It is being reported that Donald Trump’s decision to impose tariffs on foreign steel and aluminum imports was the result of another instance of his mental and emotional instability, becoming “angry” and “unglued” after another round of bad news, such as his model/security blanket Hope Hicks leaving him after admitting to a Congressional committee that she had told “white lies” on his behalf, and having admitted that felt an early exit was in her best interest. “Gunning for a fight,” Trump decided that starting a trade war that will be “easy to win” would upset a lot of people right now. He likes “conflict,” but most observers are calling it “chaos.” Trump didn’t vet this decision for common sense; he just wants to get “even” like any petulant schoolyard bully. Meanwhile, Jeff Sessions is in California doing the same, performing his racist madman act before a local law enforcement convention.
To add to this insanity, many economists are predicting a recession next year, and Trump’s tax cuts and proposed tariffs will likely make it more likely to happen. I would agree that it would be “nice” if this country was “self-sufficient” and made everything it needs for its own consumers, but this has never been the reality; trade is as old as human civilization. If prices on steel and aluminum go up for everyday products, low-income people (which basically encompasses all household incomes below the median) will likely purchase fewer such products. If other countries decide to “retaliate,” the end result might be limited to particularly targeted industries in which there will inevitably be job losses—or the disruption could spread like a virus across the global economic spectrum. Whatever the result is, it won’t be “good” for a lot of people.
Other issues to consider: It certainly isn’t a “bad” thing for wages to go up, but economists worry that paying for those wage increases (we have already been “paying” for the enormous incomes of the top one percent) depends on greater spending both here and in trade, and every time Trump tweets some nonsense things just seem to become less certain. Without that easing of the pressure on companies’ bottom lines, inflation, cutting back on inventory and subsequent job cuts are sure to follow.
And then what? The tax cuts for businesses should have been accompanied by slight increases in income taxes on the top one percent. What are businesses using their tax cuts for? Most are not investing in their companies or workers, but giving it away to shareholders and to greedy executives (meaning to themselves). Not only that, because of the decrease in revenue, this country will face the largest budget deficits by percentage of GDP since World War II—and this is supposed to be “peacetime,” although you’d hardly tell by all the hate and division that Trump has deliberately inflamed for the benefit of his racist base. And when that recession comes, what do you think Trump and Paul Ryan will do? They will follow the Herbert Hoover model of contempt for working people, and watch in immoral glee as millions are forced to fend for themselves and their families (but will Ryan’s family “fortune,” dependent on federal contracts, feel the “pain” too?). Trump and most Republicans wants to gut social safety net programs to “pay” for their mistakes, and Ryan wants to gut Medicare and Medicaid so that “unfit” to live people will die-off quicker. What do you think of that?
Unfortunately, Trump loves his new “reality” show so much that he is already campaigning for 2020. He’s even sending out “feelers” to judge the electorate’s mood on certain subjects, via a survey that is unsubtle to say the least. Do you feel safer from terrorists attacks under President Trump’s leadership? (No) Are you optimistic about the new direction of our economy? (No) Have you seen your economic life improve from the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act? (No) Should merit-based legal immigration be increased if unemployment continues to drop? (What does merit-based mean? There is “merit” in agricultural and construction labor. Why is there more “merit” in taking away high-paying technical jobs from Americans just because businesses don’t want to pay them?) Has excessive government regulations, rules, and red tape burdened you personally (No) Do you believe that that many universities indoctrinate rather than teach students (No) Do you trust the media? (Yes—or no if you are talking about Fox News) Do you find the news to be generally too negative/hateful? (No) Do you think our country is too divided? (Yes—and Trump’s too blame) Is Russia a concern to you? (Yes) Has illegal immigration had a negative impact on your community? (No) And there a few more, some which attempt to gauge support for Trump personally” Do you feel you cannot publicly admit you support Trump? (No).
This survey (and an almost identical one issued by a GOP website) is apparently attempting to gauge support for potential campaign strategies later this year and in 2020. It is obvious that Trump and the Republicans want to mine the usual provincial tropes they have been using for decades to mobilize the “troops” on their far-right, because if they are not sufficiently motivated, they might just stay home this time. Trump and the Republicans don’t believe that despite all the bad names that Trump has given the politics of xenophobia, nativism, white nationalism and fascist “America First” policies that have done nothing but ruin this country’s power and standing in the world, they will continue to stay this course until they are burned by it.
Will that happen this mid-term? We can hope that at the least the Senate will be regained by the Democrats, but that won’t stop Trump from. Steve Bannon claimed that in his opinion Trump had only a 30 percent chance of remaining in office until 2020, but having gotten “comfortable” in the Oval Office, and perhaps somehow realizing that his image has gone from merely media buffoon to a bull in a china shop, he’s afraid that history will be unkind to him if he doesn’t have more “time,” and being reelected as president will at least give him the false fig leaf of “credibility.”
We can’t afford to allow Trump four more years to doom this country here and abroad for decades to come, maybe for all time. This “reality” show doesn’t merit a return season; based on its “merits” this show should have been cancelled even before it first aired.