Friday, November 11, 2016

Dear Trump Supporters

Dear Trump Supporters,

I voted for you.  Not your guy, you.  Your guy won; my gal lost.  Which means, I'm afraid, that you lost.  I'm a college educated, white-collar, technology professional.  I'm gonna be fine in a Trump presidency.  You... well things are going to be harder for you.  Let me tell you how this is going to go down, one promise at a time, as enumerated on Politifact.

1. Rescind Obama's executive orders on immigration and guns.

The guns part is just red-meat politics. Since everyone who could legally buy a gun at a gun-show could pass a background check anyway we're just going to be making it easier for criminals to do it. Gang-bangers don't buy guns at gunshows so for the most part we're talking about rural or suburban folks who shouldn't have guns having an easier time getting them.  I'm sure that's gonna go great for you.

The immigration part is stickier.  Unsigning Obama's executive orders just creates about six million people that ICS now needs to round up.  The ones participating in those programs are those with the least to fear from the US government which is to say the best candidates for assimilation and a path to citizenship but we'll spend billions of dollars and the better part of a decade trying to send them "back" to a home many don't even remember.

2. Repeal Obamacare

I get that many of you dislike Obamacare for a number of reasons but, at its core, the law is about making healthcare available to everyone, even the very sick.  The trouble with that is that the expense still has to be spread around.  Either we just let sick people die or we all shoulder the burden of making them well.  The sane way to do that is through a government program but, because the GOP couldn't tolerate that when Hillary was First Lady we have the ad-hoc private system known as the Affordable Care Act.  

Now there are only three paths to repealing Obamacare.  There are all sorts of details involved but the only parts that matter are the mandate and pre-existing conditions.  That means you can.....

Repeal the Mandate and keep the pre-existing condition ban: This results in a health-insurance death-spiral as no one buys insurance until they need it.  That defeats the point of health insurance and so we end up with the government stepping in to nationalize the insurance industry, probably within the decade.

Repeal the pre-existing condition ban and keep the mandate: honestly this makes no sense; you can't mandate that people have something and then refuse to sell it to them.

Repeal both the ban and the mandate: this puts us back where we were prior to the ACA but, instead of millions of Americans upset that they lack health insurance, they're upset that Republicans took it away from them.

3. Suspend immigration from "terror prone" countries

That's gonna be great until it doesn't work.  And it can't work.  You're essentially screening for ideology and basing it on where, in the part of the world with the most porous borders, a person comes from.

4. Renegotiate NAFTA and/or withdraw from the Trans Pacific Partnership.

So, you like your inexpensive gasoline, right?  Remember when gas was close to $5/gallon?  Man, those were rough days.  Well, gas is cheep right now because the Saudis are pumping away as fast as they can.  They're doing that because they're trying to crater the Canadian oil industry.  That oil is entering the US for refinement and export in large part because of NAFTA.  Checking out of NAFTA will drive up the cost of refining Canadian Crude which will reduce the Saudi incentive to pump in order to force Canada out of the  market.  The result will be higher prices for you at the pump.  Hope you're prepared to pay  for it.

"But punching out of NAFTA will bring back our manufacturing jobs," you say.  No it won't.  Robots, not Mexicans, are taking those jobs.  American manufacturing is doing great; it's the American manufacturing worker who's in trouble.  Getting out of NAFTA won't change that; no one is ever going to pay you a lifetime wage of $20/hour to weld doors eight hours a day when they can replace you and your evening and night-time shift buddies with a robot for less than what the three of you make in a year.  Starting in year two the robot is working for free and it doesn't get a lunch break, take sick days, or file for workman's comp.

5. Impose tariffs.  

Oh man, you're gonna love this.  You know all that stuff you buy at Walmart?  Unless it's meat, cheese, corn, or wheat odds are pretty good that it comes from China.  If it comes from China and there's a tariff on Chinese goods, that means you're gonna pay more for it.  Oh, and remember who collects that tariff -- it's the US government.  Yea, "tariff" is another word for "sales tax" on foreign produced goods.

6. Build that wall

A fortified wall across the Mexican border would cost on the order of $20,000,000,000 and require a massive expansion in the federal workforce to man and patrol it, all to prevent an immigration problem that's actually running in reverse right now -- more illegal Mexican immigrants are leaving the country than entering it.  Oh, and it will make all of those temporary migrants permanent.  Odds are pretty good that the wall will actually increase the number of immigrants living in the United States while decreasing the number of seasonal agricultural workers.  Those workers keep your food costs down because they're willing to work for less than minimum wage.  The wall is both going to put more immigrants into your community and drive your bills up.  Though, I guess if you want a job picking strawberries for 12 hours a day in the California heat it's good news for you.

7. Enact the Trump tax plan.

Trump's plan depends on a 4% growth rate of the US economy which pretty much every economist in the world says is pant-on-head-crazy.  Developed economies like ours just don't grow at 4% because most of the proverbial low-hanging-fruit is gone already.  Without that growth the plan will throw another $5 Trillion on the national debt, essentially draining money out of the federal coffers to Trump's friends in the upper 1%.  Unless your bank account is best expressed in scientific notation, you're not going to see much of that money at all but what you will see is a reduction in government services, a further devaluation of the dollar (which is the same as a tax on your assets), and a weaker national economy.

In four years you're going to have less money and be able to buy less with it.  Your healthcare will be worse, not better, and your government will be squandering much of it on wild goose chases and ineffective construction projects which solve nothing.  You don't have to believe me; all you have to do is wait for it to happen.

Buckle up; it's going to be a rough ride.

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