Archived Opinion

Believing just does not make it true

Believing just does not make it true

I recently saw people interviewed at the CPAC meeting stating how pleased they were with Trump’s accomplishments. That got me to thinking that maybe Trump’s most impressive accomplishment is gaslighting people into thinking that his pronouncements of achievements are real. Let’s take a look at the actual accomplishments.

The most tangible accomplishment is allowing Mitch McConnell to pack the federal courts with judges who are ideologues and/or have marginal, if any, credentials for a lifetime appointment. The woman appointed to Kavanaugh’s old position has previously suggested that women who get raped likely are responsible for the rape. Another example is the appointee with no judicial experience and who had been an attorney in only four court cases.

Trump’s other big accomplishment was the tax cut that largely benefited the very rich. Those of us who itemize deductions due to large medical expenses or who pay substantial state and local taxes will actually see an increase in the income tax we pay. I saw one report that indicated that the average tax cut amounted to $40 for the year. Averages in this case are deceptive. If we have 100 taxpayers where 99 each get $1 in tax cuts and one who gets a $100,001 tax cut, the average tax cut will be $1,001. Never mind that the tax cut will add trillions to the national debt that will have to be paid by our grandchildren and great-grandchildren. Each tax cut from the time of Ronald Reagan to 2018 have increased the national debt, and none have ever actually “paid for itself” through economic growth as Republicans claim. Tax cuts have always increased the national debt, and this one is no different.

The economy is booming, but my financial consultant stated that in a bull market, it doesn’t make any difference who is president. The regulations on the environment and other areas that have been cut have yet to produce a credible indication of having improved the economy. Farm loan defaults are skyrocketing because farmers can’t sell their corps to China and other countries due to the Trump trade war. This is going to have a ripple effect in the economy at some point. To mitigate this, Trump wants the rest of us taxpayers to pay billions to bail out farmers in the short term. However, once the markets for soybeans and other commodities that we used to ship to China get sourced from other countries China may not come back to buy from the US farmers.

Then there is the claim that Trump is keeping jobs in the US and getting them to come back from overseas. This has largely been smoke and mirrors. The famous 1,000 jobs in Indiana that Trump “saved” from going overseas largely were gone soon after the reporters went off to cover other stories. There is no credible evidence that jobs are coming back in any substantial numbers. Instead the tariffs have caused some U.S. companies, such as Harley-Davidson, to move production to other countries so they can sell their products in Europe without the retaliatory tariffs. The big manufacturing plant that a Chinese company was going to build in Wisconsin also turned out to be a lot of smoke.

Trump bragged about his new deal with Canada and Mexico, but that deal is not in force. Trump apparently has forgotten that no trade deal he makes takes effect until Congress ratifies it. Even so, many of the changes from the old deal appear to be more hype than substance.

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Then there are the famous international summits with North Korea. North Korea stopped nuclear testing because they had achieved what they needed, and a mountain fell onto their main test site. According to the most recent intelligence reports, North Korea continues to produce nuclear weapons and rockets. Kim and Trump had a brief bromance after the first summit where Kim finally got worldwide recognition for meeting with a sitting US president, and Trump got bupkis.

Trump claimed that other countries were laughing at the U.S. before he got elected. When Trump made claims about his accomplishments at the UN, the delegates literally laughed at him. If countries were not laughing at us before, they are now — unless they are too scared to laugh about a president that seems unconnected to reality.

The “wall” is not likely to get built any time soon even though Trump has said it is already being built. The only building seems to be fixing existing walls. In any case, a wall does not solve the problem of all the people legally presenting at ports of entry to apply for asylum. Trump seems to want to pretend they do not exist.

Finally, there are all the Trump promises made that are ignored today. Trump said everyone will have affordable healthcare coverage. Where is that? All he did was make care less available to thousands if not millions. There was all the infrastructure he was going to fix. We have not heard a peep on that. The mantra of “promises made; promises kept” is a joke, but people seem to want to believe what they want to believe. The problem is that believing does not make it real.

(Norman Hoffman lives in Waynesville. This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..) 

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