I don’t personally know many Donald Trump supporters. But I can understand why somebody might be so fed up with what’s happened during the past eight years or sixteen years or twenty-four years that they might turn to somebody such as Donald Trump.
People will overlook many faults in a leader if they think the leader is on their side. I think that’s why Trump’s offensive and foolish statements, which would have sunk any ordinary candidate, are overlooked.
Many people think—wrongly—that they have nothing to lose and might as well take a chance on Trump.
Unfortunately, Trump is not really on the side of working people, as is shown by his record in business, by the people on his political and economic team and by his economic policies (provided you read the fine print).
His record as a businessperson shows that he hired unauthorized immigrants so as to be able to pay sweatshop wages and that he often refused to pay employees and contractors what he owed.
His economic advisers are mostly Wall Street investors and hedge fund managers—the type of people he’s denounced on the campaign trail.
And although his actual proposals contain a few things I agree with, it is basically the same old 30-year-old Republican formula—cut taxes (especially on the rich), cut government spending (except on the military) and eliminate regulations to protect workers, public health and the environment.
Matthew Yglesias pointed out for Vox that if Trump does what he says he’s going to do:
The result would be a sweeping transformation of American life. Millions would be forcibly removed from their homes and communities as new resources and a new mission invigorate the pace of deportations. Taxes would drop sharply for the richest Americans while rising for many middle–class families.
Millions of low–income Americans would lose their health insurance, while America’s banks would enjoy the repeal of regulations enacted in the wake of the financial crisis.
Environmental Protection Agency regulation of greenhouse gas emissions would end, likely collapsing global efforts to restrain emissions, greatly increasing the pace of warming.
Like Hillary Clinton and Jill Stein, Trump favors a federal public works program to rebuild American infrastructure. However, as Jordan Weissman pointed out for Slate:
Under Trump’s plan—at least as it’s written—the federal government would offer tax credits to private investors interested in funding large infrastructure projects, who would put down some of their own money up front, then borrow the rest on the private bond markets. They would eventually earn their profits on the back end from usage fees, such as highway and bridge tolls (if they built a highway or bridge) or higher water rates (if they fixed up some water mains). So instead of paying for their new roads at tax time, Americans would pay for them during their daily commute. And of course, all these private developers would earn a nice return at the end of the day.
Trump advocates eliminating the Department of Education and the Environmental Protection Agency. He wants to repeal the Dodd-Frank bank regulation bill.
He would repeal Obamacare and replace it with a patchwork of tax breaks to help offset medical bills—which would primarily benefit people with high incomes.
Trump has said some things that might tempt me to vote for him—if I could trust him to do what he says, and if those things weren’t offset by other things he has said.
He has promised to preserve Social Security and Medicare.
He is opposed to the Trans-Pacific Partnership, which he correctly sees as threat to U.S. national sovereignty. He favors a policy of economic nationalism and retaliation against countries such as China whose policies are adverse to the United States.
The problem with that is that, in the short run, imposing tariffs on imports does not help American manufacturers if the manufacturing capacity no longer exists. All it does is increase the prices on American consumers.
What’s needed is a way to increase the competitiveness of American industry. Trump’s formula for increasing competitiveness is to reduce corporate taxes, eliminate or drastically reduce governmental regulations and possibly eliminate the federal minimum wage.
He’s been all over the map on minimum wage. A year ago, he said American wages are too high, but quickly backtracked when he was criticized.
Trump’s cure for unemployment is his infrastructure program and deregulation of the energy industry, supposedly leading to more jobs in fracking, oil and gas pipelines and so on. Jill Stein has a Green New Deal; you could say Trump has a Brown New Deal.
The problem with that is that such a program already exists—President Obama’s “all of the above” energy policy. It’s been a mixed blessing for the fossil fuel industry—more production leading to a greater supply, lower prices and lower profits.
In short, like many a politician before him, Trump has promised to cut taxes drastically, while starting new spending programs and balancing the budget “in the near future.” It is, of course, impossible to do all three.
But my main reason for distrusting Donald Trump is his record as a sleazy businessman—someone with a record of taking advantage of his investors, his contractors and his customers. Why should any working person, or anybody else, trust him now?
Trumponomics, Taxes and the American Worker by David Cay Johnston for the Washington Spectator.
Mass media has utterly failed to convey the policy stakes in the election by Matthew Yglesias for Vox. [added 11/6/2016]
Donald Trump’s Plans to Privatize America’s Roads and Bridges by Jordan Weissmann for Slate. [added 11/6/2016]
Donald Trump’s history of corruption: a comprehensive review by Andrew Prokop for Vox.
The Many Scandals of Donald Trump: a Cheat Sheet by David A. Graham for The Atlantic.
Where Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump Stand on Wall Street by Donna Borak and Henry Williams for the Wall Street Journal.
Donald Trump Is The Anti-Labor Day Candidate, Running Against Fair Wages, Worker Rights and Unions by John Nichols for The Nation.
A guide to all of Donald Trump’s flip-flops on minimum wage by Michelle Ye Hee Hee for The Washington Post.
Donald Trump’s tax plan gives the top 0.1 percent $1.3 million each by Dylan Matthews for Vox.
Donald Trump would raise taxes on millions of middle-class families by Dylan Matthews for Vox.
Trump’s economic advisers are also his biggest donors by Shane Goldmacher for POLITICO.
Behind Closed Doors, Donald Trump’s Adviser Explains His New Economic Plan by Christina Wilkie for Huffington Post.
Trump’s Business Record – He Bullied Ordinary Citizens by Mark Antonio Wright for National Review.
Note: On Nov. 6, 2016, I added the Matthew Yglesias and Jordan Weissmann quotes and deleted two paragraphs of my own comments on Donald Trump’s infrastructure plan.