What is a promise and how important is it? I rarely make promises … never, unless I am reasonably certain that, barring any unforeseen catastrophic event, I will be able to keep that promise. Because I live by this standard, my family & friends know that a promise from me has value, is not an empty promise. A promise, to me, is a symbol of my honour, of my word. To break a promise is a breach of trust, and trust is important to me. I find that trust is one of those things that has a very tenuous thread, and once broken, is never fully restored.
With that said, however, promises ought to be right and just. If I promise Miss Goose that from now on, every meal will consist only of sweet treats, it is a foolish promise, I am a fool for making it, and she is the bigger fool for believing it. It would be a promise to harm her, as it were, to make her less healthy. It is what I think of as a negative promise, one that does harm … in other words, a threat.
On the campaign trail from June 2015 to present, Donald Trump made a number of promises to his Kool-Aid-drinking minions. He promised to build a wall to keep out immigrants on the southern U.S.-Mexican border. He promised immigration reform and to keep out Muslims. He promised to undo basically everything that President Obama had done – good, bad or neutral. He promised to undo the non-existent “war on coal” and bring back jobs in the coal mining industry. Let’s take a closer look at a couple of Trump’s more egregious promises, or threats, as it were, see where they stand and assess whether they have helped or harmed the nation.
One of the first ones that comes to my mind is his ‘promise’ to repeal ACA, commonly referred to as ‘Obamacare’. I’d just like to point out that little word ‘care’ in there. Well, Trump was unsuccessful, thanks to Senators John McCain, Lisa Murkowski and Susan Collins. However, he has chinked away at ACA by way of executive order, to the point that by the end of this year, there will be several million people without insurance, without access to affordable health care — people who were covered before Trump took office. The latest assault on ACA came just two days ago, when Trump ordered the halting of billions of dollars of payments designed to help insurers meet the Affordable Care Act requirement that they provide coverage regardless of whether a person is healthy or sick.
Insurers say this move will result in higher premiums for millions of people. For most of those millions of people, higher premiums mean they will have no choice but to drop their insurance. It will also lead to insurance companies refusing customers who have pre-existing conditions, else setting the premiums out of reach to such individuals. Why? Because Donald Trump made a promise to his base. Now, never mind that his base will be negatively affected by his keeping of this particular promise as much as any of us. Frankly, sorry folks, I don’t want to sound cruel, but I will choke on my coffee as I laugh uproariously when I hear the first republican whine and wheedle about not being able to afford her medicine, or having to pay $300 just to see her primary care physician! ‘Welcome to my world’, I will say!
Let’s talk taxes, shall we?
Trump made a number of tax-related promise/threats. The first was that he would cut corporate income taxes from 35% to 15%. Well, he failed in that promise and was only able to cut them down to 21% … do I hear an “awwwwww”? Another part of his illustrious tax plan was to allow Americans to deduct child care and elder care from their taxes. Well, folks, sorry to tell you but that one went by the wayside. Along the same lines, he promised to create tax-free dependent care savings accounts for young and elderly dependents. Nope, not even on the docket. Oh … here’s one … he promised to provide matching contributions for low-income families to the dependent care savings accounts! Nope, not a snowball’s chance in hell. But what about the one where he promised to incentivize employers to provide on-site child-care services? Sorry, sucker! But hey! Those big corporations got their 14% tax cut, and you know that since they have such big hearts and good intentions, all of that lovely money will ‘trickle down’ to us little folk, right? Briefly, a few of his other “promises”. He promised to …
- Enact new ethics reforms to reduce the corrupting influence of special interests. Um … ethics schmethics. He has, among his administration, some of the most corrupt individuals in the history of the U.S. Think Scott Pruitt. Jared Kushner. Ivanka Trump. Trump himself. And the list goes on … and on …
- Make two- and four-year college more affordable. Trump’s budget contains deep cuts in aid for low-income and first-generation college students. The budget would eliminate the Federal Supplemental Educational Opportunity Grant program, a 50-year-old program, for a savings of $732 million, which goes to more than a million poor college kids each year. The budget would also reduce Federal Work Study “significantly” though no dollar figure was given. The tax bill that Trump signed raised taxes on four-year universities. How is any of this making college more affordable???
- Establish tariffs to discourage companies from laying off their workers in order to relocate in other countries and ship their products back to the U.S. tax-free. Well, he established tariffs alright, but the results are the exact opposite of what he promised. Companies are already beginning to lay off workers, and considering moving operations overseas – think Harley Davidson for starters.
For a more complete list, check out the Trump Promise Tracker in The Washington Post . Although it isn’t quite up to date (April 2018) it is the best I’ve found so far.
In short, Trump made some 60+ ‘promises’ to the people of this nation. A handful would have been to the benefit of the people, but those he did not even attempt to keep. The rest were threats. The threat to take away healthcare from those of us who are not wealthy. The threat to decrease corporate taxes, thereby decreasing the nation’s revenue, increasing both debt and deficit, and leaving the rest of us without much needed services that can no longer be funded. The threat to put “America First”, which has isolated us from our allies, put us in danger of a trade war, and proven to the world that we cannot be trusted to keep our word (Paris Accord, Iran nuclear deal, Trans-Pacific Partnership, etc.).
Promises should be kept. Unless they are the wrong thing, made for all the wrong reasons, but then they are not promises, they are threats. Trust is earned. Loyalty is earned. Need I say more?