Last week I mentioned the updated WhiteHouse.gov page and this week I’m going to walk through it in a bit more detail for you. As the week has progressed, we continue to see the Administration focus on alternative facts: how 45’s crowds were the hugest, that he won the popular vote if you take out all those illegal votes. Keep in mind these alternative facts have been used in the past…
Below are the Trump Administration’s Top Issues and how they plan to address them.
- America First Energy Plan
- “(Eliminate) harmful and unnecessary policies such as the Climate Action Plan and the Waters of the U.S. rule.” The Climate Action Plan (CAP) has gotten a bad rap by Republicans from the beginning. I’m guessing this is mostly because, you know, Obama. The CAP calls for cutting pollution, preparing for climate change, and leading international efforts on the same. It promotes the reduction of carbon pollution, making America a leader in renewable energy, and other actions to prepare the country to mitigate the effects of climate change. Oh, and it recommends using “sound science” to manage the impacts. I know, science again. That darn Obama. Here’s the 21-page overview. https://obamawhitehouse.archives.gov/sites/default/files/image/president27sclimateactionplan.pdf Dismantling it will be the equivalent of Reagan’s removal of the solar panels from the White House back in the 80’s… A HUGE and ignorant step backwards. The Waters of the U.S. rule basically just clarifies which bodies of water fall under the jurisdiction of the EPA and the Army Corps of Engineers. Opposition forces claim that this is a power grab by the Feds and they fear it will “crush jobs”. Opponents mainly consist of large corporations and agribusiness – groups that have never been keen on regulation but have a history of making business decisions that provide increases in income while sometimes also endangering water supplies for everyday citizens. Think Love Canal, Exxon Valdez, Deepwater Horizon, you know – Superfund Sites. Here’s a list of Minnesota Sites in case you’re interested: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_Superfund_sites_in_Minnesota If the Republicans eliminate this rule, big business can avoid the planned lawsuits to avoid being beholden to the rule. http://www.politico.com/story/2015/05/epa-waterways-wetlands-rule-118319
- Revive the coal industry with “clean coal technology”. Even though we have yet to prove “clean coal technology” is a possibility, let alone commercially viable, Trump is already on board to implement it. Three links for your further edification on the current state of our clean coal technology development. http://science.howstuffworks.com/environmental/green-science/clean-coal.htm https://www.bloomberg.com/view/articles/2016-10-10/-clean-coal-is-far-from-real http://www.snopes.com/can-clean-coal-actually-reduce-carbon-emissions/
- “Refocus the EPA on its essential mission of protecting our air and water” ~ what this means is not really made clear. But it is clear that you’re not going to hear anything about it from the EPA side as the Department’s employees have been forbidden to communicate. This way 45 can be sure his reality is the only one you will hear about.
- America First Foreign Policy
- Defeating ISIS, cutting funding to terrorists, expanding intelligence sharing. Most of the plans sound like more of what we’ve already been doing. He does mention that our Navy has reduced from “more than 500 ships in 1991 to 275 in 2016” but how many ships do we really need? We don’t really ask that but it appears that “more” is the answer for US “military dominance (to be) unquestioned”. He also claims he will “embrace diplomacy” but I’m thinking that might be a stretch for 45 with his propensity to tweet before he’s actually engaged his brain.
- Note 1: There is also a section here which is a glitch as it’s a preview of the final bullet point. Is this a sign of a lack of tech saavy or good proof-readers in Trumpland?
- Note 2: This is maybe the least scary of the Top Issues (maybe because it’s also 45’s weakest area of expertise).
- Bringing Back Jobs And Growth
- 45’s “plan starts with pro-growth tax reform to help American workers and businesses keep more of their hard-earned dollars. The President’s plan will lower rates for Americans in every tax bracket, simplify the tax code, and reduce the U.S. corporate tax rate, which is one of the highest in the world.” This will “(create) millions of new jobs and (boost) economic growth”. As we have seen in the past, most of the Republican tax strategies favor the wealthiest Americans and leave those at the bottom of the economic spectrum paying a higher share of their income in taxes. Trump’s previously stated plans included elimination of personal exemptions and head of household status which would disproportionately hurt those single “mothers… trapped in poverty” he voiced concern for in his inaugural address. Of course, there’s likely to be a continued focus on removing the estate tax which will only benefit those at the very, very top. The trick will be eliminating taxes and not bankrupting the government, especially if you want to build up the military (already the largest in the world) and create a giant wall along the south border of your country (that’s just under 2000 miles of wall to build). See the next Top Issue for more on the military spending.
- Step two of the plan is to eliminate regulations. If job creation is your only concern, then this plan might do the trick. But beware the effects on the environment and public health and safety. http://www.epi.org/publication/regulation_employment_and_the_economy_fears_of_job_loss_are_overblown/ Economic woes could also be a concern. If you recall, it was deregulation and a belief in the self-regulation of the markets that led to the Great Recession. Says the 2008 Director of the SEC (a former Republican member of Congress), “Voluntary regulation does not work.” We’re about due for another economic recession so, buckle your seat belts, boys and girls.
- There’s also a second mention of trade deals here.
- Making Our Military Strong Again
- One statement on the agenda here is that “We cannot allow other nations to surpass our military capability.” And he wants to end the “defense sequester”, “develop a state-of-the-art missile defense system” (think Star Wars, Reagan’s strategic defense initiative which was eventually set aside), and “recruit the best and brightest” for cyber capabilities. Since we have 10 aircraft carriers, an equal number to the rest of the world’s aircraft carriers combined (with some smaller than ours), I think we are in good shape there. “The U.S. spends close to what the entire rest of the world spends in defense. $711 billion. Per year. The next closest is China at $143 billion.” https://www.military1.com/all/article/402211-how-much-stronger-is-the-us-military-compared-with-the-next-strongest-power/ Since many of the other nations are our allies, we can pretty much do nothing or even cut our military spending significantly and still outgun any potential enemy. We’d probably even be okay if it was the US against the rest of the world… which could become a possibility if things keep going in the direction they seem to be going. It seems we’d be best served by not buying a lot of new equipment but focusing instead on the cyber front. But no one is asking me.
- 45 also speaks to ensuring we provide the “best medical care, education and support for our military service members and their families – both when they serve, and when they return to civilian life.” Now if he can do something here, that would be a real improvement. Again, this agenda item is relatively vague stating that they will “(fire) the corrupt and incompetent VA executives who let our veterans down, (modernize) the bureaucracy, and (empower) the doctors and nurses to ensure our veterans receive the best care” which differs from Obama’s plan which focused on “increasing staffing, expanding space and facilities, improving productivity, and accelerating use of care in the community”. https://obamawhitehouse.archives.gov/the-press-office/2015/11/11/fact-sheet-honoring-service-our-nations-veterans But Trump’s plan might work too. Although the Head of the VA recently stated that they have over 45,000 open jobs to fill… How will this be remedied now that 45 has ordered a federal hiring freeze? 45 may be shooting himself in the foot.
- Standing Up For Our Law Enforcement Community
- Trump will “end” the “dangerous anti-police atmosphere in America”, is “committed to reducing violent crime”, will “uphold Americans’ Second Amendment rights at every level of our judicial system”, will build “a border wall to stop illegal immigration, to stop the gangs and the violence, and to stop the drugs from pouring into our communities” (because apparently all this stuff only comes from Mexico), “(end) sanctuary cities”, and “(deport) illegal aliens with violent criminal records”. I’m not sure what half this stuff even means for him. While there are no specifics on exactly HOW he will get all this done, that’s his plan. I guess I should just be happy he doesn’t seem to be focused on simply locking up all the African Americans and Muslims. Though some of his supporters seem to think that he’d like to, thus making it OK for them to talk about how much they’d like to. [Oh, speaking of “shitty, white people”, I think you should check out this guy. He has brought my life to a whole new level of happy. https://youtu.be/nM5eiunbDzQ OMG, is he funny.]
- It may surprise 45 to find that that Mexicans are not the source of all our gang and drug issues. Or that males account for an inordinate amount of the crime compared to their proportions in the population. Perhaps we should just look at fixing men. Nah! https://www.fbi.gov/news/stories/latest-crime-statistics-released
- My biggest concern is that he will bring in a police state. He is sometimes just a bit too reminiscent of that old German Fascist.
- Trade Deals Working For All Americans
- With regard to Trade, there will be no TPP and NAFTA will be renegotiated. If the NAFTA partners disagree to renegotiation, we will notify of our intent to withdraw. Oh, and trade agreement violations will be punished. Since it sounds like he’s pretty much eliminating trade agreements, that should be a no-brainer. Already Canada loves him for bringing back plans to fast-track Keystone XL and the DAPL. Who wouldn’t be excited about getting someone else (America) to push the Canadian tar sludge across their pristine waters (yep, the stuff we all need to live) and avoid having to fight their own indigenous tribes to export that stuff? Though it remains to be seen whether 45 will allow any of that Evraz steel from Canada to be used for building of said pipelines.
Here’s a comparison of Obama and Trump Issues from the WhiteHouse.gov sites (old and new):
While it’s not one of his Top Issues, it’s kind of my Top Issue, so if you want to read a summary on what Trump will mean for the Environment, this is a good read. Well, not really “good”… it’s more like scary but thorough. http://www.vox.com/science-and-health/2016/11/14/13582562/trump-gop-climate-environmental-policy
I guess Trump’s probably got a good plan keeping his To Do List short. It may be good for the rest of us too.