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Wednesday, January 25, 2017

Big Fish, Little Fish, Mr. Trump

Some portion of the American population cast their ballots for a man who promised to make their country great again. A greater portion of the voting public case ballots for one or other of the candidate who were running against his platform of systematic dissection of American economic strides of the past 70 years. An even greater portion of the American population failed for one reason or another to cast a vote for any candidate.

Hillary Clinton ran with a well-established and time tested team of advisers and like-minded politician and staff. The minor candidates, not so much. They lacked the synergy which comes from working together in common pursuits.

For good or for ill, businessman and entrepreneur, Donald J. Trump ran for and won the election to become the 45th President of the United States. Here is a man who was a Big Fish in a Small Pond. While in private life he owned, bought and sold hundreds of businesses. Some of them were good enterprises and others failed. Mr. Trump was the undisputed owner and director of every part of those enterprises. His "pond" consisted of a few dozen board members and investors to whom he was responsible. In the shallows of that pond were several thousands of employees who relied on his prowess and ability to maintain a working business. He was good at commanding respect and making people jump through the hoops he held out for them.

This command and control structure extends to his three wives and five children who stand politely at his side and reflect his greatness back to him.

The era of Mr. Trump's big status has come to an end with his election to the office of President. Now he is responsible for and to tens of thousands of Federal employees who make his newly acquired enterprise work. No longer is the command chain only three links long. In his private business life he could summarily dismiss anyone and everyone at his pleasure and reassign duties as he saw fit. After all they were his employees and their jobs were his personal property. This is not the same in government circles.

While he struggles to realign the government to his liking he is finding that he is responsible for far more people than before. His employees needed wages and health insurance. He could wave his hand and raise, lower, add or remove any and all compensation with near impunity. If anyone did not like it, they could look elsewhere for a job.

As elected leader of the nation he assumed his 43 million supported were his constituents. Meeting their wants and desires were his calling. That pond got measurable larger and he, proportionally smaller.

The people who voted for him are not his only concerns. There are 317 million Americans to whom he has a duty. Even if the few hundred board members and investors would not inform him that he had spinach in his teeth, there are millions of ordinary citizens who would immediately tell him and make an Internet meme all about it. Those 317 million Americans comprise an even bigger pond.

Mr. Trump is wholly unsuited for the magnitude of the position he now occupies. He is appearing progressively smaller and smaller as time goes by. The sheer number of direction he must look and act have overwhelmed the man. He has no highly experienced team with government experience to carry out his executive decisions and legislative priorities. The only experience his Wall Street appointees, Pharma appointees, regulatory agency appointees have is as adversaries of the very government bodies they are supposed to manage. Mr. Trump, the businessman who hated government regulations and taxes, is now the man who can whisk away those pesky regulations with the stroke of his pen. That power is awesome and awful at the same time.

The Art of the Deal is more a treatise on his ability to get his own way than it is for how to negotiate for mutual benefit. In business one can crush the opponent bring him to his knees and force him to kiss your signet. In politics, this is never a good practice.

The 317 million Americans are not the end of the pond growing responsibility. Mr. Trump becomes even small in the pons which houses 7 billion humans. Like it or not, every decision an American President makes ultimate impact each and every one of those people. Shaking one fist at the ceiling and declaring America First is a declaration of conflict when heard by peoples of other countries. It harkens back to the days of ITT, Standard Oil, Ford and other American multinational corporations which moved in on South American and Asian countries sucking the wealth out of the region and leaving the spoils to the indigenous populations.

Like it or not, the entire world is in your hands, Mr. Trump, not just the white male demographic of the US. You are now a very Small Fish in a very Large Pond. The common people will tell you to your face that you are not doing a good job. Other leaders will tell you to your face and to their people that you need to clean up your act and become a team player and not be yet another despotic dictator in the world. The Press will describe your attributes and report on your actions. That is their job. You cannot stop them without doing yourself more damage.