Click amount to donate direct to CounterPunch
  • $25
  • $50
  • $100
  • $500
  • $other
  • use PayPal
Spring Fund Drive: Keep CounterPunch Afloat
CounterPunch is a lifeboat of sanity in today’s turbulent political seas. Please make a tax-deductible donation and help us continue to fight Trump and his enablers on both sides of the aisle. Every dollar counts!
FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail

“Making America Great” at Americans’ Expense

Donald J. Trump was a builder of casinos and high-priced hotels and golf courses. Now he is a builder of a tower of contradictions for the American people that is making “America Great” at their expense.

He made many conflicting promises throughout his presidential campaign. He was going to be the “voice of the people.” He was going to make their safety and their job expansion his number one priority. He was going to make sure that everybody had health insurance under his then unannounced plan. He was going to deregulate businesses, cut taxes, increase the military budget, build and repair the country’s public infrastructure and not surge the deficit. He was going to scrap the trade agreements known as NAFTA and the WTO.

Now in the White House, he proceeds to push programs and policies that contradict many of his promises. He is ballooning an already massive, bloated military budget by cutting the health and safety budgets of consumer, environmental and labor regulatory agencies and housing and energy assistance. Reportedly he wants to cut one billion dollars out of the budget of the Centers for Disease Control that works to detect and prevent global epidemics! Just today, the Congressional Budget Office announced that under the proposed Republican Health Plan, 24 million people will lose health care by 2026. Apparently he is oblivious to the perils of Avian Flu, SARS, Ebola and Zika threatening our national security and the health and lives of millions of people.

There is more to this emerging betrayal. Trump is supporting Republican Speaker of the House Paul Ryan’s “you’re on your own, folks” devastating health insurance plan. Slash and burn Ryan, comfortably fully insured by the taxpayers, publicly admits he doesn’t know how many people will lose their health insurance. Imagine the impact of strip-mining Medicaid on the poor – nearly 70 million, including many children, are on that program. Runaway Ryan even fantasizes over going after Medicare next and corporatize it.

Republicans such as Mick Mulvaney, the new director of Trump’s Office of Management and Budget, argue that these measures are necessary for “efficiency.” Yet neither Trump, nor Mulvaney, nor Ryan, nor Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell have ever gone after $60 billion in business fraud on Medicare each year. The Congressional Government Accountability Office’s (GAO) reports ten percent of all health care spending is drained away by computer billing fraud and abuse.=That would be about $340 billion this year alone – an estimate considered rock bottom by the nation’s leading expert on health care billing fraud – Professor Malcolm Sparrow of Harvard University!

It gets nuttier. Trump wants to increase the budget of the sprawling Department of Homeland Security but cut the budget of the US Coast Guard (which is part of the Department) and whose budget is already strapped in safeguarding our coastlines (See David Helvarg’s engrossing book, Rescue Warriors, which describes the Coast Guard’s often unsung missions).

Trump seems unwilling to oppose the more extreme “mad dogs” among the Congressional Republicans who want to erase the budgets for legal services for the poor (150 corporate law firms last week signed a letter saying they support maintaining the budget for legal services for the poor), public broadcasting and the National Endowments for the Arts and Humanities. The total number of dollars for all these programs is about $1 billion annually, or one thirteenth the cost of another redundant air craft carrier (we already have twelve in service—more active service carriers than the rest of the world combined).

Moreover, this self-touted “voice of the people” is instead placing in the highest government positions the “voices” of Wall Street billionaires. Next door to his Oval Office is Gary Cohn, former Goldman Sachs boss, a supposedly smart man who just mimicked Trump by absurdly claiming “we have no alternative but to reinvest in our military and make ourselves a military power once again.” Who in the world doesn’t think US Empire, bristling with arrays of weapons of mass destruction and able to immediately destroy far weaker adversaries in the air, on the sea and land is not a military power?

Wall Street and the mega-wealthy now run the Treasury Department, the State Department, and the Department of Education while corporatists and militarists run other major departments and agencies. Where are the people’s voices in that plutocratic park?

As the opposition coalesces in their resistance to various measures pushed by Trump’s tantrums, it is interesting to note the surprising diversity of those challenging President Trump. More than a few corporate leaders are appalled by extreme Trumpism and their opposition is not restricted to the destabilizing bill to replace Obamacare or to Silicon Valley.

Sure, corporate CEOs are tempted by the tax cuts and jettisoning of some regulations. But they know they are making record after-tax profits, record corporate after-tax pay for themselves, and the stock market is soaring. As they watch the growing rumble from the people in street demonstrations and at Congressional town meetings, there is building a little foreboding.

They’re thinking – why rock the boats (or yachts) – Trump is taking away what people already have – their health insurance – and their health and safety protections while the Republicans plan to continue depressing their vote and rigging the electoral districts by gerrymandering. When a society, blocked from advancing justice, is unraveling what fair play there remains, the corporate bosses, who see beyond tomorrow, get worried, for good reason.

The tower of contradictions, being constructed by Trump and the most extreme Republican Party in its history, won’t be camouflaged or distracted for long by provocative, prevaricating 3:00 am tweets from the White House.

More articles by:

Ralph Nader is a consumer advocate, lawyer and author of Only the Super-Rich Can Save Us! 

Weekend Edition
May 18, 2018
Friday - Sunday
Andrew Levine
The Donald, Vlad, and Bibi
Robert Fisk
How Long Will We Pretend Palestinians Aren’t People?
Jeffrey St. Clair
Wild at Heart: Keeping Up With Margie Kidder
Roger Harris
Venezuela on the Eve of Presidential Elections: The US Empire Isn’t Sitting by Idly
Michael Slager
Criminalizing Victims: the Fate of Honduran Refugees 
John Laforge
Don’t Call It an Explosion: Gaseous Ignition Events with Radioactive Waste
Carlo Filice
The First “Fake News” Story (or, What the Serpent Would Have Said)
Dave Lindorff
Israel Crosses a Line as IDF Snipers Murder Unarmed Protesters in the Ghetto of Gaza
Gary Leupp
The McCain Cult
Robert Fantina
What’s Wrong With the United States?
Jill Richardson
The Lesson I Learned Growing Up Jewish
David Orenstein
A Call to Secular Humanist Resistance
W. T. Whitney
The U.S. Role in Removing a Revolutionary and in Restoring War to Colombia
Rev. William Alberts
The Danger of Praying Truth to Power
Alan Macleod
A Primer on the Venezuelan Elections
John W. Whitehead
The Age of Petty Tyrannies
Franklin Lamb
Have Recent Events Sounded the Death Knell for Iran’s Regional Project?
Brian Saady
How the “Cocaine Mitch” Saga Deflected the Spotlight on Corruption
David Swanson
Tim Kaine’s War Scam Hits a Speed Bump
Norah Vawter
Pipeline Outrage is a Human Issue, Not a Political Issue
Mel Gurtov
Who’s to Blame If the US-North Korea Summit Isn’t Held?
Patrick Bobilin
When Outrage is Capital
Jessicah Pierre
The Moral Revolution America Needs
Binoy Kampmark
Big Dead Place: Remembering Antarctica
John Carroll Md
What Does It Mean to be a Physician Advocate in Haiti?
George Ochenski
Saving Sage Grouse: Another Collaborative Failure
Sam Husseini
To the US Government, Israel is, Again, Totally Off The Hook
Brian Wakamo
Sick of Shady Banks? Get a Loan from the Post Office!
Colin Todhunter
Dangerous Liaison: Industrial Agriculture and the Reductionist Mindset
Ralph Nader
Trump: Making America Dread Again
George Capaccio
Bloody Monday, Every Day of the Week
Barbara Nimri Aziz
Swing Status, Be Gone
Samantha Krop
Questioning Our Declaration on Human Rights
Morna McDermott
Classrooms, Not Computers: Stop Educating for Profit
Patrick Walker
Today’s Poor People’s Campaign: Too Important Not to Criticize
Julia Stein
Wrestling With Zionism
Clark T. Scott
The Exceptional President
Barry Barnett
The Family of Nations Needs to Stand Up to the US  
Robert Koehler
Two Prongs of a Pitchfork
Bruce Raynor
In an Age of Fake News, Journalists Should be Activists for Truth
Max Parry
The U.S. Won’t Say ‘Genocide’ But Cares About Armenian Democracy?
William Gudal
The History of Israel on One Page
Robert Jensen
Neither cis nor TERF
Louis Proyect
Faith or Action in a World Hurtling Toward Oblivion?
David Yearsley
The Ubiquitous Mr. Desplat
FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail