By Gerry Barker
March 27, 2017
After only 63 days, U.S. President Donald Trump has faced two defeats as he rushed to fulfill his promises to his supporters. They were the ones that he promised to get their manufacturing and coal mining jobs back.
He promised to protect the country from radical Muslim attacks by ordering travel bans from countries where the majority are Muslims. Two bills have been challenged in the courts. He promised to build a wall between Mexico and the U.S. to stop the “criminals and rapists” from entering the country. He promised that Mexico would pay for it. He promised to deport the estimated “bad” illegal immigrants to their home countries.
Maybe it’s not the right time to take off the training wheels.
Last Friday, his promise to repeal The Affordable Care Act (ACA), aka Obamacare, and replace it with a better plan that was to cost less and be run by the states. It failed before the vote occurred in the U.S. House of Representatives.
He promised to do all this in the first 100 days in office.
His attempt to destroy the rights of all citizens to affordable health care died as the Republican-dominated House of Representatives did not have enough votes to pass the bill. Speaker Paul Ryan pulled it off the table. The bill included tax breaks for the upper two per cent of the U.S. population the cancelling of federal support of Planned Parenthood and would leave 24 million Americans without federal supported healthcare by 2026. Some 14 million would have been affected in 2018 according to the independent Congressional Budget Office (CBO).
But most alarming was the virtual elimination of Medicaid, the last support of millions who required medical attention, because, the individual states would now be responsible. What may work in California will not work in Mississippi. It illustrates the need for a National healthcare plan that allocates recourses to those states where there is need. Finally, no matter where you live or move in the U.S., the Federal umbrella will cover you.
America is the last in providing universal health care to its citizens
Yes, it is creeping toward universal healthcare for 325 million Americans. The U.S. is the only country in the G20 of countries with the top economic power in the world that does not have universal, single-payer health coverage.
Following the bill’s failure, Trump did not admit the defeat was a loss. Instead, he blamed the Democrat minority in the House for the defeat saying they own Obamacare that remains as the law of the land. Four times he said that Obamacare would “explode” and be a disaster, harrumphed Trump.
But here is the truth. Trump not only fails to understand his job but also has little knowledge how the U.S. government works. He fails to know the party he leads. It is composed of factions that worked fine when in opposition. The House of Representatives voted more than 140 times to repeal Obamacare in the past seven years with each attempt either dying in the Senate or being vetoed by President Obama.
The so-called ultra right-wing Freedom Caucus of the Republican majority in the House was chiefly responsible for derailing their own party’s bill. It marks the differences that exist within the GOP (Grand Old Party) the party of Abraham Lincoln, Ronald Reagan and, did I mention, Richard Nixon?
It is convenient and easy for Trump to blame the Democrats for the failure of his lousy statute that came within a few votes to become law. But Trump’s arrogance and a willful House Speaker, Paul Ryan, were confident they had the votes without the Democrats who were obviously not in favour of the Republican American Care Act (ACA).
Here’s another historical tid-bit. The cost of Canada’s universal, simgle-payer health care system, averages, per person, just half that of the the U.S. system. The U.S. plan does not cover all its citizens, is frequently described as the finest medical system in the world … that is if you can afford or access it.
When you believe you are omnipotent, failure will magnify incompetence
Even the most ardent Trump supporters must now question their president’s ability to fulfill his wide range of promises made during the campaign. It is obvious that his so-called business acumen does not easily translate into running the world’s largest economic and military power.
Remember during his rallies that he said he knew more than the Generals, then turned around and hired four of them for his cabinet. General Flynn was dismissed early in the term.
His inability to understand his job and how his government works will haunt him for his term in office if he survives. He will discover that insulting and threatening your friends and allies will not work and only diminishes the reputation of a great country and people.
I call it impeach creep
The man has neither conscience nor the ability to admit he made a mistake trying to placate his supporters with his reputation of being decisive. They believed Trump would “drain the swamp” of Washington bureaucracy. There are still 100’s of federal government management positions unfilled.
It has affected productivity across many federal goverment departments.
He has fought publicly his own intelligence services. He was forced to fire his National Security advisor, General Mike Flynn, for lying to Vice President Mike Pence, about contacts he made with the Russian Ambassador to the U.S.
His cabinet is loaded with millionaires, billionaires and generals. His Secretary of the Environment is an Oklahoman who doesn’t believe in climate change. His Health Secretary is Tom Price, a doctor and author of the ACA who has managed to alienate the American Association of Retired Persons, (AARP), the various doctor organizations, veteran’s and hospital organizations across the country.
The benefactors of this terrible bill were the Health Insurance Corporations who were salivating over passage of the bill. Such an event, if it had happened, would have pushed American healthcare back to the dark ages of the 50’s and 60’s. That’s when millions, particularly the disadvantaged and poor, could not afford health insurance and were dependent on Medicaid and the generosity of hospitals who had to scramble to raise money to pay for services to the non-insured.
He promised to renegotiate trade deals, especially the 30-year North America Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) in which Canada and Mexico along with the U.S. are partners. He keeps repeatedly calling it a disaster and it will be re-negotiated. He ignores the fact that Canada is America’s largest trading customer and the U.S. is Canada’s largest trade customer. He repeated the NAFTA disaster comment during a press conference with German Chancellor Angela Merkle as if she cared.
The guy is a legend in his own mind.
He has insulted the leaders of Britain, Germany, and the member nations of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization,(NATO). It is a 60-year mutual defence combine to prevent attacks on European nations as well as North America. He has accused the member nations of not paying their share, citing Germany as one of those failing to spend two per cent of Gross Domestic Product on defence. Canada is up to date in that regard.
He has promised to spend $58 billion to upgrade the military that he claims has been neglected and weakened under former President Barack Obama.
The man and his words
He is continuing to run a campaign of fear, loathing, insecurity, lies and unfulfilled promises.
And it’s not going to get any better.
In Canada, we can only wait and see how he attempts to destroy the world’s most effective free trade agreement. That’s not saying there are things that should be fixed including the softwood lumber agreement in which American lumber interests accuse Canada of dumping product at lower prices.
The U.S. wants access to our agriculture markets that are currently controlled by producer-operated Marketing Boards. These include milk, eggs, poultry, cheese, pork, beef, and grains.
These various Boards were originally designed to protect the interests of the producers of these products. The winners are obviously the producers. The problem is that it’s not so good for the Canadian consumer because the Boards control prices.
These are some of the obvious changes that will come up when Trump attempts to dismantle NAFTA.
The most dangerous proposal by Trump is to establish a border tax for non-American goods and products entering the U.S. Already cooler heads are saying such a move will drive up prices to U.S. consumers.
It won’t serve to create jobs that no longer exist in manufacturing or coal mining. It is due to technological change and reduction of coal usage to drive power generation across the country. Yet Trump continues to promise a return of those jobs.
Mr. Trump, I hope is a quick study and abandons the shallow promise of America First. His country has always been first. It’s just that he doesn’t care and creates these problems that incite a segment of society.
Impeachment is on the move. But it has to be generated by the congressional members within his own party.
If the GOP is smart, they will separate themselves from Trump and leave those who believe in him to function as the Trump Party.