In President Trump’s first address to Congress (read off a teleprompter) questions arise as to whether his words do match up with his proposed actions.
Do his populist words of championing the little guy and the working class, reduce the federal bureaucracy, drain the swamp, match his actions?
In his speech, Trump announced plans to create a new government agency: VOICE or Victims of Immigration Crime Engagement tasked with deporting “undocumented criminals.”
No specification as to what kinds of criminals are included: jaywalkers, suspected criminals, visa violators, people with misdemeanors, or just violent, convicted felons.
This expansion of government bureaucracy after promising to shrink it for the purpose of going after criminal illegals — despite Department of Justice’s report that immigrants have lower crime rates than the native-born population — disconnects his words from his deeds.
In fact, his agents are fracturing families; rounding up and detaining the undocumented en masse without respect to criminal convictions; detaining people at borders with valid visas and green cards under the theory that they may be planning criminal acts based on their connection to Islamic-majority countries and also based on brownish skin color, clothing style, use of Arabic expressions or language.
Mohammad Ali’s ex-wife and their son, both American-born citizens, were detained at the Atlanta airport after returning from the Caribbean and separately questioned about their religion, as if Islam would predict criminal intentions aimed at their fellow Americans.
Could such actions be harbingers of President Trump’s approach to immigration reform and diversity?
President Trump announced his intention to invest trillions in our crumbling infrastructure: he didn’t specify if he will direct money to our compromised water supply, deteriorating roadways, high speed rail transportation, crumbling bridges or to his rich contractor friends to build a 2,000 mile wall to stop Mexicans and other undesirables from access to southern USA, so they can find other means of access from Canada or the Pacific coast, tunnels, or uncharted air flights. He proposes to fund this investment in infrastructure by providing $3 trillion of tax breaks to Wall Street and large corporations; the top 1 percent; although both plans sound like huge financial drain holes and are counter-intuitive.
He proposes to increase Pentagon funding, an already bloated government bureaucracy, by $54 billion in 1 ½ years by slashing programs that help the elderly, the poor, the sick, the working class and children.
This, despite the U.S. spending more on defense (some say offense) than the next 12 countries combined; despite the U.S. General Accounting Office having described a waste of $125 billion in the defense bureaucracy.
He said American corporations pay the highest tax rates in the world, so he wants to lower their tax rates.
But, according to the GAO, one of five corporations pay zero in federal tax (like Mr. Trump, as he admitted on the record) because corporations are stashing cash in the Cayman Islands and other tax-free offshore havens.
This costs $100 billion a year in revenue loss for the U.S. Treasury.
He spoke about his plan to cancel the Affordable Care Act-Obamacare and replace it with another plan that allows subscribers more choice of out-of-state providers; low income (non)taxpayers will be able to deduct the price of their premiums form their income tax?
Instead of receiving government subsidies as in Obamacare; the elderly will pay more for coverage from their fixed incomes?
Such a plan eliminates coverage for the elderly unable to afford premiums from their fixed income pensions and low- wage workers whose incomes are too little to make use of a health insurance deduction.
Additionally, the President thinks of eliminating Planned Parenthood, a major health care provider for poor women; make major cuts in Medicaid funding; and, just maybe, privatize Medicare; a boon for health insurance companies and bad news for seniors on fixed incomes and low-income wage earners.
I wonder if the President heard of the 150 Town Hall rallies held across the country; held by Republicans and Democrats; that should have sent him a message loud and clear to not repeal Obamacare; and not to transfer more wealth to health insurance companies.
I think health care is a right; not a privilege, for just those who can pay. Coverage should be a guaranteed right for everyone in the country; rich or poor or in-between.
What about the famed Trumpian narcissism (a malignant variety as described by the chief medical officer in psychiatry at Harvard Medical School) when he referred to the number of minutes on the applause meter for his highlighting the weeping widow, Karen Owens, whose Navy Seal husband was killed in an adventuristic attack in Yemen.
It has been reported that the President decided to approve the attack at dinner with his son-in-law, Kushner, and chief political advisor, Bannon, days before the go-ahead; then the President blamed the debacle on the Obama administration and said, contrary to military reports, that the mission was a success.
What wasn’t mentioned in his address were questions about his indebtedness to Russian money-lenders and their influence on the President’s policy making favorable to Russia; such as supporting more European Brexits in France, Germany, Greece and the weakening of NATO.
No mention about criminal justice reform in a country with 2 million-plus inmates, mostly of color, and are incarcerated for drug offenses and lack of money to pay for appropriate legal defense.
No word about America’s massive income wealth inequality in which the middle class and the poor continue to race to the bottom of the income barrel.
No reference to voter suppression by Republican state legislators and governors to make it harder for young people, people of color, seniors and low income people to vote.
No word about spring’s early arrival and the need to address climate change. In New York, spring has come 22 days early.
No word about Citizen’s United rule giving power to the moneyed elites to buy elections.
No word about the need to lower the cost of college education or the crisis of student debt that can linger over one’s entire working life.
No reference to his approach of taking on Wall Street and draining the swamp by populating his cabinet and inner circle with white billionaires.
Trump appointed Gary Cohen, former President of Goldman Sachs, who was fined millions for his illegal financial activities.; Betty DeVoss, who proposes to redirect education funds from public schools to support private schools; thus removing resources from public education and thereby providing less to students from poor or immigrant families.
This looks like plans to
a. supersize our national debt;
b. disenfranchise large swaths of voters;
c. favor the continued enrichment of the richest Americans who need for nothing;
d. make an enemy of the purveyors of news that report on government and military activity;
e. disfavor the working class;
f. give more power to the most powerful military on the globe;
g. disregard climate change;
h. allow for continued pollution of the air and water supply;
i. throw millions of people out of the country
What hope does President Trump’s platforms give for optimism for the American future way of life?