For Trump, The Price is Right

When all the ballots are finally counted, Donald Trump will lose the popular vote by almost 3 million, but still win the Electoral College - and the election - on the strength of surprisingly strong support from middle-age rust-belt “patriots” in three critical states: Wisconsin, Michigan and Pennsylvania.  Left behind by a shifting economy and threatened by a fast progressing society, these working-class whites are in for quite a surprise.  Not only has Trump made promises he has no intention of keeping, but the sense of collective support Americans have come to depend upon since the inception of the New Deal is now threatened with extinction. 

When all the ballots are finally counted, Donald Trump will lose the popular vote by almost 3 million, but still win the Electoral College - and the election - on the strength of surprisingly strong support from middle-age rust-belt “patriots” in three critical states: Wisconsin, Michigan and Pennsylvania.  Left behind by a shifting economy and threatened by a fast progressing society, these working-class whites are in for quite a surprise.  Not only has Trump made promises he has no intention of keeping, but the sense of collective support Americans have come to depend upon since the inception of the New Deal is now threatened with extinction.  

No matter what Trump has said, well-paid manufacturing jobs - lost mainly to technological change, not imports - are not coming back.  Within the next decade, robots will dominate the industrial landscape, not only here, but worldwide.  In addition, as Trump places anti-labor, pro-corporate billionaires in key government positions, we are about to witness an array of cuts severely limiting entitlement programs put in place by Democrats over these last eighty years.  This includes: Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid, and unemployment compensation; Supplemental Security Income for the disabled; Temporary Assistance for Needy Families; and Supplemental Nutrition Assistance (food stamps), subsidized school lunches, and the Children's Health Insurance Program. 

Donald Trump and the Republican Party believe in ideological governance.   Anything that can’t be put into the pockets of the wealthy, or the corporate entities they own, must be attacked, gutted and left for dead. Under President Trump and a GOP Congress, we are going to see a sweeping repudiation of liberal-democratic governance, and an end to the guarantees of the New Deal and the Great Society. Those blue-state and middle-class Americans who thought that a dramatic change of government would result in greater opportunity and more money in their pockets are in for a rude awakening.  

Trump has selected Tom Price, Republican Chairman of the House Budget Committee, as his Secretary of Health and Human Services. The choice of Price is significant!  He is a fierce critic of Obamacare, bent on its destruction; he intends to radically alter and privatize Medicare; he plans to amend the formula for Social Security, raising the qualifying age and reducing benefits; and he promises to drastically cut entitlement programs for the working poor, which will significantly increase the hunger, ill health, and homelessness of Americans and American families who’ve fallen on hard times. 

Affiliated with the Tea Party movement, Price is a staunch opponent of abortion, a gun rights fanatic, and steadfastly opposes LGBT rights. He’s voted against legislation requiring insurance plans to cover contraception; co-sponsored a bill to repeal Washington, D.C.’s ban on semiautomatic weapons and its requirement of gun owner registration; and voted against a bill to prohibit workplace discrimination against Americans based on their sexual orientation. Price has also voted to constitutionally define marriage as being solely between a man and a woman.

Price, a retired physician, is also an influential member of the ultra-conservative Association of American Physicians and Surgeons (AAPS), which believes that HIV does not cause AIDS, that being gay reduces life expectancy, that there is a link between abortion and breast cancer, and that there are links between autism and vaccinations.  The Association opposes a woman’s right to choose, opposes Medicare and Medicaid, opposes universal health care, and opposes government involvement in any form of health care.

Important to note, the social safety net of the United States is not simply made up of welfare programs designed to protect low-income Americans from poverty and hardship.  It is also made up of Social Security and Medicare, programs specifically designed to protect retirees.  After 30 years or so of working for an employer, most retirees could have expected to be rewarded for their loyalty and hard work with a monthly check lasting the length of their retirement. No more!  With the tremendous rise in power of corporate America and the demise of unions, those steady checks, funded by the employer’s defined-benefit plan, have become a thing of the past.  

Social safety net programs are meant to support older Americans and poorer Americans with a minimum standard of living.  With major cuts to Social Security and Medicare benefits, seniors will never be able to retire, and many will eventually succumb to ill health.   And with major cuts in programs for the poor and vulnerable, starvation, homelessness and criminality are just around the corner. 

Putting a few extra bucks in the pockets of the rich, on the backs of the underprivileged, the aging, and the disabled, is not the America I grew up to revere.  But for Trump, the Price is right!

 

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  • published this page in Blog 2016-12-17 12:34:59 -0500