Did it Work?
by Terry H. Schwadron
I’ve been trying to imagine a conversation, okay a reasoned conversation, with 45 about the world he sees around us in, say, four years.
Putting critical opposition aside — and politics generally — and given Republican control over all branches of the (diminishing) federal government, what does Mr. Trump really think everyday life looks like just over the horizon? I’m presuming he does all the dystopian talking because he wants us to envision what’s on the other side of his problem-solving. If he were to have his way entirely or even in most part, what will be the effects? Chances are that he will run into one or two (million) bumps along the way, but since he does not discuss details of policy, let’s reverse the process and ask about the eventual outcome.
In short, boasting aside, what will be better or worse for those of us slogging through the day? What does he really think “winning” will look like? After all, there are a lot more people in the country who are not immigrants, legal and otherwise, a lot more people pursuing their careers than not, and an increasing number of people who want to start their own company with portable benefits and ever-rising incomes. Everyone needs health care, of course, and education, and maybe a chance to visit a national park or travel safely and with ease in and out of the country.
Will women finally be paid equally for work? Will we have made more of a dent in racism? Would classroom learning be tangibly improved? How would we know — test scores, or dropout rates or college attendance, or student debt? Will more people become nurses and teachers? Will anything have happened to reduce income inequality? Will my children become better able to buy a house or send the grandchildren to college?
Will we make it easier to be “different” in our society or will we see a continuing rise in hate-related activities? Will employers be more able to find fully skilled workers that elude them now? Will I be able to find another job paying more than my minimum wage? With millions less able to afford insurance, will we be healthier? Can I now be confident about drinking water and breathing the air because it is clean? Will it be easier to find help for my cousin to get out of addiction to opiates? Will companies stop trying to con consumers? Will prices for all goods come down? Will crime disappear with bigger and more powerful law enforcement forces? Will you have stopped communicable diseases and developed more preventive health programs? Will everyone have actual health care, actual insurance?
Will we be at war to protect “our way of life”? Has all immigration leakage stopped at the border, and no drugs coming in any longer? And does that mean you have stopped chasing innocent people down and breaking up families? Will Radical Islam drop its objections to the effects of Westernization on their lives, and stop organizing attacks on Europe and U.S. cities? Will Israel, by then a single state backed by the U.S. military, spend every day enforcing anti-Arab laws in a majority-Palestinian country? Will Russia’s continuing takeovers of former Soviet state areas ever end? Has China have cut its bill for debt financing in half? Will North Korea just throw up its hands and stop lobbing missiles or Iran less aggressive about military adventurism?
The list of questions goes on and on, of course. For openers, we don’t really know the answers from Team Trump on many of them, and those that we do know feels as if they reflect major contradictions.
Mostly we just know the slogans. And we are coming to know the ideology — separate from actual effects on real lives.
“Millions of jobs” means less if all jobs are temporary or (unchanging) minimum wage, while actual actions show we’re making it easier for banks and corporations to go about their business. No regulation means less consumer protection, and America First economics means higher costs for goods of all sort.
If you want more people covered with health insurance covering more medical bills, but with individuals paying lower prices for coverage, pharmaceuticals and deductions, we hardly seem as if we’re on the right path. If you want more respectful behavior and more genteel daily dealings, failing to call out bad behavior hardly seems the way to get there. IF you want consumer power and protection, eliminating regulations again does not square up. If you want corporate profits to reach to worker hiring and income, it is hard to see why lower taxes and fewer regulations will prompt the billionaires nominated for your Cabinet to have not moved to create them already; maybe I’m wrong, but I keep reading that corporations are sitting on their profit-won cash, and layoffs continue in droves in many industries.
From your policies, it seems as if national parks may be closed or sold off, that clean air and water will be more endangered, that while the rest of the world is protecting itself against rising sea levels and the onset of serious drought, we’ll have gotten rid of all climate change effort altogether. We will have opened vast new areas for drilling and fracking, and the kind of earthquake-prone conditions we saw in Oklahoma will have spread across most of the continental U.S. Cities finding lead from rusted pipes will have quadrupled at least, and there still will be no plan in place to bring clean water.
I’ll be driving on roads paying tolls collected by Halliburton and other construction giants who underwrote the infrastructure improvements. Cars will be sold with one set of environmental equipment in California, but not in the rest of the country.
Minimum wages will still be there, of course, but unmoved in four years. There will be more jobs, but more at minimum wage. And there will be robots introduced under the name of new technology, further endowed by tax policy. Meanwhile the stock market indices will be through new highs set each year, further enriching an endowed class who have been paying a tiny percentage of the taxes that I do. My Social Security will be in place, but not that for my children. Nor will they be able to count on pensions beyond their personal savings, which they’ve been paying out for annual health coverage.
Is it clear that the rich will be richer and their numbers increased, that business fraud will rise, that poverty will grow, and that government as we know it has been destroyed?
I’d like to know exactly where America has been Made Great, and how we got there.