Trump’s America of Total Chaos and Lies10/15/20
Trump’s America of Total Chaos and Lies
For 3.5 years we have lived in president Trump’s America. We know he lives in the alternative reality he knows best, but since the Covid-19 pandemic hit, it has been total chaos:
President Trump Proved Himself Unable to Lead in an Emergency
Because the president lied to the American people from mid-January to mid-March we have a pandemic that has killed nearly 200,000 people. Behind this number are 200,000 American families who could not be with their loved one who was dying. Many more Americans survived the virus with serious medical damages. The president was told in January that this was a deadly virus with a mortality rate between 3-4% (the yearly flu mortality rate is less than 0.1%). The coronavirus or Covid-19 spreads through air droplets emanating from the mouths of infected people or asymptomatic people (who are not suffering from and do not know that they are infected). After publicly saying that this was nothing to worry about and that the virus would be gone by April, Trump refused to lead the country from the White House, telling state governors they were responsible for dealing with Covid-19. He also refuses to wear a mask and does not follow the advice of the medical community. Fewer people would have died if immediate action had been taken in January. He now claims that he lied because he did not want to panic people. To most of us he showed that he was unfit to be president.
50 million Americans Lost their Jobs - More Federal Help May Be In the Works
The House passed on May 12 the $3 trillion HEROS Act providing $1 trillion to states to continue paying first responders; to establish a hazard pay fund for first responders; to support free testing, contact tracing and treatment; to support the unemployed with a second round of direct payments; to protect payroll allowing 60 million Americans to remain on their companies’ payroll and receive benefits, and to ensure worker safety in all workplaces.
Trump enabler Mitch McConnell, the Senate majority leader, said the country could not afford to give away more money. The Senate refused to discuss the HEROS Act for two months before submitting a counter offer of $650 billion, which the Democrats opposed as too little. Most economists, including Trump’s Federal Reserve chairman, believe that we must spend as much as needed to get back on our feet.
A bipartisan group of 50 House members have worked hard on a compromise, with the result yet to be determined.
The State of the US Economy
President Trump falsely claims that the economy has done extremely well during his presidency. The Obama Administration encountered the worst economic crisis since the Great Depression of 1930 when they took office. A few months later they worked with Congress, passing a massive stimulus package to jump-start the economy. Vice President Biden oversaw the stimulus spending, and the gross national product (GDP) grew 2-3% every year until Trump took office. The GDP continued to grow at the same rate under Trump.
The pandemic has caused an equally big blow to the US economy. About 900,000 workers filed for unemployment mid-September. Nearly as many self-employed and gig workers filed for Pandemic Unemployment Assistance. We are back in the Great Depression hole, and Trump and Republican senators do not seem to care about digging us out. They are just saying we cannot afford to spend more money, partly due to the big tax break they engineered for the wealthiest Americans in 2017.
Another reason to reject Trump in November is that he plans to cut back Social Security payments and reign in Medicare and Medicaid in the next term to pay for that tax break.
Biden has announced that he will raise $3.8 trillion over 10 years of which 72% will come from those earning above $400,000, with the corporate tax rate for companies rising from 21% to 28%. He is trying to undo the “…least defensible giveaways in the 2017 tax cuts… while preserving parts of that law that broadened the tax base.” (Washington Post editorial of September 14.) Historically, the GDP has grown about 1.6 times faster and private jobs 2.5% faster under Democratic administrations, according to Alan Blinder and Mark Watson of Princeton University in 2016.
10 Million People Lost Their Health Insurance Due to the Pandemic
The Robert Wood Johnson Foundation estimates that by the end of the year about 10 million will have lost their health insurance. (This is in addition to about 27 million people that lacked health insurance altogether and that ACA never reached.) If you include family members perhaps as many as 27 million have lost their health insurance (Kaiser Family Foundation). Trump’s response is the 11-year-old Republican mantra – we intend to kill the Affordable Care Act (ACA or Obama Care). When such a Republican bill was last voted on in Congress, Senator John McCain voted no with the Democrats, which killed the bill. Trump’s renewed threat to kill the ACA in the middle of a pandemic is terribly cruel. It will make many more reluctant to seek help, if they are infected, make the infection deadlier and increase the chaos for us all. For 11 years Republicans have said they will come up with an alternative, better plan. Trump is saying it now as well. No such plan has ever been presented to the public.
Biden has said that he will improve on the ACA and reduce the rates. He has also suggested that those over 50 should be able to buy into Medicare and Medicaid.
Trump Believes That We Still Live in George Wallace’s America of the 1960’s and Spreads Racial Panic Instead of National Reconciliation
Early dog whistles have become truly racist remarks despite the fact that 65% of Americans of all colors support Black Lives Matter and believe in social justice. Fearmongering has become a staple of Trump’s rallies.
Lies and more fearmongering about a Biden’s America have become an oft repeated Trump tirade. He talks about a leftist Democrat conspiracy. What about Trump’s own leftist conspiracy with Russia’s leader, Vladimir Putin, once a KGB agent for 17 years? Many American Russia specialists believe that Putin considers Trump “a useful idiot”, if not a Russian agent. This is also the opinion of Trump’s former director of National Intelligence, Daniel Coats. Last week, a whistleblower from the Department of Homeland Security claimed that he was told by the White House in May “to cease providing intelligence assessments on the threat of Russian interference in the US and instead start reporting on interference activities from China and Iran.” (Washington Post editorial of September 12)
Catastrophic Wildfires Along the Whole West Coast
President Trump still believes that Climate Change is a hoax and that the wildfires would not happen with better forest management. Last year, he elaborated and said the Forest Service should rake the forest floor! Scientists believe that the higher temperatures caused by Climate Change in the dry summer months are increasing the fire risk and adding months to the fire season. Portland, Oregon reported the worst air quality in the US last week.
Joe Biden announced in July that his plan to spend $2 trillion over four years will increase the use of clean energy in the transportation, electricity and building sectors. This would create new jobs and strengthen our infrastructure while reducing our reliance on fossil fuels and battling Climate Change.
The election on November 3 will give us a chance to elect Joe Biden who can restore our belief in the results a good leader can affect from the presidential bully pulpit of the White House. Biden’s ascension to the presidency would also assure us that we still live in a democracy governed by our Constitution and the laws of the land. Along with his vice president, Kamala Harris, Biden will be the leader to lead us out of the abyss of the Covid-19 epidemic and back to a more normal life following the advice of our epidemiologists.
Lena Gill is a board member of the Talbot County Democratic Forum. She writes from Easton.
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