Thursday, March 30, 2017

What Have They Done For You Lately?

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I assume this was the bottom line for rational Trump voters (not the Deplorables, of whom there are many - they have their own website where they compete with one another to see who can be the most vicious and vile or the Trump evangelicals who believe Trump was sent to us directly by God). I'm talking about the Trump fans who could be your neighbors or co-workers. Decent, kindly people.

I think this was the argument that sold them. Trump told them he was fighting for them, the forgotten Americans, as opposed to the Washington elite. With his populist campaign, he promised to bring back good jobs and eliminate the competitors for those jobs and re-write trade agreements that encouraged industries to outsource. And not only did they elect him, they gave him a Republican congress so he wouldn't be obstructed (as Obama was) by his opponents.

They gave the R's free rein to do all the wonderful things for the working class they said they would do.

By the time, Trump was inaugurated, I gave him almost zero credibility. His whole persona seemed like a giant shell game to me. But....if he'd begun with an infrastructure program, I might have begun to gain a little faith. If instead of trying to take health insurance from millions of Americans as his first project, he'd worked hard to accomplish the goal of jump-starting the economy and creating jobs by rebuilding our crumbling bridges and highways and electrical grid and airports and buildings and transportation systems, I might have started to buy in. And I don't mean by giving ginormous tax breaks to corporations to encourage them to do it. I mean by financing it ourselves, even if we had give up a ship here or a plane there or cut back on rebates for oil companies or tax breaks for billionaire realtors and bankers.

Jobs for real people - I might have considered that he was serious about "fighting for us".

And even now, after health care flopped, the next plan is tax reform. Like the Republican version of the American Health Care Act, tax reform will also benefit primarily the rich.

He brags about United Technology agreeing to move only 1000 jobs out of Indianapolis instead of 1,700 they'd originally slated for lay-off but they are in the process right now of closing their Huntington plant which is another 700 jobs. And Ford and others say their future plans for America were already in the works though Trump is taking the credit. Meantime, he puts a hiring freeze on federal employees, which incidentally, those are jobs too.

I've always thought I'd like to have a real conversation with a Trump supporter. Someone who would actually discuss our different political views. I would ask them what Trump and the Republicans have done so far to assure them that they are fighting for us. Trump's very first executive order raised the amount regular people pay on their mortgages. They've done away with regulations that mandated how much industry could pollute our waterways. They want to end the Endangered Species Act. They passed a law allowing hunters (I hesitate to even call them hunters, which is a name that implies some honor) to kill hibernating bears and gas mother bears and wolves and their cubs in their dens. They want to privatize some of our federally owned lands to open it up to drilling and mining and fracking. They approved both the Keystone and Dakota pipelines against the will of the people who actually live in those areas and fear for their clean water. The saving grace was to be a law that said the pipelines must be made of American steel but, of course, they've withdrawn that order. They've rescinded the regulation that says our employers must pay us overtime. They are adamantly opposed to increasing the minimum wage. They passed legislation that will allow our internet providers to sell every bit of information they have about us. They passed a law that says investment bankers no longer have to work "in the best interest of their customers". These are just things I remember off the top of my head. I'm sure I'm forgetting some important ones.

I'd ask my Trump friend - did you truly believe we'd have a wall and that Mexico would pay for it? I always thought that sounded absurd. And if you wanted illegal immigrants from coming to our country, why wouldn't they start with employers, which is the weakest link in the immigration chain? No jobs, no immigrants. Wouldn't that be cheaper and more humane than dragging people off as they took their kids to school or opened their businesses?

Did you really think their rushed Muslim ban was well thought out? Do we really make America safer by leaving students and grandmothers and sick babies stranded at airports? Are we safer because Muhammed Ali's son was interrogated at the airport....twice....simply because of his name?

I might have started to have a little faith in Trump if he'd appointed people to his cabinet who seemed eager to help their agencies become more responsive and more efficient. Instead he put a bunch of rich foxes in charge of the henhouse. An EPA Director who doesn't believe in climate change. An Education Secretary who doesn't believe in public education. A HHS Director who doesn't believe in health care, especially in the form of Medicare or Medicaid. An Energy Secretary who doesn't believe in energy policy. A HUD Secretary who knows jack shit about public housing. And I think he's up to seven former CEOs of Golden Sachs (the very people he used to call the "global cabal"). There may be others by now. He's barely begun to fill the jobs it takes to run these agencies. Who needs'em? We have too many people already.

If you're interested in seeing what cuts Trump has in his proposed budget to see if you agree with them, here is a list.

Instead of experienced people, America is being managed by Steve Bannon, Jared Kushner (Trump's son-in-law) who  seems to have a finger in every presidential pie, and of course, Ivanka, who will be her father's "eyes and ears" in the West Wing (which I would take to be a little creepy if I worked in the West Wing).

So tell me, Trumpie friend, just out of curiosity, what have he and Republicans done for you lately?