7 Days in Trump's America
Let Me Count the Ways...
If there is one thing you can say about Trump, he has done a good job of keeping his campaign promise of ‘removing the gridlock” in Washington. Here’s a list of the actions Donald Trump has taken in his first week in office:
1.) The Trump administration took steps to roll back key provisions of the Affordable Care Act.
2.) Reorganizing top national security councils and advisory boards.
3.) Reshaping the military and taking steps to produce a plan to ‘fight ISIS’
4.) Signed an Order to begin construction on a border wall, supposedly funded by a 20% import tax on Mexican products.
5.) Indefinitely blocking all Syrian refugees and immigrants from Iran, Iraq, Somalia, Libya, Sudan, and Yemen.
6.) Began the effort to crack down on illegal immigration and sanctuary cities by vowing to upscale deportations and hiring 10,000 more ICE Agents.
7.) Rolling back environmental regulations to speed up infrastructure and building projects.
8.) Approved development on both the Keystone XL and the Dakota Access Pipelines.
9.) Permanently removed the United States from negotiations in the Trans Pacific Partnership and refused to sign the deal.
10.) Put into effect a federal hiring freeze for all open and new positions within the federal government, with the exception of military and those deemed critical to public safety.
11.) Reinstated the Mexico City Policy, which prohibits federal dollars from going to international programs that offer abortion services or information about abortion services. As well as preventing health care from covering abortions or contraception.
12.) The administration lied to the press in their first briefing by stating that the inauguration audience was the largest in history and confirmed that the administration would not release the president's tax returns.
What do these actions mean?
1.) The problem with criticisms of the ACA is that so many have been complaining about the rising premiums under the Affordable Care Act while not addressing the fact that premiums have been rising even before the implementation of the health care law in 2010. While these premiums are an issue with the reforms, the lack of a replacement from Republican lawmakers endangers millions of Americans who may lose their health care.
2.) The reorganizing of the national security councils and intelligence committees puts chief advisor Steve Bannon at the Table during key security decisions, while also limiting the involvement of joint Chiefs of Staff and the Director of National Intelligence to “need to know” situations as defined by the administration.
3.) The President’s plans to defeat ISIS include asking the generals to come up with a plan to successfully defeat ISIS in 30 days, although the President did not define what success meant. He also stated that they would restructure the military by reducing shortfalls by 2019, although no specifics were given. Of course, more money has been pledged to the defense budget no matter the proposed changes.
4.) The 20% import tax effectively puts the payment for the wall construction, on the American tax payer which has been touted by contracting experts as virtually impossible due to the constraints of the U.S-Mexican border. All this as illegal immigration drops to a 40-year low.
5.) This is perhaps the most damaging action on the foreign policy front. While the immigration order blocks refugees already scheduled to be relocated to the US, the order also blocks immigration from those countries whose citizens have never been involved in the death of in US citizens on US soil. The move is seen by critics as deeply troubling to the Muslim community, whose key intelligence officials have come on record as being essential in the fight against Islamic extremism.
6.) The President has pledged to crack down on sanctuary cities and increase the number of ICE agents effectively making a deportation force. While the Obama administration deported 2 million illegal immigrants that the Trump administration is said to target, the goal to eliminate the estimated 11 million illegal immigrants. It is also said to take 50 years and cost a grand total of 10 trillion dollars.
7.) While the President has said he will work with Democrats to pursue a trillion dollar infrastructure plan, the bypassing of regulations not only risks harming surrounding communities of people, removing building regulations can make these structures less safe for the citizens they supposedly benefit.
8.) The controversial pipelines have been marred by protests since their inception. The pipelines, while said to potentially create thousands of jobs by the President, are actually estimated to produce 35 permanent jobs and there are even more environmental concerns regarding pipeline leaks as well as affecting large segments of civilian and tribal water sources.
9.) The killing of TPP is seen as many liberals as the one positive action taken by the Trump administration since the inauguration on January 20th. While the move is seen as a victory for workers in the United States by reducing outsourcing and wage slashing, many Asian nations including China, face great economic uncertainty placing great confidence in US involvement in the deal.
10.) While a federal hiring freeze is disastrous for some of the basic operating of government, the freeze has been said to hurt veterans the most. Veterans are favored for positions within the government and thousands of veterans across the country, including those who were in the process of on-boarding, will not be able to get jobs for the time being.
11.) Defunding and restricting abortions around the world comes off of some of the largest protest to an administration in history, in the name of Women's rights. This move has been seen by many as stoking more outrage on purpose and has led some to believe that actions inflammatory and divisive as this one have ulterior motives.
12.) The administration’s unwillingness for transparency is unrivaled to anything we’ve seen in this country’s history. Not only has the President and his staff made claims that are demonstrably false, they have actively worked to suppress information from going out to the public as well as access to the press coming into the administration. It makes it even more disturbing that Chief Advisor, Steve Bannon, has stated that the "media is the opposition"; A statement coming in the midst of a public already very skeptical of its mainstream media and other institutions meant to inform. Undermining confidence in these institutions and instilling trust in the president seems to be the ultimate goal of the administration.