It is fascinating, albeit in a sad way, to see politicians making promises they won’t or can’t keep. A prime example was Vote Leave’s pledge to hand the £350m per week sent to the EU to the NHS instead. It was scrapped from the campaign’s website the day after the Brexit vote.
Last week’s election win by Donald Trump has me thinking that the US people might now be heading down the road to “Trumpgret”.
Let’s start with taxes and social security. Trump has promised to cut taxes and to keep social security completely untouched.
According to the Center for Poverty Research, around 15 per cent of Americans, or 48m, live in poverty. Add on the middle to lower middle class (who aren’t officially in poverty but still need to budget for the month), and you have a lot of people. Many of them voted for Trump because he will “Make America Great Again.”
Now. Here comes the painful part.
Under Trump’s tax proposals, according to Politifact, “the top 0.1 per cent would get more tax relief than the bottom 60 per cent of taxpayers combined.” Now, if the rich are giving less money to the government, the federal deficit is projected to balloon by at least $10 trillion over the next decade. So if the government is a lot poorer, guess who suffers. Answer: the people who aren’t rich.
Sure, they get a tax break too. But we now have a government which has a lot less money. How can Social Security remain untouched? So often this is the first place governments look to cut when dealing with deficits.
Trump supporters have been very supportive of regulation to safeguard their way of life. Think immigration control.
Again, I am a bit puzzled. They want to do away with Dodd-Frank? Hang on, this is the act that was put in place in 2010 to regulate big banks, so we wouldn’t face another financial crisis. I could have sworn we just went through years of everyone yelling that giving bankers too much control was bad. OK. So now we want bankers to have more control. Sorry. My mistake.
I could have sworn many of you were “outraged” by pharmaceutical firms hiking drug prices too. So now, a few months later, you think high medicine prices and not regulating pharmaceutical firms is good? Sorry. Again. My bad.
Let me just mention oil and gas. A real revolution happened in US shale oil and gas production during the Obama years. Unfortunately, for those looking to make easy money off of this, they kept having to deal with people wanting to ensure the environment could handle fracking.
It’s a real pain for oil and gas people to have to deal with environmental regulations. Lucky for them, Trump has said climate change is a “hoax” and has promised to cancel the Environmental Protection Agency’s Clean Water Rule.
Now I don’t know about you, but I prefer my water as clean as possible. But maybe I’m also missing the point. For of course there will be checks and balances. It turns out Trump is considering making Harold Hamm, chief executive of oil producer Continental Resources, his energy secretary. This would be the first one taken directly from the oil and gas industry since the job was first created in 1977.
No need to overreact. Granted, it emerged via The Wall Street Journal that “Trump aides were described as unaware that the entire presidential staff working in the West Wing had to be replaced at the end of Mr Obama’s term.” One might be forgiven for hoping that, once someone sits down and properly explains how complicated things actually are, the world’s most powerful man-to-be will end up doing a lot of things the Obama administration did…just with a slightly angrier spin.