Presidents have tested the limits of their authority throughout history. Some have even exceeded it. But, until Trump, each sitting president has had at least a working knowledge of government and a willingness to extend the benefits it can provide to hard-working people and those in need. And newly elected presidents, after hotly contested elections, have also demonstrated a strong desire to bring the country together to mollify the opposition and achieve policy goals.
Trump, Congress, and two-thirds of the populace who voted Trump into office (26.3 percent of eligible voters) could care less about bringing the country together.
Thirsty for power and eager to reassert the racial superiority of the white working class and the moneymaking dominance of the very rich, Trump—their knight in gilded armor—behaved reprehensibly before the election and continues his assault, not only on common decency but on the future security of this nation.
Let’s look at some of the damage Trump is doing, particularly to many of the uninformed folks who voted him in. Impatient for change, they voted for a “strongman” who campaigned to eliminate redundant programs and needless regulation. Well, Trump’s proposed budget for the next fiscal year significantly impacts one agency that we have all come to trust and depend on—the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).
What does this mean? By slashing funding and significantly reducing the availability of human resources, Trump is ensuring that this government department will no longer sufficiently protect and preserve the quality of the air we breathe and the fresh water we drink. And by essentially defunding the Superfund program, which is responsible for cleaning up more than 1,300 of the dirtiest and most hazardous industrial sites around the country, he compounds the problem. According to Homefacts.com, there are 22 Superfund sites found in Putnam County; one active, five non-active and 16 archived.
Under Trump’s budget, dozens of programs, from environmental safeguards to radon detection, are eliminated. A multiplicity of projects that focus on environmental cleanup for the Great Lakes, Chesapeake Bay, Puget Sound, the Hudson River and more, are closed. Energy Star—an important program that rates energy efficient products and properties—is on the chopping block. The Trump White House justifies cutting these popular programs by saying, simply, “There is no need.”
The EPA’s scientific research and development arm, which focuses on pollution and pesticide regulation, is cut by half. Staffing dedicated to climate research and regulation is eviscerated. Funding to help states tackle air and water problems is cut by half.
The fantasy that Trump intends to fight for the health of working people, the elderly, and people with pre-existing conditions should also be laid to rest. The Congressional Budget Office’s (CBO) detailed analysis of Trumpcare—passed by the Republican House earlier this month to replace Obamacare—exposes billions of dollars in cuts to programs that provide care to the poor, the elderly and people with disabilities. It cuts funding research into new cures and protecting the country from infectious diseases. The CBO analysis said that Trumpcare will rob 23 million people of health insurance, while leaving millions of others with policies that offer little protection from major medical conditions. All of this would be done in service of huge tax cuts for the richest (1 percent) of Americans.
Let’s also consider the fate of Medicaid, a program that provides health insurance to more than 74 million people (close to 7,000 in Putnam and 16,000 in Westchester), including nursing home residents and millions of people with disabilities. Trumpcare will slash Medicaid spending by $834 billion over 10 years. And, according to the C.B.O., Trump’s budget would also cut an additional $610 billion from Medicaid under the pretext of reforming it. Taken together, this amounts to an estimated 45 percent reduction over the next 10 years, compared with current law. In addition, low-income elderly will see their premiums go up by 800 percent, and treatment for substance abuse and maternity care will cost tens of thousands of dollars more in out-of-pocket expenses.
Let’s not forget that Trumpcare will also take away birth control coverage from up to 55 million American women by eliminating a federal rule that mandates most employers to provide free birth control coverage to women under their insurance plans.
And the most significant impact of Trumpcare is that it will make insurance markets completely unpredictable, doing away with the consumer protections established by Obamacare, including the rule preventing insurers from charging more to people with preexisting conditions—that’s one out of four of us. And according to the C.B.O report, millions of people will be priced out of the insurance market, while a few million more “will end up with policies so skimpy that they couldn’t provide enough financial protection in the event of a serious and costly illness.”
Hey, Trumpers! Any buyer’s remorse out there?