Businesses, investors and governments are making anticipatory moves to position themselves for a future Trump presidency. The positioning is not complete. Adjustments, and even readjustments, are likely to continue at a rapid pace until the likelihood of his campaign promises becoming law are better understood.
Since the presidential election, the U.S. economy has seen some positive developments. Apple announced it wants to move iPhone production from China to the United States. Ford announced its Lincoln automobiles will be manufactured in Kentucky instead of Mexico. U.S. stock market prices have seen new record highs. Last week's new jobless claims number was the lowest in more than 40 years. Retail sales have strengthened.
On the negative side, interest rates have risen sharply. The yield on 10-year U.S. treasuries has increased by 65 basis points. Mortgage rates are higher. The U.S. dollar has appreciated against most currencies, which will make our exports less competitive. Inflationary expectations are higher. Foreigners continue to sell U.S. notes and bonds. Demonstrations continue.
When the United States has transitioned to a new presidential administration that has a significantly different economic philosophy and worldview than the previous president's administration, changes have been more profound. When the more conservative President Hoover was replaced by liberal President Franklin D. Roosevelt, changes were far-reaching. As the more liberal President Carter was replaced by the conservative President Ronald Reagan, the economic structure changed dramatically.
Populist President-elect Trump will replace liberal President Obama. Mr. Trump is neither a pure conservative nor a pure liberal. He is a populist. Changes are likely to be profound and far-reaching. The transition is unlikely to be smooth. Adjustments are likely to be filled with excitement, hope, fear and anxiety. Wise decision-makers will position themselves, as much as possible, to be prepared.
In the kingdom, we need to prepare for future transitions. If our goal is revival, we need to make the preparations now that will allow success during the future revival. Success today lays the foundation for future success. The essence of planning is to quantify the steps necessary to achieve a smooth transition from our current condition to future goals.
David was first successful as a shepherd. While protecting his flock, he learned to trust the Lord and became skillful at using a sling. The skills he had learned as a shepherd allowed him to become a champion for the army of Israel and defeat Goliath. The instant notoriety from defeating Goliath got him promoted to lead armies in which he was successful. But his success on the battlefield aroused the jealously of King Saul, who tried to kill him on multiple occasions. Throughout years of running from Saul, David was always faithful; he continued to trust and praise the Lord, and honor the anointing of Saul. David was anointed king, and became known as a man after God's own heart. Current successes led to successful transitions.
"When He had removed him, He raised up David to be their king, of whom He testified, saying, 'I have found David the son of Jesse, a man after My own heart, who will fulfill My entire will" (Acts 11:22, MEV).
Joseph was successful as his father's favorite son, Potiphar's servant, a prisoner in jail and a ruler of Egypt. Throughout everything he remained obedient, faithful and in contact with the Almighty. He prospered in all because God was with him. Success is not dependent on the situation. Current successes led to successful transitions.
"His master saw that the Lord was with him and that the Lord made all that he did to prosper" (Gen. 39:3, MEV).
Desirable transitions don't just happen. The environment is not the deciding variable. If the Lord is with us, we can be successful in any situation. Current successes lead to desirable transitions.
"Life is one big transition." —Willie Stargell
Dr. James Russell is a professor of economics and undergraduate chair of the College of Business at Oral Roberts University.
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