I had the news on this afternoon and Trump was stumping from Missouri. I had to think long and hard if I even wanted to listen but I decided to. Shockingly, I found myself agreeing in principle with a few of his points. Hard to believe, I know.
The general points of agreement were:
His views on NAFTA
Incentives for companies to keep jobs in the US
Tax Reform that benefits the Middle Class
Point by point:
NAFTA was a response to globalization which in large part was unavoidable. The US had to do something with our trading partners to level the playing field or else we weren’t going to have any trading partners. That was just reality. Trump calls it a raw deal for Americans. Indeed we have seen the “Giant sucking sound” of jobs heading overseas that Ross Perot warned us about in 1992. Most of it was probably unavoidable. That being said, I have no issue with a review of any trade deal that’s been made to see if it can be improved. Just because we have NAFTA in place now doesn’t mean it can’t be improved upon. I don’t agree with Trump’s use of threats to “throw the deal out” if he doesn’t get the concessions he’s after, but I think a review of it is a perfectly acceptable thing to consider.
- Incentives for Companies to keep jobs in the US
US companies large and small benefit from shipping jobs overseas because of lower tax rates. The US has never been able to address this with any kind of worldwide taxation plan that eliminates the incentive. The fallout of this policy has been bad for the American worker. I agree it would be a good thing to review it and see what we can come up as a better solution to put incentives in the right places that benefit workers and not just corporations.
- Tax reform that benefits the middle class
This one is a real head-scratcher because if you contrast what he talks about in his speeches with what is in his actual tax proposal, it doesn’t make any sense. In just listening to him talk about how the middle class needs some tax relief and how this would be beneficial, I find it hard to argue with that point. The devil is in the details and unfortunately, the details benefit the top 1%.
Elimination of the Estate tax benefits the super wealthy
Fewer tax brackets (7 to 3) by itself does not help or simplify the tax code which is 73,954 pages long
Lowering the corporate tax rate from 35% to 15% benefits corporations, not people
I will concede that a 35% corporate tax rate is high on a global scale and makes it difficult for US Corporations to be competitive, though there appear to be enough loop-holes such that the vast majority of corporations don’t pay anywhere near 35%. It’s a worthy discussion. Obama had some plausible ideas on the subject. A 19% bottom rate no matter where the income is earned. That idea didn’t get anywhere ostensibly because well, it came from Obama and McConnell was hell-bent on making him a one-term president.
- Infrastructure Investment
This idea is long overdue. One would have thought that after the great recession of 2008, we’d have some new roads and bridges to brag about but alas the vast majority of the bailout money went to banks that were “too big to fail” and infrastructure investment took a back seat. Frankly I was surprised we didn’t implement the New Deal II and put people back to work in 2008 with infrastructure projects all around. It’s not like there’s a shortage of things that needs fixing.
Once again the idea is solid, but the details of Trump’s particular plan leave you grasping at how these particular bullet items have anything to do with improving our infrastructure. Case in point – the first item I saw used as a talking point on TV was that Trump was pursing “Privatization of the Air Traffic Control System” as an infrastructure project. Huh?
That’s a horrible idea on any scale.
- Why it won’t work: It isn’t WYSIWYG
WYSIWYG – What you see is what you get.
The promises for example, on the ACA. These are direct quotes from the campaign trail:
Healthcare for everyone
Not cuts in Medicare
No one will lose their coverage
Nobody will be worse off financially
Everybody’s going to get taken care of
More promises on Tax Reform:
His plan would not increase the deficit
It would primarily benefit the middle class
The wealthy wouldn’t get much of a tax break
- Why isn’t it WSYWIG?
The reason the average Trump voter isn’t going to get anything near what he promised on the campaign trail is because Trump delegated. He entrusted his colleague Paul Ryan and his co-horts with the details that, in the end, looked nothing like what he promised on the campaign trail.
The truth came out. 20 Million lose coverage. Huge cuts in Medicare. Huge increases in premiums for the elderly, in some cases 8x. No, everybody would not have been taken care of in this big, beautiful healthcare bill as he liked to call it. In the end there was no way to polish Ryan and McConnell’s turd. It was a tax cut for the the wealthy disguised as a healthcare replacement bill. Thank God for John McCain, Lisa Murkowski, and Susan Collins.
What he failed to see was that he needed to set hard parameters for the crafters of the bill and say without hesitation that he would not sign it unless it met the parameters he outlined on the campaign trail. He didn’t do that. He entrusted Paul Ryan who said “I got this”.
That’s kind of like if your store is suffering from too many shoplifters, so you delegate the fix to John Gotti.
There’s a difference between what he says and what he does.
If we’re talking about what he says, I might be able to get on board with about 10% of the talk. If we’re talking about what he does, less than 1%.
So many abhorrent policies and behaviors for this Administration. Let me count the ways:
Remove all undocumented immigrants
Muslim ban. Later rebranded as extreme vetting
Increasing military spending
Repeal of the ACA
Violations of the emoluments clause
Defund Planned Parenthood
Tax cuts for the top 1% – Ryan’s plan, not his own
Equivocating “both sides” of civil discourse when one of the sides was clearly white supremacists. The videos don’t lie.
The blatant lies. All day, everyday
I’m about as far from a Trump supporter as you can get. But I should get some credit for keeping an open mind.