Thursday, November 16, 2017

The Irrelevance of President Trump

Popular Economics Weekly

It’s sad for America that the President of the United States has become irrelevant to most of the problems facing Americans and the world. But it’s heartening as well, because in choosing to return to a 1950’s that never was—the brief emergence of a white middle class—Trump can’t do much damage to future growth by choosing to isolate himself and his constituency from the real world. Do we need a better definition of President Trump’s irrelevance?

Let’s start with his fiasco of an Asian trip, where he fawned over foreign leaders who gave him massive pageants, but no trade concessions, while abandoning the Trans- Pacific Partnership.

The remaining 11 countries, including Japan, Australia, Mexico and Malaysia, said they had revived the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) deal, a multilateral agreement championed under the Obama administration.

The Guardian reported Ministers meeting in Danang, Vietnam agreed on the “core elements” of what was now called the comprehensive and progressive agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership, a joint statement read.

And “American leaders from state capitals, city halls and businesses across the country have shown up in force” in Bonn, Germany, to discuss carrying out the 2015 Paris climate agreement,” said California Governor Jerry Brown and Michael Bloomberg in yesterday’s New York Times.

This is when President Trump announced at the beginning of his Presidency that he was abandoning the Paris Accord in favor of supporting a return to coal and oil energy. But that isn’t happening for the rest of America, as some 50 percent of U.S. states and cities are represented in Bonn.

“California just extended its cap-and-trade emission program through 2030 and has adopted incentives that will help put 1.5 million electric vehicles on the road by 2025,’ said Jerry Brown, Governor of the sixth largest economy in the world.

Graph: Marketwatch.com

And the U.S. just released its latest congressionally mandated Climate Science Special Report that says 2017 wreaked the most catastrophic destruction in 90 years with an estimated $175 billion in property damage. Only the San Francisco Earthquake (1906), Chicago Fire (1871), and Great Flood (1927) caused more destruction.

What is Trump afraid of, that he fawns over Chinese and Russian leaders, while extracting no concessions from them? He was seen to spend more time with Vladimir Putin at the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation summit in Vietnam than any other leader.

Even his support of Republicans’ so-call tax reform bills is irrelevant, as he wants Republicans once again to attempt to repeal the Obamacare mandate, when more than 50 percent of Americans now support Obamacare, according to the latest Kaiser Family Foundations Health Tracking Poll.
“When asked whether it was good or bad that the Senate GOP had failed to repeal ObamaCare, answers were more direct. Six out of 10 Americans say that Senate Republicans' failure to repeal the law was a "good thing," said the KFF poll, “compared to just 35 percent who disapproved and wanted the law repealed.”
That is irrelevance of the highest order, and as many pundits have noted, it is also the definition of insanity: attempting to repeal Obamacare more than 50 times, and expecting a different result.

Another feature of the tax reform bill is that it requires taking away approximately $1.5 trillion in Medicare and Medicaid benefits to give the wealthiest an unnecessary tax cut. Therefore, it won’t help the shrinking middle class, or any income class, except the top one percent.
Harold Myerson voiced recently in The American Prospect, “The United States now has the highest percentage of low-wage workers – that is workers who make less than two-thirds of the median wage- of any developed nation. Fully 25 percent of all American workers make no more than $17, 576 a year.”
The irrelevance of this President is therefore a real danger to our health and standard of living in so many ways.

Harlan Green © 2017


Follow Harlan Green on Twitter: https://twitter.com/HarlanGreen

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