It is easy to understand the resentment that the American electorate has towards politicians and government, but one must remember that our elected officials are nothing more than a reflection of our votes. What really frightens me about this recent election is that we have put into office a man of very questionable temperament and ability to lead the democracy and largest military in the world. I can only wonder what path we as a country will take over the next four years. I have been assured by a good friend who works for the military that our system of government is capable of surviving an extremely limited president; let’s hope he is right. He also says that the nuclear arsenal is not totally controlled by the president, but is limited by a system of checks and balances which will click in before this country engages in a nuclear confrontation; this gives me some comfort!
Based on what Trump has spouted over the last 18 months, I believe he will focus his attention on health care, immigration and trade treaties. He has promised to repeal the Affordable Care Act, build a wall on the Mexican border, block TPP and renegotiate NAFTA. Let’s look at these one at a time.
The Affordable Care Act:
According to reports, there are almost 20 million Americans using the ACA to secure health insurance. Several of the major points of the act are to require insurance companies to insure people who are already sick or injured, that is, pre-existing conditions. In the past, insurance companies could refuse to insure people who were seriously ill or suffered from long-term illnesses. That makes sense if you are an insurance company trying to increase your profit but makes little sense if you are a sick person needing insurance. Another feature of this program is to help insure folks in lower-income brackets with subsidies, which is one of the main purposes of the ACA in the first place. One of the problems is that middle America is paying BIG bucks for their insurance. Many are paying well over $1000/month with very high deductibles. These are all-important points, but they fail to address the main reality of the insurance crisis: the insurance, the medical instrument and the pharmaceutical companies are making more money than most of us can even imagine! That is why medical costs are up around 18% of GDP and growing in America but only around 8% in Canada and most countries that offer FREE (tax supported) medical care to their ENTIRE population! If you talk to most people in these countries, they will tell you they have great medical services . WAKE UP, America! We are being fleeced by these mega-companies who have so much money and power that there is little political will to challenge them. The bottom line is that our country cannot continue to pay these companies these exorbitant amounts of money. We do not have to worry about the effect that Russians or climate change will have on our society, our country will collapse under the economic pressure of the medical system. Politicians say that the solution to this problem is to not insure or reduce insurance for a major portion of our population, but that should be unacceptable to any rational human being! If you think about it, it is almost like the alligator eating its own tail, In the end the alligator will die! The bottom line is this: as long as corporate America has its hands in the medical till, we are going to continue down the same doomsday path that our country is headed-to economic collapse. To repeat, it is the greed of corporate America that is taking us down this road while not providing health care to all Americans!
First and most important, we are a nation of immigrants! Almost every one of us is a mixture of several different ethnicities and nationalities. I am part German, French and American Indian, and those are just the ones I know about. Many people believe that this is one of our nation’s strengths! Yes, there is a problem with people crossing our border illegally in large numbers, but one must remember that they are very often fleeing a country that is so poor it cannot provide for its people. They are mostly coming to America, the land of opportunity, just like our ancestors did before us, to find a better life. I think the reason our government refuses to adequately address this issue is that many Americans capitalize on these people’s plight and employ them at substandard wages which takes away some jobs from our own citizens. This is the same thing that happened to many immigrants who came to America in the past. They worked jobs for a low wage that no one else wanted. In many ways we have become a global corporate giant on the backs of early immigrants!
NAFTA: This is an equally difficult problem for us to face as a country. We cannot isolate ourselves from the economic world nor can we allow the world to exploit our sometimes good nature. Somehow we need to make our industrial climate a place where companies choose to stay. This is a hard problem to solve. If a company can get something manufactured in China for considerably less than in our own country, how do we attract them to use American workers that tend to be much more expensive? If you talk to entrepreneurs, they will tell you that they can make money by having their products built-in a foreign country and will be unable to compete if they are built-in America. Many foreign workers work in deplorable conditions for very little compensation. Environmental regulations are almost nonexistent, and employee rights are not even discussed. So, we Americans send our manufacturing to third-world countries to be done and then sent back to us at the expense of our jobs and the loss of human dignity. Of course, people in third-world countries welcome these jobs since they have marginal employment. Here lies the rub: in order for us to remain an economic power, we must offer some service or product that we create and that the world will buy. If we continue to support third world countries and decrease our place as a producer of goods or services, the end is inevitable, and the USA will move away from its position of leadership.
So, Mr Trump, how do you plan to navigate through this difficult situation and bring us to a better place? Maybe you can. Maybe industry will come back to America. Maybe you have the right stuff to bring our crumbling education system, infrastructure, communication system and aging power grid, to name a few, back up to speed. I sure hope so, my kids and grand-kids are depending on it. So President Trump, let’s see if you can make America great again!