Psyched for 2017!

This is my first Swarfblog of 2017 and it’s not about the Cubs. I am grateful to be able to continue writing it and grateful you are willing to devote your valuable time to reading it. I take neither for granted. Every day I wake up I feel I am a blessed survivor. When I write a piece worthy of putting my name on it (I do throw away a lot of crap I write), I feel a real sense of satisfaction.

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I think 2017 has a chance to be the best year economically since the 2008 meltdown. Some of this is based on numbers and observation and a fair amount on gut.

The country is certainly split politically, and I’m not really talking Republican and Democrat, because I think those party designations are less important than I can ever remember. The split is economic, rich and poor, but even more, psychological, between those who are optimistic about their future and those who are fearful. Donald Trump capitalized on fear to win the election, but must now engender a sense of optimism in the country to have a successful presidency, which he desperately wants to have to support his fragile ego and rampant narcissism. In that respect, he and Barack Obama are similar. Obama is obsessed with his “legacy” as President, exhibiting his enormous egotism in full flower, spending his final days in office defending Obamacare.

Trump’s party is Trump. He borrowed the Republican banner to get elected. Republicans also borrowed Trump to get elected. For the moment they need one another because the Democrats will be just as obstructionist and spiteful as the Republicans were versus Obama unless Trump’s popularity forces individual Democrats to jump ship to save their own skins.

Donald Trump has instinctively reinvented Presidential politics by both using and circumventing the institutional press like the TV networks and national newspapers like The New York Times and Washington Post. His daily tweets have proven to be enormously effective in reaching the public and scaring leaders in business and politics to follow his lead. The Carrier and Ford episodes are both hopeful and scary because they reflect Trump’s bullying nature, but they also show a true gut feel for the mood of the country.

I have been fascinated by his top cabinet and staff picks. He appears to be using Mike Pence to guide him on useful Republican and ideological choices like Representative Tom Price to guide healthcare policy and Reince Priebus as Chief of Staff.

Many people seem troubled by his choice of so many generals, but generally this does not bother me. Colin Powell is famous for saying that generals know the horror of combat and are the most reluctant people to send young men and women into danger. That comforts me.

For someone who railed about the influence of Wall Street Trump has filled his Cabinet and advisory groups with Wall Street folks. One could argue that they know the flaws in the system, having taken advantage of the weaknesses of government throughout their careers.

Despite the prevalence of Big Business figures in his inner circle, a preponderance of small business people I talk to are feeling as confident as they’ve felt in a decade. Higher oil prices are beginning to rejuvenate the people who supply the oil fields. We can thank the desperation of the Oil Sheiks for that. Homebuilding and home prices are getting a lift from baby boomers starting to retire and move, and Millennials are finally beginning to start families in their 30s.

The low unemployment numbers are probably mythical with the extremely low labor participation rate, but we may finally see a bump up in wages soon.

For a skilled machinist in New England and the Pacific Northwest $80,000 – $100,000 a year is not that unusual. People are buying businesses just to get first crack at skilled employees.

The strength of the U.S. dollar and the possible rise in interest rates are potential headwinds for the economy, but we have had good times with both conditions in the past.

So far, Donald Trump has played his role of President-elect shrewdly and fairly close to the vest. I am holding my breath that his impulsiveness is somehow held in check during a crisis, which will certainly come.

Let’s enjoy the honeymoon and hope it lasts well into his presidency.

Question 1: Does it trouble you to have a President coercing company CEOs?

Question 2: Are you hopeful about manufacturing in 2017?

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10 thoughts on “Psyched for 2017!

  1. Jack May

    Question 1: Does it trouble you to have a President coercing company CEOs? No it does not, I am glad to see a President that will make a stand for this country’s work force and markets. I can not believe so many of our elected officials have let our U.S. companies leave the country, but sell their merchandise back to us at the market prices while receiving a tax break for leaving. Thank God we have someone to standup for us!
    Question 2: Are you hopeful about manufacturing in 2017? a little for 2017, but much more for 2018 – 20.

     
    +7
  2. Randy

    Finally someone that not only is rattling CEO’s but his own party and anyone else making stupid decisions as political insiders have for decades. Let’s challenge them all. Lloyd, I disagree that Trump capitalized on fear, I think it was Political Status Quo that had people so pissed off and ready for someone to carry the message to Washington and the CEO’s that we don’t give a crap about what is good for, or normal in Washington, we want real change, real impact to help people at every level. Plus someone that will call them out so they are shamed into gettting back to doing the work we sent them there to do. We can make our own decisions about what we need. As they say the scariest word we hear are, “I’m from the Government and I’m here to help”. So let’s strip away all this regulatory madness and turn lose some opportunity. We will have a long way to go to train people for real jobs again, but if we don’t our kids will have no future.

    We are looking for significant improvement for 2017 thru 2019. After that as most of the presenters at Mgmt Update for the last couple of years have said, no matter who is in office, they will have to deal with entitlements and the legacy obligations we’ve allowed Washington to push down the road. The next two years are the time where a Trump shake up has the potential to give us a chance at growth to help cover it.

     
    +25
  3. Barbara Herrold

    NBC reported on the Russian involvement in US computer hacking, noting that the US intelligence agencies knew about it and reported on it beginning in 2008….so why wasn’t anything been done about it until now? And why point the finger at Trump, it has all happened on Obama’s watch, but who cares, are we (the U.S.) really that stupid. Do we have no one in the country who can truly prevent this type of computer information robbery? Sounds more like someone is not doing their job to me.
    Regarding the economy, what goes down, must come up. So of course 2017 has a better than 50% chance of being a better year than 2016 or any of the past 8 years. So manufacturers, throw off those negative “doubting Thomas” attitudes and strike while the iron is heating up. Create and make your own opportunities, put some gusto in your plan and implement as if you are working in your own world without the existence of all those time wasters who push to sidetrack our every thought these days.

     
    +6
  4. Frank Gibbons

    We are very optomistic on business prospects in 2017 & 18, our customer RFQ’s started too explode on Nov.9th and have been very steady since.

     
    +1
  5. allen

    1. Naw.

    On the International Richter scale of CEO coercion Trump doesn’t register a blip.

    Typically CEOs that displease leaders with wider latitude than Trump, and let’s keep in mind he’s not even president yet, disappear.

    I’m pretty sure Mark Fields isn’t furtively peaking out through the blinds at Ford World Headquarters in fear of government ninjas spiriting him away for failing to heed the warnings of Empero…uh…President-elect Trump.

    2. Yeah. The on-going improvements in productivity of the whole machining industry are layered on my hopes that the Republicans will enact some pro-free trade legislation – tax and regulatory reforms right near the top of which are Obamacare and alternative energy mandates/subsidies.

    What the last election, and a couple previous, say to me is that the country’s moving away from the ideas of the left.

    We’ve looked at them, lived some of them, and now we’re saying “thanks but no thanks”.

    On one issue – gun control – the trend’s pretty obvious. The last real success of the left on that topic occurred during the Bush years in the form of the Assault Weapons Ban. Since then? Bupkus.

    Worse than bupkus. Both Al Gore and John Kerry lost their bids for the presidency due to, in some measure, their stands on gun control. There was a nearly-forgotten primary in 2000 between Lynn Rivers, a then unknown Democrat with distinctly pro-gun control leanings and John Dingell, an NRA board member. The primary was widely touted as a referendum on gun control. John Dingell won at a walk.

    The other issue on which the left is losing is public education.

    Parental choice measures in the form of charter schools have proven virtually unstoppable. More recently even more dangerous parental choice measures like vouchers have started gaining traction after decades of failure.

    The shift in the public education policy scene isn’t as obvious as that for gun control but in some ways is more important.

    Public education’s the longest-lived, most wide spread socialist policy. Any rethinking of the idea is a foundational shift and that’s what’s in the process of happening.

    I doubt the results of the 2016 general election will do anything to impede those changes. Quite the opposite.

     
    +2
  6. Dick Crosby

    My main problem with Trump is his (usually) negative naming, and name calling, people. Antbody! It’s not necessary, and
    makes him look small, which is exactly what he doesn’t want ,
    or need. It sure as hell isn’t very presidential. I don’t want my American president going around calling and labeling
    people names. Usually disrespectfull. Stop it! Don.
    OOPs! Sorry for being disrespectfull.

     
    +2
  7. John Otto

    “Donald Trump capitalized on fear to win the election” ????

    Trump did not win the election by capitalizing on fear Lloyd. His message was clear.

    He won because Health Care Insurance Premiums tripled, for the same lousy coverage the was forced upon us by Obama.
    He won because his opponent is a liar who lied about Benghazi.
    He won because Hillary was guilty of pay for play. How else could she have amassed such a fortune by giving speeches with her shrill voice.
    He won because he played the media like a stradivarius.
    He won because he backed the working people and the military ( the good guys IMHO ) who were voiceless under Obama.
    He won because the people who were given voice under Obama and Hillary were, the Black Lives Matter gang, Transgenders and every other group you could throw at mainstream America.
    He won because Hillary was going to raise taxes yet again on the producers of this country.

    Honestly, if Hillary won, I was going to retire even though I’m not ready to do so. That is what I call loss of HOPE.

     
    +10
  8. John Otto

    “Donald Trump capitalized on fear to win the election” ????
    Trump did not win the election by capitalizing on fear Lloyd. His message was clear although muddled by the Propaganda Media, which is why there is such a divide on the subject, so let me clarify.

    He won because Health Care Insurance Premiums tripled, for the same lousy coverage but forced upon us by Obama. What ever happened to free choice?

    He won because his opponent is a liar who lied about Benghazi and countless other things in the past 35 years.
    He won because of Conservative talk radio and Fox news – the only source of Non – PC BS news. We all know where to catch the Obama side of things… everywhere else.
    He won because Hillary was guilty of pay for play. How else could she have amassed such a fortune by giving speeches with a shrill voice.
    He won because he played the media like a stradivarius.
    He won because he backed the working people, and the military ( the good guys IMHO ) who were voiceless under Obama.
    He won because the people who were given voice under Obama and Hillary were, the Black Lives Matter gang, Transgenders and every other group you could throw at mainstream America.
    He won because Hillary was going to raise taxes yet again on the producers of this country.
    I could go on but I’m certain Trump will someday write a book about it, and I’m certain that 60 million or so hard working, get out of my face, up yours on your political correctness Americans will want to read it.
    If Hillary won, I was going to retire, even though I’m not ready to do so. That is what I call lost HOPE.

     

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