Happy New Year, President Trump: The Hunt For Silver Linings

01/03/2017 09:16 am ET Updated Jan 05, 2017

Everybody wants to know what Trump World is going to be like. Everyone’s guessing about what to expect from President Trump. What follows aren’t predictions ― they’re a foray into hopefulness, with no evidence to back it up. If the stars align, here’s where we can hope for the best.

A Real Infrastructure Program: Real dollars behind real projects. It’s needed on every level; he could pay for it with one-time funds from repatriated overseas corporate stashes. People will fill the new jobs.

More Likely: Phony Public/Private Partnership tax cuts and rhetoric, and little fed cash. Look For: Schumer and the Senate Dems try to cut a decent deal.

Upper Income Tax Hikes: The hedge fund guys lose the carried-interest loophole. Trump made noise about this, he needs the revenue; he needs to smack the 1%ers, at least a little.

More Likely: High-end rate cuts for individuals and corporations. Look For: Again, Schumer and the Dems try to tack on a little middle-class relief.

Health Care Reform: Protection for big medical centers who service poor folks and for those already signed into Obamacare. There’s no political benefit in taking away health insurance from those who have it.

More Likely: Lots of “Repeal Obamacare” hot air and four years of uncertainty. Look For: Chuck and the Dems again.

It’s a skimpy list, to be sure. There’s even less to hope for on the Supreme Court, Climate Change, Immigration, and civility in public life. President Donald will look just like candidate Donald, and that will undermine traditional notions of truth and fairness. All in all, unrelenting awfulness.

If you really want to go out on a limb, try this. Trump wants to be liked and re-elected. A lot of what the hard right wants him to do is unpopular. If the economy slows down, unemployment goes up, China and Russia get frisky, folks lose healthcare, etc., the Donald is capable of reversing course on a dime. That’s the silver lining: He’s not really committed to anything.

Strap yourself in. It’s going to be a bumpy ride.

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