Wednesday, June 14, 2017

Are you + the U.S. better off than you were 4+ months ago (before Trump made America great)?

During the October 28, 1980, presidential debate between President Jimmy Carter and then presidential candidate Ronald Reagan, Reagan famously called on Americans to ask themselves:
'Are you better off now than you were four years ago? Is it easier for you to go and buy things in the stores than it was four years ago? Is there more or less unemployment in the country than there was four years ago? Is America as respected throughout the world as it was?'
It was a thought-provoking question. And the answer, or so it would appear from Reagan's victory, was "no."

I've been thinking a lot about that quote since Donald Trump took office, and promised to make America great again within 100 days.

So how is Trump doing? Are we (or you) better off than we/you were 4+ months ago?

Speaking personally, the answer is no.

Since Trump took office, our health insurance has gone way up. The value of our house has gone way down. I lost my main source of employment -- and have been unable to find a new one (or one that pays anywhere close to what I was earning, which wasn't much).

I worry about whether we and our children and grandchildren will have clean air to breathe and clean water to drink and whether the Earth will wind up looking like Venus. I worry about Trump starting a nuclear war. I worry about the rights of women and blacks/African Americans and other minorities. And I worry that if I go see a doctor or mental health professional about my anxiety our insurance premiums will skyrocket -- and mental healthcare isn't covered anyway.

As for Reagan's last question, "Is America as respected throughout the world as it was?" The short answer is, no, not even close. In fact, in just over four months, the United States has become the laughingstock of the world, thanks to Trump, who is a constant embarrassment on the world stage. And countries, including the UK (which has its own problems) and Canada, two of the United States's staunchest allies, are distancing themselves from Trump.

Regarding whether it's "easier for you to go and buy things in the store that it was four years ago," I don't have an answer.

And while technically the unemployment rate is low, and was low before Trump took office, I know a whole lot of people who have given up looking for full-time, or even part-time, work, or who found work but now make less money than they did four or 10 or 15 years ago. And I don't see this changing anytime soon, despite what Trump said or says. In fact, companies are continuing to automate and shift jobs out of the country -- and hiring fewer people to do more. And many people who do have jobs aren't paid a livable wage, which Trump and the Republicans don't see as a problem.

Sure, some people -- namely the very rich -- are better off, at least financially, than they were four months ago (thanks to a surging stock market and the rollback of certain regulations). But is America really better off? Are you?


Steven Friedlander said...

LOVE J's political commentary. Alwats thought-provoking and compelling. J For America's Columnist! (I want you to interview Alex Jones; fire Megyn Kelly!)

J. said...

Thanks for the love, Steven, but I wouldn't touch or go near Alex Jones with a microphone or a 10-foot pole. He's a despicable human being who should be ignored (not given any airtime). I feel awful for all those parents in Sandy Hook. WTF was NBC thinking giving Alex Jones a platform and having Kelly, a lightweight, do the interview -- and deciding to air the segment on Father's Day? I am appalled.