I find it somewhat unsettling that public discourse and media discussion all too often center on investigations, scandals, impeachment, Trump’s latest tweet, etc., to the exclusion of critically important issues facing this country, whether they be domestic or international in nature. While I do not believe that certain revelations regarding the president are unimportant, I simply think there are decisions being made and consequential policies put in place, of which the American people are unaware, partly due to the endless analysis of Trump’s legal issues. There needs to be more balanced reporting and discussion on cable news and more interest and curiosity shown by all Americans regarding the degree to which Trump is negatively impacting our great country and its citizens.
Having observed the president for over two years, I would like to briefly review some of his stated beliefs and pertinent decisions he has made all of which have been for the good of the American people, or so he would have us believe.
Following are a few examples of Trump’s views or actions relating to domestic issues:
Tax reform: The overwhelming beneficiaries of the recently enacted tax legislation are the corporations and wealthiest Americans. Any positive effect for the middle class or lower income groups appears to be minimal at best. Trump sold this as a decrease in taxes for all Americans.
Health care: Trump was in favor of the attempt to repeal the Affordable Care Act (Obamacare) with no plan for replacement. Millions of Americans would have been negatively impacted had this passed. “Nobody knew health care could be so complicated,” was Trump’s only comment at the conclusion of this process.
Environment: Trump has weakened previously enacted restrictions on harmful practices, which were having an adverse effect on the environment. The result of easing these restrictions is the resumption of fracking, offshore drilling, open space decimation and lenient automobile emission standards to name a few. In addition, early in his tenure, Trump withdrew the United States from the Paris Climate Agreement, leading one to believe that he has little interest in the dire need to address climate issues for the good of future generations.
Immigration: Although comprehensive immigration reform is needed, Congress has seemingly been hesitant to delve into the issue for many years. This fact gave Trump an opening not only during his campaign, but as president, to speak of immigrants and treat them (and their children) in a deplorable manner. Trump’s stance on the acceptance of immigrants, Muslims or refugees into the United States is one area, among many, that highlights his insensitivity and his penchant for inciting hate.
Infrastructure: The infrastructure in the United States is far from what it should be. Experts have expressed their concerns related to deteriorating roads, bridges, dams, etc. Trump indicated that he would make it a priority to enhance public transportation on various levels. As it turns out, however, he is so obsessed with his wall that he essentially has indicated that he wanted infrastructure issues to become the responsibility of individual states. To say this thinking is flawed is an understatement.
Drug prices: Those of us who take prescription drugs realize that drug prices in the United States remain exceedingly high. As an example, 30 million Americans suffer from diabetes and 86 million are prediabetic. Over the past six years, the price of insulin has increased by a huge margin. One may recall Trump’s statement in his initial State of the Union address that one of his key objectives was lowering drug prices. As we have not heard of any progress being made in this area, perhaps this would be a good time for him to use his self-proclaimed superior negotiating skills with the pharmaceutical companies in order to benefit average Americans.
Medicare and Social Security: In his budget for 2020, it appears Trump intends to make cuts to these two programs. Weakening these popular programs upon which the great majority of senior citizens depend would be disastrous. His insensitivity knows no bounds.
Internationally, Trump’s judgment is equally questionable. I will mention a few examples:
Trump withdrew the United States from the Paris Climate Agreement, which has been mentioned above. The United States is now the only major country that is not part of an important plan to address global climate change. He also withdrew United States support for the Iran Agreement, which was intended to deter Iran from developing nuclear weapons. China, France, Russia, the United Kingdom and Germany remain committed to the agreement.
Trump has consistently been severely critical of the European Union and has had difficult dealings and relationships with its leaders. He is currently threatening to withdraw the United States from NATO. There is a dangerous aspect to the lack of diplomacy displayed by Trump and his administration.
Inexplicably, Trump appears to admire autocratic leaders of countries that historically have not been a friend of the United States.
I continue to be amazed that Trump himself and the majority of people with whom he surrounds himself are simply unqualified for the positions they hold. Many have proven not only to be incompetent but dishonest as well. The high turnover within his staff and cabinet speaks for itself.
I question whether Trump is aware or cares that the respect for and the reputation of the United States has suffered under his leadership. Very early in his leadership, I determined, as did many Americans, that there is just one focus for Donald Trump and that is himself.
Martin J. Fischer is a progressive independent who enthusiastically looks to a future when this great country has recovered from the Trump presidency.