Friday, February 16, 2018

Trump, Unmasked

My next newspaper column, sent in with too little time to address the latest mass murder. But Trump sent condolences, so it's all okay.
Based on emails I get, hardcore Trumpists are as impenetrable by facts as concrete by feathers. Either they enjoy being lied to, or they wouldn’t recognize a lie if it blackened their eyes. For everyone else, it’s incontestable: Trump’s campaign promises were free-floating falsehoods. Emailers insist he’s never lied, that he saved the economy after Obama crashed the excellent one he inherited. Which tells you everything.  
This isn’t about stupid lies, like the number of people at his inauguration, where the US ranks in taxation, how much tax reform will cost him, or voter fraud. This is about Trump’s lie-revealing, just-released budget, affecting millions of Americans, many of whom voted for him, inexplicably believing a man whose career was one of cheating, lawsuits, scams, and failures would be truthful and manage his office competently. 
Lies like protecting Medicare and Social Security. Like assuring us The Wall is indispensable and Mexico would pay for it. Like claiming he’ll never run a four-hundred-billion-dollar deficit. Promising to eliminate the federal debt (not the deficit: the twenty-trillion-dollar debt!) in eight years. Really, Trumpists? Now that we’ve seen his impossible budget, the mendacity is clear. Except to dead-enders, who, one assumes, consider arithmetic fake news.  
Trump’s proposal has the same chance of becoming law as I do of replacing Alex Jones on Infowars. Since a ten-page document directly affecting national security was too long for Donald to read, we know he had little if anything to do with producing it. But whether it was shown to him in pictures or highlights read to him with big words removed, he bestowed upon it his imprimatur. Presumably then, it represents his priorities. 
Like the Republican tax plan that’s already law, Trump takes the deficit, after Obama reduced by two-thirds the one Bush left him, to over a trillion for 2018. Using unrealistically optimistic predictions coming from the White House, which claim sustained economic growth fifty-percent higher than it’s practically ever been, the deficit would still be over four-hundred-billion ten years from now. According to economists using projections grounded in reality, it’d be around two trillion. 
How many Trumpophiles who raged at Obama’s (steadily decreasing) deficits will excuse Trump’s budgetary carnage? Or care they’ve been duped. How many understand why this is exactly the wrong time for such lop-sided tax cuts?  
Disagreements between liberals and conservatives about the role of government should, in theory, make for workable middle-ground legislation. Conservatives, though, claim social safety nets are abused by practically all recipients. Trumpists love cutting food stamps. Do they know it hurts military families along with their usual targets? Probably they’re fine with cutting housing assistance. But Medicare, Social Security? Even conservatives use Medicaid. The National Weather Service? Hanford cleanup? No concerns? Millions cut from gun-purchase background-checks: perfect timing. Condolences, though.  
What about people who believed Trump’s promises to return lost jobs? Okay with eliminating programs for displaced workers, neighborhood reinvestment, cutting mining safety regulations? Climate change research, sure: it’s a hoax. But the Chemical Safety Board? Legal services? Do no broke Trumpists need lawyers? Okay, cutting NPR, PBS, DOE, NEA makes sense: enlightened voters frighten Republicans. 
America already spends more on defense than the next dozen countries combined, but there’s a huge bump for the Pentagon, which can’t keep the F-35 flying. Billions for The Wall, naturally, paying for which amounts to giving a cookie to a child throwing a tantrum in aisle five. These aren’t the priorities that made America great.  
Remember that “only the best people” whopper? White House personnel turn over like tilled soil. Indictments, criminal behavior, ethics violations. Housing expert Carson gives a fat no-bid contract to his daughter-in-law. Zinke and Pruitt charge us for their fancies (the VA Secretary lies about his wife’s), while announcing they won’t enforce pollution laws. DeVos won’t enforce civil rights rules. Sessions plans to incarcerate more pot-smokers in private prisons whose stock he owns. Trump endorses sex predators, defends violent abusers, Kelley lies about when they knew. 
To anyone with a corpus callosum, Trump’s deceits scream out. Mismanagement, detachment, disinterest in new information, and now, a budget proposal designed further to enrich the wealthy and punish (and poison) those who, it makes sure, never will be. 
And Russia. Don’t forget Russia. The truth is out there.  
As to Trump’s promised infrastructure plan, well, we’ll cross that bridge when we get to the toll booth.    
[Image source]

1 comment:

  1. "And Russia. Don’t forget Russia. The truth is out there."

    How prophetic.


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