Saturday, January 5, 2019
Evaluation Of Trump's First Half Term
written 29 December 2018
published 5 January 2019
Trump won the 2016 election with the support of a few wealthy individuals and major corporations, the Christian right, a disenfranchised white middle class, and the Russians. Two years into his term, we can evaluate how he has served those supporters, and at what cost to the rest of the country and the world.
The most significant legislative accomplishment was the tax cut, a primary goal of Trump's wealthy, corporate donors, reducing Federal taxes by $1.5 trillion over 10 years. While most taxpayers will experience some tax reduction, the primary beneficiaries are the top 1%. Corporate tax rates are reduced permanently, while individual reductions will expire over time. The Federal deficit will increase, but Republicans promised that the tax cut would "pay for itself" through increased economic growth.
The first half term saw the appointment of 85 conservative judges, including two to the Supreme Court, with a possible third, depending on the health of Justice Ginsberg. This is a goal of the Christian right, which wants to overturn Roe versus Wade abortion rights. But the new Supreme Court members also serve the wealthy and corporations, because they support the primacy of corporate rights over voter rights, thus furthering corporate domination in America.
As investigations continue, Russian influence in the 2016 election is becoming well documented. Trump has destabilized American alliances with Europe, and unilaterally decided to cede Syria to the Russians, abandoning our Kurdish allies. By constantly pushing the fake-news agenda, and questioning the integrity of votes, Trump has eroded trust in both a free press and the foundations of democracy. His tacit support for misogyny and racism nourish these parts of the American citizenry, building polarity and dissention. America's decline as a moral and strategic leader in the world furthers Russia's rise to dominance.
The only group of Trump supporters not already served in his first two years are the disenfranchised white middle class. Rather than "draining the swamp", he contributed to an ever more dysfunctional swamp of incompetence, corruption, and self-promotion. Rather than replacing Obama-Care with a promised "even better health care system", he has dismantled a system that was working, and replaced it with nothing. His promise to make better trade deals has replaced NAFTA with NAFTA-lite, which improved wages for Mexican workers. He started an ongoing trade war with China that burden the national and global economies, hitting American farmers hard. The tax cut that was supposed to make the economy boom, increased the deficit and enriched stockholders with stock buybacks, but work force layoffs continue and the stock market has already lost the value gained from the tax cut bump. His war on immigrants has weaponized the borders and terrorized children, but done little to address immigration. Instead of a "beautiful wall paid for by Mexico", he has shut down the government, demanding American taxpayers foot the bill.
By making good on his promise to kill the Iranian nuclear deal and applying sanctions, he destabilized the global oil supply, and drove Iran closer to China and Russia, accelerating the shift away from the dollar as a reserve currency.
He pulled out of the Paris Climate Accord, fulfilling his promise to promote "clean coal", but coal power is still uneconomical and continues to decline. Multi-billion dollar "natural" disasters are increasing every year, yet climate change deniers are in every level of this administration. Only America, Russia, Kuwait, and Saudi Arabia withheld support for the latest climate accord, even though the Pentagon is on record stating climate change is a matter of national security.
In summary, few people have benefited from this presidency. The white middle class is beginning to have buyer's remorse, as this economy isn't helping them, and even the very wealthy are beginning to worry about the stability of the global economy. Christians rooting for abortion repeal are discovering their kids are concerned about climate change and being good stewards to the Earth. Trump may have begun his campaign to enhance his brand net worth, but must now have regrets as investigations are getting to the core of his businesses and family. The rest of us had regrets on election night. The only winner seems to be Russia.