Tuesday, December 27, 2016

The death of populism by its own hands

The populists may have killed off populism with their  own votes in November.
Wonder if those blue collar, struggling middle class voters who voted for Trump realize the Congressional agenda flies
in the face of most Trump promises to replace Obamacare with something better, lower their taxes, and create jobs with infrastructure investment. None of that will happen if Congress gets its way. Both Medicaid and Medicare will be in jeopardy, as Trump promised not to touch Medicare and Social Security.  Millions may lose affordable health insurance. Remember?  While Trump will struggle to make good on campaign promises, he not only will run up against Congress, his own choices for cabinet, a team of billionaires,  will  be a problem for him, too.  Or will Trump just roll over to Congress' will and heed the pressure from his own cabinet members?

There seems to be general consensus by political observers that this was a change election. It was loudly  amplified by Donald Trump’s call  to drain the  Washington swamp. (He has repudiated that phrase since the election). The platform he ran on has been described as pragmatic populism. What has happened since the  election is that he has  introduced an invasive species to the Washington swamp and his cabinet, the  billionaires. Where the rub comes is if the solution to everyday health, safety, and pocket book problems of the struggling middle class conflict with the solutions offered by the business oriented billionaires .

These billionaires anti-populists if there ever were.   They come with preset notions that what is good for their business  is therefore good for all ,  with agendas that are contrary to the mission of the departments they are going to lead ,and histories  of supporting  ideologically based crusades. Neither is Donald Trump, when he declared his goal to eliminate 75% of laws and rules constraining business from it appears practices harmful to consumers and the environment.. They have no record of caring for the public interest as a whole, but their care has been for the bottom lines of the business or medical sectors they have served. Where the rub comes is if the solution to everyday health, safety, and pocket book problems of the struggling middle class conflict with the solutions offered by the business oriented billionaires .

The Trump theory of economics is to free  business  from government regulation and the economy will soar, lifting all boats of  the rich and blue collar workers alike. This theory has never worked, but if it does, and creates some jobs, there are some unintended harmful consequences for the middle class.   Scrapping regulations that are considered unnecessary or burdensome  to a business’  bottom line can also be painful to  families where pennies count. Many of those regulations which billionaires consider anti business were once carefully crafted in response to some  public outcry. How rules are enforced, the kinds of legislation advocated to Congress, the kind of appointments  to boards and commissions ,and how  budgets can be revised  all can be used to subvert environmental and consumer protections.

Here are a few of some worrisome possibilities: Will families be able to afford health insurance without the subsidies Obamacare once provided and will they once again have to choose between losing their homes or bankruptcy to get the health care they need? Will caps on the amount of benefits  once again result in  bankruptcy and foreclosure for  even those who get employer health insurance?    Will the  cost of annual physicals and cancer screenings come out of the pocket of  those who get any health insurance now from either employers or Obamacare? Will the donut hole emerge to cost seniors more for drugs?

Will we have more Flints and Love Canals due to business people/now regulators who sympathize with the polluters.? Will we drive more cars unsafe at any speed or will reducing time and need of testing drugs result in ineffective treatment or fatal and debilitating side effects? Will students graduating from college or trade school have any relief from tuition debt? Will future seniors have their social security be at the mercy of the financial markets?  Will Medicare be replaced with vouchers which may or may not keep up with insurance costs and  make life of seniors more risky and complicated?

https://www.wsj.com/articles/presidents-backers-want-action-on-jobs-taxes-immigration-1485945003 https://www.theatlantic.com/politics/archive/2016/12/trump-cabinet-tracker/510527/


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