The Broken Promises of Trumpenomics and Ryanomics

From manufacturing jobs to agribusiness to affordable health care made available to more Americans, the GOP leadership is in the midst of pulling off one of the biggest bait and switch schemes in the history of campaign trail whoppers. Fortunately, the reality of market forces and economic fundamentals has a choke hold on some of the empty promises of the new administration and same old Congress in Washington. Unfortunately, however, there is still a path of pain that the current leadership is able to force Americans to walk.

Many people are counting on a Trumpian promise of seeing their factory jobs (yes, there are factories in rural America, too) return from cheap labor markets short on health and safety requirements, like China and Vietnam. Instead the administration rolls out the red carpet for the leaders of those very same countries, along with Saudi Arabia and a growing list of others. The GOP leadership in Congress refuses to allow even this GOP White House to penalize corporations, individuals and investors who move U.S. jobs overseas, choosing excessive greed over a profitable greater good of America. Off-shoring American jobs is a big part of why the manufacturing sector is on unstable ground for U.S. workers.

The promise of jobs returning from overseas is deceptive. No matter how much happy talk comes out of the White House, the truth is despite facing slower growth, China will continue to outpace the industrialized world in creating new manufacturing jobs, and tiny Vietnam enjoys a $32 billion trade surplus with the U.S. that will never be balanced.  It’s the difference between sound economic fundamentals and the Trumpenomics era of broken promises and a fictional pot of gold at the end of a rainbow. Even the most optimistic projections forecast only minimal growth for those coveted U.S. factory jobs that are essential to rural, suburban and urban workers alike. Very few jobs that moved overseas are likely to return to the U.S., do we must be innovative and ensure existing and new jobs remain here.

The fact is economics of global trade is not something the White House or Congress should pretend they can alter with a few meaningless words (like “We’re going to win so much, you’re going to be tired of winning.”), but how the government invests tax dollars is something the leadership has complete control over. Sadly, that isn’t working out very well for most Americans, either. It’s no less than shocking the amount of anguish the Republican bean counters plan to dish out to Americans with their budgetary politics, especially to older voters and the most vulnerable citizens.

Trump backers are not immune to the suffering. Washington insider Ronald Brownstein details the callousness the administration shows its own supporters in The Atlantic, explaining “because Trump extends his budget cuts so deeply and broadly through income-support programs, the reductions still inevitably reach many of the lower-income and less-educated whites that have emerged as the cornerstone of the modern Republican coalition. Brownstein cites several powerful examples of how white Americans are targeted to lose coverage under the Ryancare/Trumpcare swindle, pointing to one study that paints a bullseye on millions of white Americans in the rural Midwest, the largest sub-group to receive health insurance under Obamacare.

The Trump budget specifically takes a chainsaw to programs that support farmers, ranchers and related agribusiness, clear cutting through insurance, loans and subsidies that put food on America’s table and money in the pockets of American voters. It is a strange way of saying “thank you” to the rural residents that played such an integral role in electing the GOP leadership in the White House and Congress.

It’s worth citing one pledge the White House recently announced it’s keeping: the withdrawal from the nearly universal global membership of the Paris Climate Accord. However, even that stunt is part of a larger broken promise: the return of jobs in the coal industry. Just as the Trump administration was announcing a gradual exit from that deal to limit the role mankind has in the earth’s changing climate, New England’s last big coal-fired plant and two others were being shut down — and there was not a thing anyone in elected office could do about it. It’s all about market forces. Natural gas is cheaper and cleaner than coal. Period. The promise of a new life for coal country is a bad joke played on good Americans who deserved to hear the truth, not a pack of lies that give them and their families false hope.

Quitting the Paris Accord is also putting in jeopardy the growth of the U.S. renewable energy sector, a vast job creator for Americans that is significantly outpacing the mature fossil fuels industry. What is truly amazing about the decision to give up the leadership position the U.S. enjoyed atop the Paris Climate Accord (ceding that role to China, of all places) is the economic impact that move will have on Americans. As one very smart analysis shows, the U.S. is going to lose jobs, wealth and economic clout with that decision to dump the Paris Accord. The current leadership in the White House and Congress is putting the future of the U.S. at risk with such thoughtless moves, and for no good reason other than petty politics.

The partisans and pundits in Washington will tell us “don’t worry, the White House budget will never see the light of day once Speaker Ryan takes over the process,” but there is plenty of evidence that Ryanomics will be just as painful as the blistering budget and short-sighted policies that the White House concocted. It’s all supposed to make the GOP base feel good, yet other than the trillions in tax cuts promised for the wealthiest among us, the never-ending broken promises hurt most of the voters that elected this Republican administration and Congress in the first place. Like all Americans, they deserve better.

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