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January 23, 2017

Trump is the Man

I want this known: the legal process of electing a President has concluded. The Electoral college voted and, right or wrong, good or bad, it has chosen Trump as the winner with more than 270 electoral votes. I completely accept this. And, therefore, I completely accept Trump as our legally sworn-in President.

However, I disagree with nearly all of his platform as President. I think his plans, such as they are, will take the country backward in some cases and will actively harm the nation in others.

I absolutely do not agree with the whole "build a wall" plan. First, the Mexicans I know personally are hardworking, energetic people who want the American dream and go after it with gusto. They work hard, often 2, 3, 4 jobs at a time. They are willing to take on some pretty shitty jobs just to get work and make money, jobs that the average American sees as beneath them to work. Mexicans open businesses. They employ others. They have a strong work ethic, most I know are strongly religious, and most are strongly pro-family, and they are a tight-nit group. Just the sort of people you want immigrating to your country.

What we should be doing, rather than building a wall, is increasing talks and relations with Mexico. Getting more of them to immigrate legally. Looking for skilled workers, like programmers, managers, and builders, and entrepreneurs who want to open businesses and welcoming them in with open arms. If we do that, the need for a wall will virtually disappear and we bring more wealth into the country as they open those businesses and work those jobs here.

We don't need a nationalistic approach to jobs and trade. We just need to stop thinking that any trade deal with a country is better than no trade deal at all. We need to show countries, like China, that if they are going to cap and trade clause our goods coming into their country, then we will do the same to theirs. That will cause them to rethink their priorities, which allows us to ease trade barriers to them over time -- win win. NAFTA has been an unmitigated success for the countries involved; no need revoke it or back out of it. Is it time to look at possible tweaks and revisions? Sure. That is always a good thing, and all countries should do it from time to time. But backing out completely? That's the sign of someone with a narrow perspective or a lack of information, not a visionary leader.

In many cases, companies don't need to be actively harmed by taking jobs out of the country, they just need incentives to keep as many as possible within the country. We need to be looking at how to provide incentives for the companies to keep the profits here, in the country, without penalizing them. Companies are fairly predatory creatures and the seek out the greatest profits -- how can we incentivize them to keep a job in the USA with workers that make salaries and have benefits, versus giving that job to someone in a foreign country that makes 1/5 the salary and, often, has no benefits to pay? Well, as I roll from this into the ACA discussion, one way would be to switch to a universal, single-payer insurance system, which would take a huge chunk of money the company has to pay US employees out of the equation, closing the wage gap slightly between the US worker and the foreign worker.

Repealing healthcare? Why? Is the ACA (aka Obamacare) really that bad? Of course not. Any plan the Republicans come up with will mimic or copy much of what is in the ACA today. So why repeal the entire thing only to replace it with something that will, likely, be about 70-80% the same?

Trump has yet to make a truthful or verifiable statement about the ACA, and that seems to indicate that he either doesn't understand it or is willfully ignorant about how well it has worked. Is it great legislation? Hell no. It has way too many loopholes that need to be closed, it would be far better as a single-payer system, and we need to browbeat the pharmaceutical and health insurance companies that exist into lower prices and better service (as all single-payer systems around the world have done, to the betterment of the peoples' health in those nations). Again, tweaks and revisions are all that is needed. Hell, even Republicans are questioning the Republicans' desire to repeal this legislation without having a firm, verifiable plan that the people can read and comment on first. That's really all the Republicans need to do, too. Just present a better plan or a better revision to an existing plan and let the American people decide if it should be enacted. Maybe a repeal isn't needed. Either way, the American people will still think the Republicans are doing a good job leading the country and listening to its people. Right now, there are many who feel they aren't listening at all... even to their own like-minded constituents on this topic (and others).

His plans to deregulate the banking industry? Well, Clinton and "W" did that, and we achieved one of the worst financial collapses in the country, and it took years and re-regulation to dig out of it. Why do what has already proven not to work? Dodd-Frank is a good thing. It keeps the banking industry honest in its dealings with its customers and the nation. Deregulating energy companies so they can amp up production and go after harder and harder to reach energy reserves? Again, we've done that, many times, in the past. Each time it has achieved sick people, destroyed ecosystems (like drinkable water) and caused millions and billions in health, property, and clean up damages. Why would we ever do that again? It has proven not to work, time and again.

Questioning climate change? Well, here's the thing; every other nation (including China!) is leading the way to cleaner energy. Some countries, like India are actively promoting solar and wind at a massive rate. And, this is the kicker, they get most of the technology from the US. The rest of the world going green is actively helping the US economy. Now, imagine if the US stopped arguing over climate change and, instead, continued to add jobs and incentivize the green industries? Hell, we'd have thousands of new jobs, thousands more exports, and millions more dollars pumping into local economies. What if those areas where coal is played out and the mines are closed were where we built solar panel factories? What if where shale gas would be pumped, and ruining the local ground water, instead we built a large wind turbine factory? What if, in those area where oil wells are running dry, we built solar roadway production factories? What if we built desalination plants and water turbine and geothermal factories, employing people to make the technology of the future, rather than continuing to protect and prop up the existing oil industry? This is visionary leadership, not deregulating and allowing the gas and oil industry to plunder our national parks and monuments, clear-cutting forests, and destroying what limited drinking water resources the nation has.

The one area that I agree with Trump is that our federal government needs to be cleaned up. We absolutely need term limits in Congress to get turnover and fresh ideas. We need to do away with gerrymandering and rigged elections. However, I question how he is going about doing it. How is electing people who literally have no clue about the jobs they are nominated for (DeVos, Romney, Carson, et al) going to achieve success? How is having one of the architects of the last economic collapse in your cabinet going to help you "clean up the swamp"? It makes no sense.

So, I completely accept that this man is now our legally chosen President. As you can see, however, I do not accept his platform. I think it is narrow, short-sighted, and could harm the nation over time. I hope I'm wrong, and I hope he surprises me (and us), but his first, stumbling steps have not been promising.

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