A year ago today, America woke up to the news that Donald Trump would be the next president of the United States.
He campaigned on a lot of things, as all candidates do — but his big promises were to…
- repeal Obamacare and replace it with “something terrific”
- build a wall — and make Mexico pay for it
- bring manufacturing and coal jobs back and “be the greatest jobs president that God ever created”
- Cut your taxes
- Not cut Medicare or Medicaid
Most of these are about saving people money, or earning it. He hasn’t actually held the office for a full year yet, but he promised all these things before he was elected and should have been planning to do them by then, so: How’s he doing? Has he kept his promises or shown any progress on them? Are Americans better off financially?
Well, even if you don’t know the answer to any of those questions, you probably know he has the lowest job approval rating of any president in modern history. It’s around 39 percent.
President Obama, at this point in his first term, had an approval rating of near 52 percent despite the recession. Trump is currently enjoying the pretty solid economy he inherited. George W. Bush had 85 percent at this point, thanks in part to national unity after 9/11. But going back several presidents, even Gerald Ford, who frequently polled in the same ballpark as Trump, was better liked at this point.
So, that’s not a great sign of satisfaction or faith in his ability to get the job done. But let’s talk through those promises anyway.
Where is Obamacare at today?
I’m no fan of Obamacare, but Donald Trump has neither gotten rid of it nor made it better.
Despite controlling both chambers of Congress, Republican attempts to repeal it failed embarrassingly and repeatedly — in part because Trump never offered a clear alternative vision. He didn’t really seem to care what happened, as long as something he could call a “win” took place.
This is because, as anybody who didn’t mindlessly support him recognized, he’s a policy lightweight who doesn’t understand the existing law or the legislative process. He even admitted it himself, in his own way, saying “Nobody knew health care could be so complicated.”
After those failures, he continued tweeting that the law was awful and Congress should fix it. He yanked cost-sharing subsidies designed to help the poor keep insurance, even though Republicans in Congress argued they should be left in place until they could come up with a better plan.
He cut funding to advertise Obamacare plans to consumers by 90 percent. And as the enrollment period kicks off, we’re hearing that the average plan premium is up 37 percent. What’s terrific about any of that?
Where’s the wall? And the check from Mexico?
Trump is still committed to building the wall. Eight prototypes have been erected along the border.
Mexico has steadfastly refused to pay for it “under any circumstances.” That means Americans taxpayers would ultimately be on the hook — which is pretty reasonable. Americans should pay for the security they deem necessary.
But Congress is not willing to spend the $22 billion it would cost to build. Fewer than one in four Republicans support it, and most won’t even talk about it. Those who openly oppose it say there are much more cost-efficient and effective options for border security.
I’ve gotta give Trump at least a little credit for getting this one out of the purely idea phase, at least, even if it’s not clear a wall would really help the average American financially.
How about those jobs?
Trump promised to create 25 million jobs over 10 years, meaning he needs to churn out 2.5 million jobs a year, on average.
So far we’ve had the slowest job growth in seven years. Jobs are growing more slowly than they were under President Obama, though not by much.
In 2016, 2.24 million jobs were added to the economy. So far this year, we’ve gotten 1.69 million jobs. That means we’ll need to see about 278,000 jobs for both November and December to tie last year — much less hit that 2.5 million mark. That would require 408,000 jobs a month at this point.
Sure, he has time to pick things up. But eventually there’s going to be another recession no matter what Trump does, and job growth is going to shrink substantially or reverse then. The hill is looking pretty steep.
Manufacturing jobs specifically are up slightly, though — about half of one percent for the first 10 months of this year versus last year.
Taxes is the latest wall Republicans are beating their heads against. I wrote about Trump’s plan a few weeks ago, and next week you’ll see a take more sympathetic to Trump from my colleague Holden Miller. But ultimately it’s up to Congress, not Trump, what happens to our taxes.
Right now it’s not clear what the final bill will look like, or whether it will pass, but Republicans are promising a tax cut of about $1,000 for the typical American household. Stay tuned.
Medicare and Medicaid
One of Trump’s earliest campaign promises, straight from his campaign announcement, was to “save Medicare, Medicaid, and Social Security without cuts. Have to do it.”
So why does the budget he proposed cut $600 billion from Medicaid and $50 billion from Medicare over 10 years? Again, it’s up to Congress, but Trump didn’t even try to keep this promise in spirit and has supported proposals that would also cut funding. His attacks on Obamacare haven’t helped any. And the administrator he put in charge of Medicaid, Seema Verma, has criticized the integrity of the program.
Like most of Trump’s promises, nothing definitive has happened here, but it seems like the promise he is least interested in keeping.
And overall, Trump is simply not delivering on much.
The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the opinions and/or policies of Debt.com.
Article last modified on November 14, 2017. Published by Debt.com, LLC . Mobile users may also access the AMP Version: Are You Happier Now? - AMP.
Article last modified on November 14, 2017. Published by Debt.com, LLC .