Photo: Gregory Bull, Associated Press
Metal bars mark the Mexico-U.S. border in Tijuana. As a candidate, Donald Trump promised a border wall.
What you bought and what you got from Trump
By Robert Reich, July 25, 2017 Updated: July 28, 2017
Metal bars mark the Mexico-U.S. bor der in Tijuana. As a candidate,…
You had your reasons for voting for Donald Trump. For some of you he seemed the lesser of two evils, because you hated Hillary. Some of you just wanted to shake up the Washington establishment and end politics as usual.
But many of you were attracted by what he promised. So after six months, it’s fair to consider whether he’s delivered on those promises.
I’m not talking about the sort of things you knew were not really going to happen, like “locking her up” or building a wall along the entire U.S.-Mexico border.
I’m talking about policies he told you he’d get done, many of them right away.
Here are a dozen big ones, along with the record so far.
1 He told you he’d repeal Obamacare and replace it with something “beautiful.” You bought it. But he didn’t repeal, and he didn’t replace. (Just as well: His plan would have knocked at least 22 million off health insurance, including many of you.)
2 He told you he’d cut your taxes. You bought it. But tax reform hasn’t happened. And if it ever does, the plans he’s put forth will cut taxes for big corporations and the wealthy, not for most of you.
3 He told you he’d invest $1 trillion in our nation’s crumbling infrastructure. You bought it. He had a chance to do this. Many Democrats were ready to join Republicans to support it. But infrastructure is also stalled, partly because he hasn’t even offered a plan.
4 He said he’d drain the “Washington swamp.” You bought it. But he’s brought into his administration more billionaires, CEOs and Wall Street moguls than any president in history. Some of his appointees are already rolling back the Dodd-Frank Act, passed after the Wall Street financial crisis to make sure such a crisis wouldn’t happen again. Trump has also brought in former lobbyists, lawyers and consultants who are crafting new policies for the same industries they used to work for.
5 He said he’d use his business experience to whip the White House into shape. You bought it. But he’s created the most chaotic, dysfunctional, leaky, backstabbing White House in modern history.
6 He said he’d close “special interest loopholes that have been so good for Wall Street investors, and for people like me, but unfair to American workers.” You bought it. But he picked a Wall Street financier, Stephen Schwarzman, to run his Strategic and Policy Forum, and Schwarzman has compared closing those loopholes to Hitler’s invasion of Poland.
7 He told you he’d “bring down drug prices” by making deals with drug companies. You bought it. But now the White House calls that promise “inoperative.”
8 He said that on “day one” he’d label China a “currency manipulator.” You bought it. But then he met with China’s president and declared that China is not a currency manipulator.
9 He said he wouldn’t bomb Syria. You bought it. But then he bombed Syria.
10 He called Barack Obama “the vacationer-in-chief” and promised never to be the kind of president who took vacations on the taxpayers’ dime. You bought it. But in his first six months he has spent more taxpayer money on vacations than Obama did in the first three years of his presidency. Not to mention all the money taxpayers are spending protecting his family, including his two sons who travel all over the world on Trump family business.
11 He said he’d force companies to keep jobs in America. You believed him. But despite their promises, Carrier, Ford, GM and the rest of the businesses he targeted are now back to shipping jobs to Mexico and China.
12 He said he’d create coal jobs. You believed him. But there are hardly any new coal jobs in coal country. Yet here’s what he has done: Since 1965, a federal program called the Appalachian Regional Commission has spent $23 billion helping communities in coal states fund job retraining, reclaim land and provide desperately needed social services. The ARC has helped cut poverty rates almost in half, double the percentage of high school graduates and reduce infant mortality by two-thirds. What is Trump doing for the ARC? His first proposed budget eliminates it altogether.
I understand how difficult it is to get things done in Washington. But with Republicans now in control of both houses of Congress, the person you voted for doesn’t really have much of an excuse.
© 2017 Robert Reich