Sunday, April 30, 2017

100 Days of Ineptitude

With sincere apologies to Gabriel Garcia Marquez. After all, Marquez knew it wasn't easy to write a book, which is more than we can say about how easy Donald Trump thought (?) being president was going to be. It's really a stunning admission given that, well, almost everyone else in the country over the age of 12 has an inkling that being president is a terrifically difficult job. If you want to do it well, which clearly Trump has no interest in.

What's not so easy is realizing that Trump has only been in the White House for 100 days. Maybe that's because the first two weeks of bumbling and blathering seemed like a year in Roosevelt time. And only three years and change to go.

If this past week solidified anything, it's that President Trump (shudder) is on course to be one of the least effective, least visionary and least truthful presidents in, um, a long time. There isn't an issue he's given little thought to including health care, taxes, deficits, infrastructure, foreign relations and the environment. On the unthinking agenda of the future is surely human rights, disaster relief, an economic downturn and a full-blown foreign crisis. Note to the president: these are not easy eventualities.

It's clear by now that the president also has little idea about how health care works or what kind of plan might be helpful to the greatest number of people. The conservatives in the GOP just want to help the insurance companies and make the plan as cheap as they can, and let the states cover what they can afford. Which isn't going to be much. Plus, a law like that will have no chance of passing the Senate, so it doesn't look like Trump is going to get the extra billions he needs to fund a tax cut.

Which now doesn't seem to be a problem because the new tax plan plows through every assumption that makes a functioning, rational economy work. It's a giant sop to the already wealth and it comes with the promise that history has never justified; that we can make up the budget shortfall through...growth. As if Donald Trump's crack team of Goldman Sachsers and Paul Ryan can guarantee us 3% economic growth for...ever? And this is going to get done despite the fact that Trump's insular trade policy and his hounding of immigrant laborers will likely lead to a backlash against American goods and services. Add in the global competition from other low-wage countries, and how exactly are we growing so fast?

But again, the whole plan comes from the mind (?) of someone who hasn't really thought about much since he became president. And given that he hasn't released his tax returns so we can learn how this new plan will benefit him, it's unlikely that he'll get anywhere near what his original proposal calls for. That's a good thing, because this plan will hurt the very people who voted for him. It's irresponsible at best and destructive at worst.

Now that Trump is unshackled from the 100 day expectation, it will be interesting to see how he approaches the long slog that is the presidency. The tweets will continue, as will the bragging and misdirection that has already buried the Russia hacking from the news headlines. Some in the media have reported that Trump started out as horrible, but that he's become a rather predictable Republican president. Honestly, I don't see the difference.

But I did make a decision a few weeks back that has made my life infinitely easier I'm just not going to take anything Trump says at face value. If he says it, I immediately disbelieve it and look to find independent, verifiable information. Which I do in the responsible press.

You know, the one Donald Trump doesn't believe.

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