With 304 days till the 2020 U.S. presidential election, it would benefit Americans who voted for Trump in 2016 to weigh what Trump says he has done for them against what he has done TO them. One of the key factors in Trump’s 2016 victory was the belief by a faction of working-class American voters that Donald Trump had their backs. In reality, Trump has been stabbing their backs while enriching corporations and the wealthy.
First, there was the promise that Trump would raise American workers’ wages. The average American family, he said, would see a $4,000 boost in its yearly income. If we adjust for inflation, however, that income boost has not happened. What’s more, the tax cuts he promised for middle-class families will end up causing those families to pay more taxes by 2027.
When they received their 2018 tax returns, many Americans were shocked to learn that instead of the tax refunds they were expecting, they owed the federal government. This was due to a little-publicized adjustment in the U.S. tax code that, if one wasn’t thoroughly in tune with little-publicized U.S. tax code adjustments, one would have missed. Though the change caused some people to have slightly more money in their paychecks during the year, Americans weren’t prepared for how the tiny “boon” would impact the tax refunds they’d become accustomed to.
While the average American will end up taking a beating as a result of Trump and the GOP’s tax legislation, corporations and wealthy Americans benefitted from $1.9 trillion in tax cuts. This in turn has raised our federal debt, and caused the GOP to threaten cuts to Medicare, Medicaid, and Social Security. Not to worry, though, because Trump promised that corporations would invest their savings from the tax cuts in order to benefit American workers. Instead of investing in jobs, pay raises, or work facilities, however, the corporations spent most of the money buying back shares of their own stock and increasing executive bonuses.
Trump pledged that he’d reduce the U.S. trade deficit “as fast as possible.” But since he took office, our trade deficit is at an all-time high. More than at any time in history, the U.S. now purchases more goods and services from the rest of the world than it sells abroad.
Trump also ran on the promise that he’d “drain the swamp” of “Washington insider” politicians and lobbyists. Instead, the swamp now overflows with his appointees, whom he’s put in charge of education, safety, health, and protection of the environment. Not only do most of them have little or no expertise in the areas they oversee, many of them blatantly push legislation that furthers their personal and financial interests, while harming or endangering most Americans. Examples include Education Secretary Betsy DeVos, who has opposed numerous regulations designed to protect and support public schools and their students, as well as victims of student loan and tuition fraud; and former EPA head Scott Pruitt, who reversed a number of regulations designed to protect the environment, while pandering to the entities (such as the fossil fuel industry) being regulated.
Rarely has the metaphor of the fox running the hen house been more appropriate than in the case of the Trump administration. Rarely have the hens been more willfully ignorant of their situation, or more ignorantly supportive of their own demise. If Americans who voted for Trump in 2016 really wanted to “drain the swamp,” they’d vote to run Donald Trump and his henchmen out of town in 2020.
Two years after Trump’s tax reform, middle-class incomes aren’t keeping up | CBS News [2019-12-31]
Dems Highlight Different Reality Despite Middle Class Despite Strong Market | Velshi & Ruhle | MSNBC [2020-01-02]