import taxes and red tape for foreign workers; endangering us with a police state, warrantless spying and foolish interventions overseas; and threatening us with bankrupting economic collapse if his budget continues to ignore overspending on militarism and welfare for even middle-class elderly.

What’s a libertarian to do? Coalesce with any group seeking less government coercion and more freedom in all markets and areas of government.

Push Trump to focus more on freedom and less on security.

Charles Frohman, an ’84 grad of NSA and ’88 William and Mary, is chief operating officer of the nonprofit founded by 2016 libertarian presidential candidate Gov. Gary Johnson, and consultant for government affairs clients including the free market health hub, Health Excellence Select. He can be reached at