Sundin column: Trump is the ‘greatest’ con artist
Throughout his campaign for the presidency, Donald Trump repeatedly made many promises to the American people that got him elected: drain the Washington, D.C. swamp and get rid of the “alligators” that have been preying on us all, repeal “Obamacare” and replace it with his plan that he touted will give us the world’s best health care at a much lower cost, lower taxes for the working and middle classes, bring back coal-mining jobs and jobs from overseas, get government regulations off the back of businesses, and “Make America Great Again.” So how is he doing?
Instead of draining the swamp of the alligators, he has instead replaced them with bigger and meaner alligators. Trump’s Cabinet consists primarily of CEOs and billionaires, protecting their and Trump’s business interests. Many of them, for business or personal reasons, even oppose the purposes for which their Departments were established.
For example: Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos favors school vouchers over public schools; Secretary of Housing & Urban Development Ben Carson is a critic of anti-discrimination laws; Secretary of the Interior Ryan Zinke favors industry over environment, supports Arctic drilling, and is a climate-change skeptic; EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt sued the EPA 14 times while he was the Attorney-General of Oklahoma, has received over $200,000 in campaign contributions from the fossil-fuel industry, and rejects global warming science; Secretary of Energy Rick Perry has said that he favored abolishing the Department of Energy.
Trump’s health-care plan is geared to reducing the government’s cost by cutting health care for the elderly and the disabled, who are least able to afford it, with the “savings” being used to offset the loss of revenue from tax cuts for corporations and the wealthy. This is a far cry from his promise.
His promise to bring back lost coal-mining and overseas jobs will also remain unfulfilled. Demand for coal is in a steady decline because of the lower cost of natural gas, and critics have pointed out that some of the president’s programs are likely to have the opposite effect on overseas jobs.
President Trump’s and the Republican Party‘s tax-reform bill, which he praises as the “greatest tax cuts in history” is nothing more than a bait and switch job. These so-called greatest tax cuts are for corporations and the wealthy (including the inheritance tax), with the rest of us getting only the crumbs. The resulting multibillion dollar annual loss in revenue will be made up by a combination of cuts in health-care benefits and food stamps, and increases in the national debt, which means passing the bill on to the working people, who rightly feel that their interests are being ignored — a line that Trump pedaled during his election campaign.
Trump Republicans falsely claim that their tax cuts for corporations and the wealthy will boost the economy and raise working peoples’ incomes by (can you believe it?) $4,000 per year — the “trickle-down effect.” Are their memories so short that they don’t recall that they have already tried this twice before, and all it did was line the pockets of corporations and the wealthy and balloon the national debt.
A promise President Trump has kept is to roll back regulations on corporations, which he says are making American corporations less competitive and causing job losses. But most of those regulations were enacted to protect Americans from unsafe working conditions, unsafe products, impure air and drinking water, predatory financial practices, damage to the environment and global warming. A better way of making American corporations more competitive is to free them from the burden of providing health care for their employees by adopting a universal health-care plan — something provided by all other developed countries in the world.
Finally, what about Trump’s promise to “Make America Great Again”? His behavior is quite the opposite. He has lambasted NATO, alienated our allies (England and Germany, in particular), stirred up unrest in the Middle East by proclaiming Jerusalem to be the capital of Israel, abdicated from the Paris Climate Accord (making us the only non-participant among the United Nations’ 195 member nations), cozied up to unsavory characters like Vladimir Putin and Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte, and been outmaneuvered by Putin, China’s Xi Jinping and North Korea’s Kim Jong Un.
Three great con-artists in our history come to mind: P. T. Barnum (There’s a sucker born every minute), Charles Ponzi for his eponymous Ponzi-scheme and Donald Trump for his con-job on the American people which makes him the “Greatest.”
Hal Sundin’s As I See It appears on the first Thursday of the month.