Trump’s broken promises to working Americans

Donald Trump and supporters. Source: Quartz

When Donald Trump ran for President, it was on an economic populist platform that, in many ways, put him well to the left of Hillary Clinton and of any Republican since Richard Nixon.

Most of what he promised would have been politically popular, economically feasible and beneficial to American working people—although not necessarily politically feasible.  But none of it was done or even seriously attempted.

Jonathan Chait last week wrote about Trump’s broken promises for New York magazine.  Here’s a short list of Trump promises:

  • Create a health insurance program that covers more people than Obamacare.
  • Negotiate lower drug prices through Medicare.
  • Pull out of NAFTA and negotiate a better trade deal.
  • Raise taxes on the rich, including himself.
  • Enact a $1 trillion infrastructure program (later $1.5 trillion).
  • Enact a six-point plan to curb lobbying, including no lobbying by former government officials or members of Congress until five years after leaving office and curbs on foreign companies making campaign contributions.

Trump has done nothing to replace or reform Obamacare, only made minor changes that make it worse.  Nothing was done to lower drug prices.

Simply canceling NAFTA would have been wrong.  Nations, even superpower nations, can’t just break agreements and not suffer consequences.  But there certainly is a need to renegotiate NAFTA and similar agreements.

The infrastructure plan is now $200 million, and even that has been postponed until next year.

As for putting limits on lobbying—that is a joke!

But I suspect that most Americans aren’t aware of this.  Most of the reporting on Trump has to  do with the Russiagate investigation, or Trump’s scandalous personal behavior, or the latest outrageous thing that Trump has said on social media.

These things matter, of course.  But they have nothing to do with public policy.

It is not that Trump’s bad policies and bad administration aren’t being reported.  How would I know about them if they weren’t?  It is just that this information is submerged under a flood of other information about things that, in the long run, don’t matter.  The human mind has only so much capacity.

The other thing about Trump is that he is a shape-shifter.  It is almost impossible to pin him down.  The position he takes this week may be different from the position he took last week or the position he will take next week.

But Trump’s economic populist program was not a bad one.  Too bad he didn’t mean it.


Donald Trump’s Contract With the American Voter [Added 5/15/2018]

President Trump Has Broken Every Populist Campaign Promise by Jonathan Chait for New York magazine.

Trump’s economic populism has been abandoned by Matthew Yglesias for Vox.

Trump Deceived Those Who Believed His Populist Promises by Eugene Robinson for RealClearPolitics.

Trump’s policies offer plutocracy on steroids, not economic populism by Katrina vanden Heuvel for The Washington Post.

Trump Tries to Kill Obamacare by a Thousand Cuts by the New York Times editorial board.

Donald Trump Unveils His Drug Pricing Plan by Van Newkirk II for The Atlantic.

Trump Threatens Endless Nafta Talks After Walking Back on Autos by Eric Martin, Josh Wingrove and Jason Sink for Bloomberg.

How Trump Turned Tax Day Into a Giveaway for the 1 Percent by Dave Gilson for Mother Jones.

Trump pushes infrastructure plan, but it will likely have to wait until after the midterms by Michael Chia for CNBC.

Whatever Happened to Draining the Swamp? by Conor Friedersdorf for The Atlantic.

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4 Responses to “Trump’s broken promises to working Americans”

  1. 61chrissterry Says:

    Reblogged this on 61chrissterry.


  2. stuartbramhall Says:

    Reblogged this on The Most Revolutionary Act and commented:
    Most of what Trump promised would have been politically popular, economically feasible and beneficial to American working people—although not necessarily politically feasible. But none of it was done or even seriously attempted.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Mark Says:

    Have you compared what is stated by the “New York Magazine” and what is in Trump’s Contract with the American Voter?

    Click to access O-TRU-102316-Contractv02.pdf

    I don’t see a lot of similarity between the two pieces of writing. Here is a quick comparison of the two.
    #1 – … covers more people than Obamacare. The actual statement on P2 starts with “Fully repeal and replace Obamacare….” No mention of “more people”. [NOTE: I don’t think either has been done]
    #2 – Negotiate lower drug prices through Medicare. The contract has no mention of Medicare (Medicaid is mentioned for more state management) and the only drug statement is about streamlining FDA red tape to speed drug approval.
    #3 – Pull out of NAFTA. The contract mentions renegotiations first and withdrawal second. I believe they continue to work the first solution.
    #4 – Raise taxes on the rich…. No, the contract mentions tax simplification and a combination of middle class and corporate tax relief. No mention of taxes for the “rich”.
    #5 – Enact a $1T infrastructure program. P2 of the contract has the $1T number but then says it is over 10 years. I don’t know the period of the $200M, but if that is for a single fiscal year then I see this should be OK.
    #6 – … six point plan to curb lobbying…. The contract says 6 points to clean up corruption and special interest collusion. I believe some of the points (like reducing regulations) have already occurred.
    This contract was certainly a line in the sand by Trump. I would go by what is written here more than interpretations of media or other people.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. philebersole Says:

    No, I didn’t didn’t check Trump’s Contract With the American Voter. Thanks for the link.

    I don’t see anything in the document that’s contrary to Jonathan Chait’s recollection or my own recollection of what was said on the compaign trail. A number of things were said during the campaign that are not included in the document.

    I don’t accuse Donald Trump of breaking ALL his promises—just ones that I think would have been of benefit to American working people.

    Liked by 1 person

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