America Under Trump

 

Hang on, America. It’s going to be a bumpy ride. Here’s what to expect with Donald Trump as President.

Racists Will Be Emboldened

Eight years ago when we elected the first Black President, there was reason to hope that racism was on the decline. Wrong. Sure, there were enough Americans to elect Obama, but what was hidden was that a significant portion of the population hated having a Black President and they’ve been seething with anger for eight years. When the Donald started his race-hating rhetoric, it turned them on. His continued racial slurs during the campaign, combined with his history of being the leader of the birther movement, strongly suggests Trump will set a racist agenda and the racists in the country will be encouraged to attack minorities.

Brandon Miles, Brandon Partin and Michael Miles cheer before Republican U.S. presidential nominee Donald Trump attends a campaign rally at the Silver Spurs Arena in Kissimmee, Florida

Another indication that we will face a racist divide in the U.S. is the appointment of Steve Bannon, an avowed White Nationalist, to the top of Trump’s staff. Trump’s campaign manager, Kellyanne Conway, also came from the Alt-Right.

A spike in racial attacks happened right after Trump was elected. Apparently, his followers couldn’t contain themselves any longer.

I live about ten miles from Springdale, Arkansas, which has a large population of Latinos. The day after the election, printed  deportation notices were being handed out to Mexican-American students at the high school by white students. Latino students were also being told they were going back to Mexico, even though many of them had never been to Mexico. The significant thing is that the election of Trump has allowed racial tensions previously just under the surface to emerge in all their ugliness.

Things Will Get Even Worse For the Middle and Lower Classes

I understand why many people are angry. For the past twenty years, business profits have been hogged up by the business owners, and almost nothing was shared with the workers. The price of nearly everything has risen, but wages have not kept up. The members of the middle and lower classes have been squeezed financially, and their lifestyle has suffered. Neither the Democrats nor the Republicans did anything to protect workers. No wonder they are furious.

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But maybe the saddest thing about the election is this: Voters put in charge the very people who are most likely to continue this oppression. Billionaire Trump has benefited from the funneling of cash to the wealthy. His plan to give tax cuts to the wealthiest Ameridcans  will only make the situation worse. Also, his party, the Republicans, have blocked any increase in the minimum wage,  and Trump has said he supports that position. The moral is this. If you’re a chicken, don’t choose a champion from among the foxes.

Medical Costs Will Spiral Upward

Why, because when the Affordable Care Act is repealed and tens of millions of Americans have their health care taken away, what will they do when they’re sick? Show up at the hospital emergency ward for care. These are poor people, so many of them will not pay for the care they receive. The hospital will then pass on those costs to consumers, and medical costs will soar. Same old deal we had before. Trump’s promise of a “terrific” new health care proposal will turn out to be all hot air.

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Protests In the Streets

About half of all Americans didn’t vote. They no longer believe in the system. About one-fourth of Americans voted for Trump and about one-fourth voted for Clinton. The Clinton supporters are convinced Trump is dangerous and the country is in peril. Their only recourse is to hit the streets and send a warning that disaster looms. If Trump goes ahead with the things he promised, we may be entering a new era of continued protests, much like the protests during the civil rights era and during the Vietnam War. You can dismiss the protesters as a bunch of loud, rude rabble. But remember, it was protests in the streets that finally swayed the public against the Vietnam War. It only takes a  relatively small, vocal group to stage huge protests and there is plenty of anger to fuel their cause.

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Mass Deportations

Trump is backing off his campaign pledge to deport all  illegals, but now he says he’d like to deport two to three million “criminals.”  The logistics of rounding up and transporting millions of people back to their country of origin are staggering. One has to wonder if the only way Trump could do this would be to order the military into the purge creating an American gulag. Trump’s followers are going to expect him to do what he promised during the campaign.  Meanwhile, immigrants are going to surge into the U.S. to get in before Trump builds his promised wall.

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Unnecessary Wars

Every President since Jimmy Carter has sent U.S. soldiers into some country and Jimmy Carter was a one-term President. Flexing with the power of the U.S. military has been a popular move for nearly every President. In the best cases, loss of life has been minimal, as when troops went into places like Panama and Dominica. But other military incursions have been costly, both in lives and dollars. Bush the elder ordered the Persian Gulf War and Bush the younger started major wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. Those wars cost an estimated one trillion dollars and combined with Republican tax cuts crashed the U.S. economy.

Donald Trump :: DUX

Trump said he will quickly wipe out ISIS. The only way that seems likely is if a large American military force is sent into Syria and Iraq. Thousands could die in such a war. But it’s hard to imagine that a “strongman” like Trump wouldn’t use the military somewhere in some unnecessary war.

Reversal On Climate Change

Trump said climate change is a hoax created by and for the Chinese. Usually, new Presidents honor the treaty agreements made by their predecessor, but Trump has said he will pull the U.S. out of the Paris climate agreement. If the major powers fail to act soon to control climate change, it may become too late, and the planet will go into a  unstoppable death spiral. Maybe not, but is the death of human life on the planet something we should risk? Trump already has a climate change denier picked out to head the EPA. At least until Trump gets rid of the EPA altogether, if he does what he promised. In the long run, this may be Trump’s most dangerous policy, endangering not just Americans, but everyone on earth.

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Impeachment

This may seem like a long shot, but some pundits are already predicting Trump will be impeached. Given Trump’s long record of clashing with authority, his thousands of lawsuits, and the likelihood that he will continue to cross the line, this isn’t that farfetched. It’s already clear that he will be battling in courts against fraud for Trump University and a rape accusation. Given the character of this egotistical mogul, he may not last.

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The New Robber Barons

The New Robber Barons

income-inequality-usa-06The world and in particular the United   States seems to be moving rapidly into a new age of robber barons.

A recent report from Oxfam International held a shocking stat. The 85 richest people on the planet have cornered as much wealth as the bottom half of all the people on earth. In other words, 85 people now own as much as 3.5 billion people.

Perhaps even more startling is that the richest 1 percent of the world population has about 65 times as much as the 3.5 billion poorest people. The top 1 percent has $110 trillion, compared to only $1.7 trillion shared by the lowest 50 percent of people.

Oxfam found the money was going in the same direction in all 26 countries in the study.

imagesCAT6F4KQThe income inequality trend has actually been accelerating worldwide, and especially gaining momentum in the U.S. Since 1980, the richest 1 percent of people in the U.S. has seen their wealth grow 150 percent, while 90 percent of the overall population has lost income.

More recently, since 2009, of all the wealth created in the U.S., 95 percent has gone to the wealthiest 1 percent.

How are the rich able to snatch more and more of the available resources? The Oxfam reported cited low taxes on the rich and their ability to avoid taxes through tax shelters and loopholes.income-inequality-usa-13

There’s been a lot of talk lately about income inequality, with even President Obama identifying it as a big threat. Most of the talk centers around the problem as an economic issue. But when so much wealth is concentrated among so few individuals, and people die or suffer as a result, it’s actually a moral question: Is this kind of super wealth a form of evil?

America is often labeled a Christian nation, especially by Christians and if you look at the foundation of Christianity, it’s very anti-wealth. The Bible famously states that, “The love of money is the root of all evil,” and Jesus chased the money changers out of the temple and said “It is easier for a camel to pass through the eye of a needle than for a rich man to enter heaven.”

So it seems strange that Christians seem to be largely silent against excessive wealth. When was the last time any Christian leader condemned the wealthy?

But forget about condemnation. Actually, just the opposite is going down. Being wealthy enough to have way more than you need to sustain a comfortable lifestyle is not only an acceptable, but widely lauded goal, in our capitalist society. Billionaires in our culture are not looked on with scorn. They are celebrated celebrities who are admired for having achieved the American dream.

One indicator of just how bad things already are is that the super wealthy have now become so powerful that they are virtually beyond the law. The financial crisis that brought down major financial institutions in the U.S. about five years ago caused tremendous loss, but the wealthy financiers who caused it are still unpunished. The government says they are studying ways to prosecute them, but nothing is really happening. Try stealing something from Wal-Mart and see how long the prosecutors study on whether to throw you in jail. The more you steal today, the less likely you are to face any prison time.

No, just like The Wolf of Wall Street, you’re perceived to be a colorful dynamo. If you’re one of those hoarders on a TV reality show, people think you’re weird. But if you hoard money, you’re viewed as a leader.

The nasty downside of monumental wealth is that there is a finite amount of resources on the planet, and when some people have far more than they can ever use, it leaves many others with less than enough to live on or, even more radically, people die because they can’t get enough food to eat.

With so much wealth at the top of the pyramid, there’s just not enough to go around. Of the earth’s 7 billion inhabitants, 1.2 billion live on $1.25 or less per day. More than 800 million people struggle daily with hunger. An estimated 2.6 million children die of hunger every year.

And with more money moving into the hands of fewer people, those problems are only goingincomeeq to get worse. Poverty, starvation, and deprival will increase. The middle class, the banner lifestyle of Americans for generations, is disappearing. If the trend toward concentration of wealth continues, the U.S. will devolve into a two-class society.

The view of the wealthy needs to change, and they need to be reined in. The old term robber barons is a pretty good description of what the wealthy are doing. The truth is that many wealthy individuals are obsessed with acquiring as much wealth as they can. Their whole life is about piling up lucre, and they don’t care what it does to the masses. Their attitude is, get your own.

Let’s stop admiring the super wealthy. Many of them are dangerous freaks. Don’t believe me? Ask yourself this: If you won $50 million dollars in the lottery tomorrow, what would you do? You’d probably quit your job and retire to a life of luxury for the rest of your life. That’s what most everyone would do.

Except for the types who can never have enough, those who aspire to be super wealthy. If they have $50 million, they’re striving to turn it into $100 million. If they have $100 million, they want to have $1 billion. And it never ends. They can never get enough, because they are fixated only on acquiring wealth.

And it’s become obvious that it doesn’t take that many of these types to create a worldwide crisis, with less than 100 people hoarding as much as 3.5 billion. Things are way out of balance.

What’s the answer? Remember when you were a child and you were taught the importance of sharing? The rich must be forced to share. Sure, most of them do some philanthropy to make themselves look good. But, at the same time, they’re hanging on to most of what they have and plotting to get more.

So someone needs to act to reverse the money flow downward instead of upward.

If that doesn’t happen the risks are enormous, and inevitable, and when people finally get enough of the rich not sharing the resources of the planet, the problem will be resolved by force. But we don’t have to get to that point. One of the dictates of our all cultures should be that society strives for the greatest good for the most people, not for the excesses of a few.