Fricke column: Trump’s pitch to waste trillions
Surprisingly, Donald Trump’s presidential address to Congress Tuesday was quite presidential. His delivery and behavior were respectable. For the most part, Trump’s speech was a pep rally of his agenda with the Republicans cheering obnoxiously in the House chamber.
I don’t have the room to review Trump’s entire speech, but I will cover a few important areas.
I have to give Trump snaps for not destroying Obamacare entirely. Trump’s health insurance plan is yet to be introduced and has lots of unknowns at this point. The most important question is whether these changes result in affordable premiums and lower deductibles.
Trump’s protectionist trade policies are commendable, but can they be real? I have always advocated for protecting American jobs and increasing wages, as Trump proposes. Getting other countries to go along with new fair trade agreements will be a monumental task.
Trump is proposing to spend $1 trillion rebuilding America’s infrastructure. He boasted that this project would create millions of jobs. He indicated that this proposal would be a public-private hybrid. American taxpayers should not pay one dime toward this program. America’s tax-dodging corporations should pay for it all.
I still have a problem with Trump’s proposal to build a large wall on the Mexican border. The latest cost estimates that I have seen are now $21.5 billion, and it will take three and half years to build. Mexico’s president is now having trade talks with China, as I predicted. America could lose one of its great trade partners. America could suffer major economic repercussions as a result of this wall.
If Trump wants to soften his approach on immigration, he needs to fire the people at the Department of Homeland Security who recommend using the National Guard or other military units to assist with arrests and deportations. Fortunately, there has been political push-back on this effort. I was pleased to see that our local law enforcement agencies are cool to helping with immigration enforcement.
Trump is duplicating President Obama’s deportation policies. Obama deported more than 3 million immigrants at a cost of billions of taxpayer dollars. Any immigration reform right now needs a careful and fair review process. All deportations should be halted unless they are dangerous criminals. The hard-working Latino immigrants and their families deserve a break.
I have a problem with Trump approving the Keystone XL and Dakota Access pipelines. Trump wants to roll back regulations on coal mining. America’s water supplies will be in danger of major contamination.
Trump proposes to increase the Department of Defense spending by $54 billion. Congress has budgeted more than $600 billion for military spending for several years. The DOD needs a long-overdue audit. Recent reports reveal that the DOD has wasted $125 billion over a five-year period just on bureaucracy. Plus, the F-35 is a trillion dollar mistake. Trump’s request should be rejected.
Trump’s personal lavish lifestyle is going to cost American taxpayers a fortune. Trump has been in office six weeks and has already spent $10 million in taxpayer money for his travel to his winter White House at Mar-a-Lago in Florida. Extra costs are associated with the Coast Guard to guard the waterfronts near Mar-a-Lago.
Whatever happened to Camp David?
Protection services for the Trumps are very costly. It costs $500,000 a day to protect the Trump Tower in Manhattan. At the current pace, Trump and family will far outspend former President Obama on personal activities and travel. For example, Eric Trump visited Uruguay on business recently and security cost $100,000 charged to the American taxpayers. Eric Trump is not officially employed by his father’s administration.
The Department of Defense and the Secret Service are spending $1.5 million a year renting one of the floors in Trump Tower for protection services. Since Trump did not divest himself of Trump Tower, he will make a healthy profit from the federal government. This is a big conflict of interest and violates the Constitution.
Overall, Trump’s speech was a giant sales pitch to Congress and the nation to waste trillions of taxpayer dollars. Trump’s proposals were all hype with few details. We all know that “Let’s Make America Great Again” was a sales pitch filled with bogus promises.
Since Trump doesn’t pay his taxes, why should we? Trump and his billionaire Cabinet are a daily violation of the American people’s trust.
Randy Fricke lives in New Castle. He is an environmental advocate and a political activist. He is the author of: “If I Were President/Saving Main Street America.”
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