The Shift to Trump

Business Leaders’ Rationale

Business leaders’ growing apprehension about a second term for President Joe Biden stems from a confluence of economic challenges, regulatory overreach, and judicial activism perceived to undermine the principles that have historically supported American prosperity. These fears are easily seen as rational and illustrate the reasons for the shift towards Donald Trump. The erosion of Western, biblically rooted values under leftist policies threatens the very foundation of a thriving business environment. Furthermore, the threat of being politically targeted at any moment certainly impedes the creative and vanguardian impulse needed for truly visionary leadership in industry.

Under the Biden administration, businesses have faced a substantial increase in regulatory burdens that hinder their operations and growth. For instance, the implementation of the Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) stricter emissions standards has significantly raised compliance costs for manufacturers. Similarly, the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) has intensified reporting requirements for publicly traded companies, increasing administrative overhead. The Department of Labor’s push for more stringent overtime rules has further strained small businesses, compelling them to reevaluate their workforce strategies. Additionally, the Federal Trade Commission’s (FTC) heightened scrutiny of mergers and acquisitions has created uncertainty and slowed down potential business expansions. These regulatory measures, while often well-intentioned, collectively impose heavy financial and operational costs on businesses, curbing their ability to innovate and compete effectively in the global market.

Furthermore, inflation under the Biden administration has placed immense burdens on businesses, as rising costs for raw materials, transportation, and labor erode profit margins. For instance, the price of essential commodities like steel and lumber has skyrocketed, impacting construction and manufacturing industries. Transportation costs have surged due to higher fuel prices, squeezing logistics and shipping companies. Additionally, businesses face pressure to increase wages to keep up with the cost of living, further inflating their operational expenses. These escalating costs compel businesses to raise prices, risking reduced consumer demand and competitive disadvantage in both domestic and global markets. The volatility of costs decreases the ability to plan and only increases time preference, further shortening the investment time horizon and reducing the game-changing, long term projects that make measurable differences in productivity and qualities of life.

Also, policies like halting future permits for shipping LNG, while intended to study environmental impacts, have been criticized for creating uncertainty and discouraging investment. These actions are seen as emblematic of an administration more focused on regulatory oversight than on fostering a pro-business environment.

Business owners are also concerned about potential increases in corporate taxes and capital gains taxes, which they argue would further hinder economic growth and job creation. The administration’s push for stronger labor regulations is another point of contention, with business leaders fearing that increased costs and operational restrictions could reduce their global competitiveness.

The fear of “lawfare”—the use of legal systems to achieve political ends—has been heightened by recent judicial actions against prominent conservative figures, most notably former President Donald Trump. The conviction of Trump by New York State Attorney General Letitia James, which involved allegations of inflating asset values, is viewed by many conservatives as a politically motivated attempt to sideline a key political opponent. The ruling is criticized for its lack of concrete evidence of harm to lenders and is perceived as an overreach of judicial power aimed at undermining Trump’s business operations and political influence.

The precedent set by this type of judicial overreach threatens to create a landscape where political adversaries can be systematically targeted through legal machinations. This not only undermines the integrity of the judicial system but also instills fear among business leaders and politicians who worry that they too could be ensnared by politically motivated lawsuits. The weaponization of the legal system erodes public trust and deters individuals from engaging in public service or entrepreneurial ventures, knowing that their success could invite punitive legal challenges from political opponents. This perilous environment stifles political diversity and economic innovation, fostering a culture of intimidation rather than democratic debate and free-market competition.

Amid these concerns, a notable shift towards Donald Trump among Silicon Valley billionaires and other business leaders has been observed. High-profile fundraisers hosted by tech investors like David Sacks and Chamath Palihapitiya, which raised millions for Trump’s campaign, signal a growing discontent with Biden’s policies and a preference for Trump’s deregulatory and pro-business stance. This support underscores a belief that Trump’s administration, despite its controversies, provided a more favorable economic climate for businesses through tax cuts and reduced regulatory burdens.

On a deeper level, the foundation of Western civilization, deeply rooted in biblical morality and ethics, has historically provided a stable environment for business to flourish. Principles such as the sanctity of contracts, property rights, and personal responsibility are integral to a free-market economy. These concepts are closely tied to the Christian tradition, which emphasizes the dignity of the individual, the importance of hard work, and the moral obligation to engage in fair and honest business practices.

Natural rights and natural law, concepts deeply embedded in Western thought, assert that individuals have inherent rights derived from nature and God, rather than granted by government. This framework has fostered an environment where entrepreneurship can thrive, as individuals are free to pursue their economic interests with minimal government interference. The erosion of these principles under leftist policies, which often prioritize collective over individual rights, is seen as a direct threat to the economic freedoms that underpin American prosperity.

The left’s increasing antagonism towards Western civilization and Christianity is argued to be counterproductive, as it erodes the ethical underpinnings that support trust and cooperation in the marketplace. Policies promoting socialism, for example, often involve significant government intervention in the economy, which can stifle innovation and reduce the incentive for individuals to start and grow businesses.

Furthermore, attacks on traditional family structures and values, which are integral to the stability and well-being of society, are seen as undermining the social fabric necessary for a thriving economy. The family, as the basic unit of society, plays a crucial role in instilling values such as responsibility, discipline, and respect for authority—traits that are essential for the development of a productive workforce and a robust economy.

Business leaders’ fears of a second Biden term, compounded by concerns over judicial overreach and regulatory excesses, have catalyzed a significant shift towards Donald Trump. This movement reflects a desire to return to a governance model that champions economic freedom, respects the rule of law, and upholds the Western values that have historically underpinned American success. As these leaders advocate for a return to policies that foster innovation and growth, they underscore the importance of maintaining a political and economic system rooted in the principles of Western civilization and biblical ethics. The preservation of these values is not only crucial for the continued prosperity of businesses but also for the overall health and stability of society. The shift to Trump is therefor fully understandable and wholly rational. May it continue.

Image Credit: Unsplash

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Ronald Dodson

Ronald Dodson is CEO and Portfolio Manager of Dallas North Capital Partners, a private fund management firm. He also frequently writes on geopolitical developments and global risk. He has worked with the Center for the Study of New Testament Manuscripts. His interests include the Noahic Covenant gentile believers in the ancient world, continental theology and coaching soccer. He is a deacon in the PCA.

8 thoughts on “The Shift to Trump

  1. IMO, Dodson’s not being honest here. He knows that inflation is primarily caused by demand surpassing supply. And that is what happened in a dramatic way when the lockdowns ended. And some industries took much more time to restore the level of supply than others. That is particularly true regard the supply of gasoline, which in and of itself can be a very significant driver for inflation.

    Another reason for inflation was Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. All of the sudden, goods coming out of Ukraine and oil and gas coming out of Russia were interfered with.

    And yet another reason for inflation was the corporate drive to maximize profits.

    Dodson knows all of that but spent his time acting toward necessary actions like a catcher who is trying to frame pitches. That is especially shown in his treatment of increased regulations. With the backdrop of Trump’s dismantling of Obama’s clean air and clean water regulations and the realistic concern for climate change, an increase in the number of environmental regulations was necessary. As was regulations meant to product workers. And considering what happened in 2008, increased regulations to me enforced by the SEC are also necessary. Dodson regards all of that as overreach.

    And yet what does Trump want to do? He wants silence CRT and scuttle DEI. In addition, many of the Christian Nationalists who favor some strong forms of laissez-faire approach to business are asking for a government that acts as a parent toward its citizens. That of course means that these Christian Nationalists want government to regulate the religious actions and speech and the sexual behaviors between consenting adults. Note that businesses are treated like adults despite their histories and adults are treated like children.

    But this desired government approach toward business promoted by many religiously conservative Christian leaders and influencers has more than one historical precedent. Consider that in the pre-revolutionary times of France, Russia, and Spain, the predominant branch of the Church in each of those countries sided with wealth and power. And those politically conservative Christians who substantially agree with the above article, History is simply quoting Reagan by saying: ‘There you go again.’

    We should note the words of Ronald Reagan when pondering those previously mentioned times when Christians supported wealth and power: ‘There you go again

  2. Mr. Dodson, Thank you for a thoughtful article. A couple of points:

    Inflation is too high. Some mistakenly blame Russia for inflation, even though global oil production never took a hit after Russia invaded Ukraine. The oil flowed, it just flowed through China and India.

    Even Larry Summers called Biden’s stimulus massively inflationary – 3 years ago! We continue to suffer the consequences of excessive government spending. Annual deficits of $2 Trillion is simply unsustainable; Biden has proven incapable of reducing spending.

    You hit it on the head with regulatory pressure. Too often people think more regulations, under the guise of “environmental benefits”, are always a good thing. In reality, the EPA has gone off the rails. Here’s a recent Supreme Court ruling that did dial back one (only one) bad rule, a rule made in 2012.

    Some day CRT and DEI will be relegated to the dustbin of history. Until then, the lie of intersectionality will bloom. And with that lie, anti-semitism will continue to flourish. Useful idiots will continue to defend DEI and intersectionality, all the while wondering what is driving the explosion of anti-semitism.

    Trump is far from perfect, but to borrow a phrase from Biden: don’t compare Trump to the Almighty, compare him to the alternative.

    Another Reagan quote that seems very applicable: “Are you better off than you were four years ago?”

    1. Ronald,
      As someone who played Little League baseball but never advanced because I was afraid of the ball, I have a great deal of respect for you and everyone else who played catcher.

      But my guess is that you still don’t play catcher. As for me, I am a musician though not good enough to be professional. And I can still play and compose music.

        1. Ron,
          What kind of music do you like to play? And who do you like to listen to?

          I am a full-time amateur musician. I like to employ odd and irregular meters that I have heard in jazz and some Eastern European folk music to whatever I am playing. I’ve done that with 6 Christmas hymns and 4 standard hymns. I’ve done that with some simple to play classical music. I’ve composed some music especially music for the wife, the children and the grandchildren.

          In terms of playing, I am an amateur musician because of my lack of good technique and performance anxiety.

  3. “How hard it is for those who have wealth to enter the kingdom of God!” Who said that and more importantly, why? You cannot put accumulation and profit before all else, support leaders who facilitate rich men’s greed, idolize the “Golden Calf” of free enterprise and imagine yourself a Christian who wants a Christian nation.

    I’m afraid getting through that needle’s eye will be especially difficult for hedge funders, financiers, and bankers. I mean how low do your taxes have to be Deacon?

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