The Trump Presidency
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The Trump Presidency • Posted: Dec 25, 2020 14:57:41Comments WelcomeVote CoolPhotoblogsPurchase a PrintShare

So much to regret,
so horrendously much,
from failure of responsibility
to incompetent leadership
to outright corruption
and wanton destruction.
Sad, very sad indeed.
And unfortunately,
not over yet.

I realize there are millions of people who support and admire our current President. But, it continues to puzzle me as to why.

There are those that point to his promise to preserve jobs. But, according to a report by CNN: “Alone among the 13 presidents since World War Two, Trump will exit the White House with fewer Americans employed than when he started. He will have overseen punier growth in economic output than any of the previous 12 presidents. (Per) Moody's chief economist Mark Zandi, who compared the economic results of all presidents from the last 70 years, “Trump's economic record ranks near or at the bottom compared with other presidents.”

Admirers may counter that Trump’s first three years in office showed remarkable economic robustness. But, factual analysis reveals that he only took credit for trends the eight years of the Obama administration began. Real economic growth for the first three years of the Trump administration averaged a modest 2.53%, not the 4-5% he boasted he’d achieve. (See for a listing of annual US GDP growth since 1990.)

Also per Reuters, the Trump administration has increased the Federal budget deficit to $3.1 trillion for fiscal year 2020, up from $666 billion for his first full year in office, FY 2018. Pandemic relief accounts for some of that increase, but tax relief for the wealthy also pumped it up. Per Self, the overall national debt has increased 33.62% under Trump, though most economists insist low interest rates make that increase manageable. But still, at $21 trillion as of December this year per the Associated Press, the national debt has now exceeded 100% of the overall size of the US economy. And, per Reuters as of late November this year, the worth of the US dollar on world currency markets has declined to a two and a half year low.

Yes yes, many Trump supporters will insist, statistics can be manipulated. And, a disturbing number of Trump supporters do just that within their posts across social media, where respect for the truth is at an all-time low and magical thinking is at an all-time high. Disturbing, to say the least, since democracy itself depends on good-faith negotiations based on a shared understanding of actual facts.

What facts do not show, however, is whether ordinary citizens’ voices are being heard within the halls of power. Despite significant evidence to the contrary, diehard supporters persist in trusting in what Trump does and that he will continue to speak with their voice in support of their best interests.

I strongly disagree with Trump supporters’ tactics, logic, and disregard for the facts in trying to make their voices heard. But, I do believe, like many others who do not admire or support Trump, that increasing inequality is, at base, the main reason our current system of self-government is failing a far too unhealthy swath of its citizenry.

Per Reuters: “50% of Americans own just 1.9% of the nation's net worth, while the top 1% own 30.5%.“ That statistic is certainly damning, but what is the root cause of this increasingly dysfunctional inequality?

Economic and tax policies that favor and promote the accumulation and concentration of wealth undoubtedly contribute to inequality. But, those policies are fixable, as long as there is political will to do so. What may not be fixable is something deeper, something less political and more cultural, maybe even psychological.

A founding principle of the United States is that “all men are created equal”. That per Thomas Jefferson within the US Declaration of Independence. Unfortunately, we in the US have seldom lived up to that principle. We have, instead, continuously separated ourselves into classes with one kind of unequal privilege or another over all others. On a practical level, that insistence upon unequal separation and segregation of our citizenry sometimes makes sense. For instance, I have demonstrated that I know how to operate a motor vehicle safely while you have not. Therefore, I should get a license to drive and you should not.

But, that kind of narrow-minded two factor either/or thinking is just what has led us to the uncomfortable increasing inequality problem we now face. How are the people who don’t have license to drive supposed to get around and survive? How are the people who don’t have jobs or food or housing or education or language skills or social network or good health supposed to survive? Shall we push them all over a cliff, or shuffle them off to the ovens? Definitely not palatable. Instead, we need include within our policy prescriptions plans for the viability of all who will, or could be, pushed to the outside of privilege. Yes, that is a distinctly different way to consider public policy, and to what it means to be American. But, it needs to be done.

Many on the so called left of the political spectrum have advocated for “equal opportunity”. But, “equal opportunity” only seeks to guarantee a fair shot at privilege. It makes no promises whatsoever as to viability for those who fail to achieve that privilege. Until there is sufficient planning for the viability of all citizens, there will always be two classes of citizens, the haves and the have-nots. And, that is not sustainable.

Our current system of self-governance appears bent on sowing the seeds of its own destruction by failing to provide viability for all those who fall outside the various classes of privilege we create. That may or may not be a correctable trend, given the reality of a mostly selfish, culturally grounded, human psychology. But, what seems clear is that should we continue along the course we are currently on, it won’t be just the Trump presidency that ends in a train wreck, it will be the United States of America that does, too.

Best wishes for a safe, thoughtful, and productive new year.

Thursday, December 27th, 2018
Granite Canon