Possible to Find a Respectful Pause?
The presidential election has come as a surprise to much of the American public resulting in a 50 percent division in this country as to who should lead and how. With one candidate winning the popular vote and the other winning the election with a majority of the electoral college, there seems to be no clear mandate.
While the Democratic leadership has gracefully accepted defeat, young people throughout the country are protesting. More protests are in store although it’s next to impossible to change the outcome. Even the president-elect himself is already taking a step back on some of his committed reforms including building the wall (now it’s a fence) and outright cancelling the national health insurance program.
The impact of this election remains large: racism and sexism, environmental issues, civil rights and the impact on the economy.
With a Republican controlled congress that does not perfectly align with President-elect Trump, not all of his proposals are guaranteed to pass. However, you can be assured that taxes will be lower and Obamacare will be cancelled (what parts, if any, are kept will impact 20 million people’s healthcare while local hospitals may be left with the responsibility of the uninsured).
If you’re a Trump supporter, then you likely believe that the economy that has been steadily improving for the last eight years will now begin a fast track of positive results. We hope this is the case. There is the possibility that lower taxes will mean increased investments and jobs — for everyone — even those in the coal mines and manufacturing areas in the East (General Motors just announced it would cut more than 2,000 factory jobs in Michigan and Ohio, two states that voted for Trump. The layoffs are said to be due to declining car sales). It is uncertain how Trump will be able to save those jobs.
Trump wants to slash taxes across the board for households by combining the seven tax brackets into three, in which the top rate would fall to 33 from 39.6 percent. According to the Tax Policy Center (TPC) all Americans would pay less taxes, but the biggest benefits would go to the wealthy. Tax cuts would average about $1,000 for those with middle incomes and about $110 for the poor, the TPC estimates.
Corporate tax rates would plunge to 15 from 35 percent and the rate for smaller businesses that pay the personal rate would drop to 15 percent. However, tax revenue could fall by $6.2 trillion over the next decade, the TPC says. Trump says the shortfall could be closed by new revenue from a more vibrant economy and spending cuts.
While we pause to see what the future brings, these are important economic issues to watch:
• Trade agreements (withdrawing from the Trans-Pacific Partnership and renegotiating the North American Free Trade Agreement)
• Cancelling Obamacare (healthcare companies and pharmaceuticals stock prices have jumped due to the prospect of new business from those who formerly bought care through federal exchanges)
• Mass deportation of 11 million undocumented immigrants (which could tighten an already stretched labor market)
• Threatening tariffs of 45 percent on Chinese imports and 35 percent on Mexican products (the outcome could result in a trade war with those countries)
• Dismantling Dodd-Frank (financial regulations put in place after the Great Recession meant to prevent another financial collapse)
• Threatening the independence of the Federal Reserve
• Eliminating the budget sequester that caps military spending and authorizing building new ships, planes and increasing troops
• Rolling back environmental regulations on coal (a boon for miners like Arch Coal and Consol Energy) and withdrawing from the Paris Climate Agreement thus erasing restrictions on U.S. greenhouse gas emissions. As a matter of official policy, both Trump and the Republican Party deny that humans cause climate change and some conservative leaders believe the entire concept of global warming is an elaborate hoax. The alternative energy industry has been thriving and a takeover by a new administration can seriously jeopardize climate change initiatives.
According to a report in USA Today, “Donald Trump’s victory in the presidential election is likely to intensify business uncertainty in the near term and slow economic growth over the next few years as the nation probably retreats from open-trade policies that have defined the past generation and cracks down on undocumented workers, economists say.
“Experts generally have tamped down forecasts that had called for a possible recession by 2018, based on the assumption that even a Republican Congress will pass only modified versions of Trump’s proposals. Some economists say the Federal Reserve is likely to forgo an anticipated interest rate hike in December and generally keep rates lower for longer, mitigating some of the damage to economic growth and financial markets.”
From a global viewpoint, the new administration has indicated it will change the way the U.S. participates, if at all, in Nato (the North Atlantic Treaty Organization), a cornerstone of American foreign policy for more than sixty years. New trade policies would amount to the single biggest change the way America does business with the rest of the world in decades. Trump has seemed to cozy up to Russia while the U.S. and Russia have been backing rival sides in Syria’s civil war. No one knows what a friendlier approach to Russia could mean.
Some notable Trump-favored issues would have an impact on civil liberties including the president-elect’s proposal to nominate a Supreme Court justice who might vote to end legal abortion and end marriage equality, pass new libel laws targeting critical journalists, enact national “stop-and-frisk” laws and, don’t forget, prosecute and jail Hillary Clinton.
On a very unsavory note, due to fiercely racist and sexist comments during this election — this happened right here in Bend: one of CBN’s staff, a young woman, was walking home from the Tower Theatre last Thursday evening. A group of men rode by in their truck, leaning out the window and yelled: Grab her by the ________. She felt not only verbally attacked, but fearful — and violated.
Across Oregon and here at home, the election results are fueling racism against people from diverse backgrounds and stirring a wave of emotions for students in Oregon. Students have been heard shouting ‘go back to Mexico’ while elsewhere Muslim students have been threatened and some people are encouraging violence and disgusting images and messages.
THIS AND OTHER ACTS OF DISRESPECT AND INSOLENCE ARE TOTALLY UNACCEPTABLE. Hateful remarks and other racial and sexual slurs are happening more frequently, jettisoned by Trump’s blatantly sexist and racists rhetoric. It’s up to us as adults to set an example and to teach our children to respect everyone no matter their beliefs and culture.
Hate should not be state sponsored…too many of Trump supporters seem able to accept racism and sexism, even embracing it. Even though the same voters voted for an African American…twice, they have revolted against the status quo and the uglier side of America has appeared.
Whether you’re happy about the election or not, I urge you to rise above hate and violence and join me in making our own community a kind and respectful environment!