Sunday, January 1, 2017

Happy New Year! but Curb Your Enthusiasm

Photo by Seb
Donald Trump's promises to voters during the campaign were, for the most part, encouraging and even plausible. On the other hand, of the 282 Trump vows collected by Jenna Johnson for the Washington Post, there are many that I abjure (mainly regarding capitalism, the environment, and localism), to a degree that I actively oppose the PEOTUS. Rather than rehash those dividing lines, I picked out the statements from the long list that are just a bit too over the top and comment on why I predict that 2017 will not include or lead to these accomplishments:
9. Make the auto industry in Michigan “bigger and better and stronger than ever before.” Trump plans to return to the state each time a new factory or auto plant opens. - This presumes long-term economic growth, but the U.S. is stuck with low or no growth due to financial and resource issues.
10. Bring the coal industry back to life in the Appalachian Mountain region. - The tide is running strongly in favor of growth in renewable and natural gas generation, rather than coal.
18. “My only special interest is you, the American people,” not major donors, the party or corporations. - His very special interests are himself,his family, and their businesses.
39. Eliminate the $19 trillion national debt within eight years by “vigorously eliminating waste, fraud and abuse in the federal government, ending redundant government programs and growing the economy to increase tax revenues.” - Growth will not happen to that extent, especially while retiring a $19 trillion debt. Many of the inefficiencies are in DoD, but that department will probably not shrink while growing the military. I expect that any growth will come from spending on wartime mobilization, which will actually grow the national debt and drive sweeping change throughout the nation.
161. Target and kill the relatives of suspected terrorists, a violation of international law. - Only if this were covered up would it last for long before someone was prosecuted.
193. Restore and protect the Florida Everglades, even though it’s a “rough-looking sight down there.” - Warming, rising seas will submerge the Everglades.
196. Negotiate rates for these [infrastructure] projects that are one-third of what the United States is currently paying. “Cut wasteful spending on boondoggles” by streamlining the permit and approval processes. - I'm all for stretch goals, but a 67% rate cut is pretty hard to swallow.
228. Rebuild and fix inner cities, especially Detroit. “The inner cities are unbelievably dangerous. The education is no good, the safety is horrible, and there are no jobs. And I tell everybody: ‘What the hell do you have to lose?’ I’m going to fix it.” - Micromanagement by the federal government is not the answer.  In fact, Detroit had a federally appointed city manager for several years, but it still turns out to be, in Trump's estimation, a highly dysfunctional city.
229. Quickly end inner-city violence, which Trump has repeatedly compared to war zones. “I’ll be able to make sure that when you walk down the street in your inner city, or wherever you are, you’re not gonna be shot. Your child isn’t gonna be shot.” - How is he going to stop the crazies? See 252.
232. “And at the end of four years, I guarantee you that I will get over 95 percent of the African American vote. I promise you. Because I will produce.” - Race correlates with voting preference in presidential elections, but most of Trump's opponents are better aligned with African Americans. Trump got only 8% of the African American vote this time.
235. “Dismantle every last criminal gang and cartel threatening our cities. . . . They are not going to be here very long, folks. They’re gonna be out of here.” - If he manages to dismantle them, many will regroup under looser, more agile leadership, just as Islamic terrorist groups have over the past decade.
236. Immediately stop the killing of police officers. “It’s going to stop, okay? It’s going to stop. We’re going to be law and order. It’s going to stop.” - See 235.  Anti-police violence may be subdued, especially due to a mobilized citizenry, but it won't stop entirely.
239. Ensure that firefighters are not shot at when they are responding to a fire. How is he going to stop the crazies? See 252.
247. “We will be one people under one God.” - Revoking or revising the 1st Amendment will be hard, much as he may try. Even if this refers to an inclusive Abrahamic God, it would exclude many other faiths.
252. Use “common sense” to fix the mental health system to prevent mass shootings. Expand treatment programs and reform laws to make it easier to take preventive action. - Identifying likely mass shooters would take a lot more than common sense and is probably beyond current mental health state of the art. "Preventive action" would involve widespread gun seizures, probably directed at people with anti-Trumpist views, e.g. protesters who get arrested and summarily prosecuted.  Could be reminiscent of Nazi Germany.
276. “Whether you vote for me or not, I’m with you. I will never ever let you down.” - You can't please all of the people all of the time.
277. “I will give you everything.” - ('Except what's mine, which will be so much more.')
So, that's only 17 out of 282 campaign promises that I can confidently predict won't be fulfilled the way Trump said. Maybe he would call these obvious exaggerations "locker room talk." Not bad (provided you agree with the 265 other things Trump has promised to deliver). If he is able to make good on even half of those plausible pledges, we are in for a lot of change in 2017.

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