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Construction is booming, the stock market is at all time highs (just like it was under Obama post-Bush recession, for what its worth), and things seem to be pretty good. Is this Trump or what? I say it isn't, but Trump hasn't done anything to completely screw it up short-term just yet. The recent coddle the Trump family tax bill won't bite hard until later, and it may give the already booming economy a bit of a minor sugar buzz. So, predictions. I don't see a recession coming before 2018. If the Democrats think they will have the economy to run on during the midterm election, they probably better start thinking about something else. What we will see is a bit of leveling off of construction, particularly in places like Seattle that have had major booms. We won't see increased economic growth in the places Trump had his highest levels of support. None of his policies have had any lasting impact on the wellbeing of manufacturing jobs in the midwest or mining in West Virginia. The mining and extraction interests that will benefit are large, corporate entities who move a whole lot of dirt and make a mess with minimal numbers of employees.

I don't see much pressure from oil pricing. OPEC is pretty well kaput these days, and fracking will keep a lid on prices while it lasts. As long as Trump and people like him control the reins, there won't be any kinds of new controls on what extractors can and cannot do, meaning that if your drinking water catches on fire, that's just tough tittties for you. It will make for some awkward boom-towns in places like North Dakota which will dry up and blow away when the wells get sucked dry and the drillers move on. It also means we aren't likely to have an oil shock like happened in the '70s. Trump will benefit from relatively stable energy prices.

Coal isn't going to come back in any big way, no matter what Pollution Pal Rick Perry does. Insurance will get more and more expensive, reverting to a pattern that's more like the pre-Obamacare spirals. That's going to hit some demographic groups harder than others. Trump's less well-off supporters may get double screwed when their expected blue collar jobs don't materialize but they do lose the insurance they just got. They will likely blame Obama anyway.

On the international scene, the rest of the world seems to think Trump is an idiot to be avoided, not a reliable partner. That means the US will get bypassed more often by trade deals, and we will lose out on the benefits of those deals over the mid- to long-term. Short-term, it may not make that much difference. The rest of the world seems to be pulling itself up for a change, which should benefit the US economy. If the US is isolated, it will benefit less, but it will probably still benefit.

It makes for an interesting mix. Trump's erratic behavior and inflammatory rhetoric keeps his "base" happy, but I don't see him gaining anything like the level of independent support necessary to be an asset to the GOP. Recent polling showing a huge preference for Democrats is probably a chimera. Those who are knee-jerk GOP voters will still vote GOP next fall. I work with a couple of them. Nothing Trump does or says will dislodge their support for him, because he's just not Obama or Hillary. It's mindless, but that's how it seems to work.

By next fall, I expect to see the economy flattening a little, but probably not enough to make it an election issue. By 2020, if things are still expanding, it will be a very long expansion. I would expect a cyclical downturn sometime before or after that. The Democrats may not have the economy to run on in 2020, but I doubt the Republicans will, either. It will be flattening by then. Trump's erratic behavior and exhausting habit of attacking people when he should just shut up may attract some serious primary challenges in the 2020 election, too.

We live in interesting times.
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