Trump Week 1

Well — we’ve lived through the first week of Trump’s America. On the surface, not a lot has changed — I still ride the MTA to work, my power is still on, and my local grocery markets are still in place. Yet there are increasing signs that we’re heading towards something new — and I don’t think for the better.

On a host of issues, Trump’s executive order about immigration, the Wall, the Affordable Care Act, etc., we’re seeing a clear break with precedent and a move towards volatility. And that the center of it all is Donald Trump. That’s what will define his presidency and what will drive it’s careening pathway forward.

A looming trade war with Mexico + China, a shift away from formal diplomacy to personal relationships without a clear strategy, etc., are all dangerous things. And don’t reflect the economic realities of 2017. Trade is good — and more trade is really good for the United States. Diplomacy is a central tenet of the United State’s foreign policy and strategy — throwing it out the window in favor of more “personalized” relationships isn’t a good idea. But it is Trump’s methodology and we’ll see what it nets us.

And then there’s domestic policy. The kinds of things Trump’s voters want are just not going to happen. Manufacturing has changed and evolved, coal mining is dead, and alternative fuels are on the rise. The rush to remove the ACA as well as Trump’s promise that no one will lose their insurance, pay more $$, & get better coverage will hurt those his core voters. His attacks on reproductive rights, regulation, and facts will be galvanizing for his opponents. That said — there are some real grievances from people living in the “Rust Belt.” That they’ve been left behind and displaced in the 21st century. My qualm with the Trump administration’s approach is that we should not aim to revive the past — we should be bringing these people into the 21st century. Who cares if you bring back manufacturing and it only brings back 2,000 jobs instead of 20,000? Whats if those jobs pay 2/3 of what they used to? How about people working in related or reliant businesses? What will happen to them if their customers only have 66% of their previous purchasing power? And then what’ll happen if you pair this with a 20% increase in imported goods? What if that iPhone you have now costs $800 instead of $600? And what if their premiums (despite all assurances from the President) for healthcare go up 20%? Now you’re looking at increased costs across the board, lower paying jobs, and people who’re in a worse position. The remedy is to promote 21st century jobs — in new energy jobs (like solar or wind), software engineering, robots, etc. Without the required skills the people most affected by the 21st century and the decline of traditional economic methods will continue to be left in the dust.

And this is all without touching social issues. Abortion, gay marriage are still (bewilderingly) hot button social issues. Why? If you believe in personal choice then you should support people having the ability to make their own decisions regarding abortions. I believe in religious liberty — but not religious imposition. If you don’t believe in abortion then do not get one, but don’t think that this gives you the right to dictate other people’s choices. If you don’t believe in gay marriage then do not get gay married. On the other hand, while you should be free to believe whatever you’d like it should not be a pass for discrimination. The distressing thing (for me) is that a lot of these issues were settled a long time ago and are now being brought back to the forefront.

My analysis of Trump’s first week is that this will definitely be the Trump presidency. Not the American presidency — just Trump. It’s disheartening and troubling. I do not believe that this “honeymoon” will last, but I’m not sure what week #2 will bring. Or even year #1.