We are more than 550 days into the presidency of Donald Trump. And I’m kind of giving up.
Week after week, I’ve looked for signs that he’s serious about helping American consumers. I’ve tried to keep a positive outlook, highlighting what he did for me in the first 100 days and the CFPB’s focus on debt collection. But far more often than not, it’s no news, slow news, or bad (fake!) news.
That’s why this is my last political column for the foreseeable future. If Trump does something big, we’ll cover it — but there’s not really enough to dissect weekly, and not much reason to think that will change, despite his early promises. I’ve enjoyed sparring with my Trump-defending colleague Holden Miller on all kinds of issues, but there’s just not enough substance behind Trump’s policies to keep talking about them.
You’ve got almost year-old tax cuts that haven’t boosted the economy or most Americans’ bottom line; an ongoing failure to “repeal and replace” Obamacare or substantially improve it with “something terrific“; a mindless and incoherent tangle of deregulation; whiplash-inducing trade policy. That’s about it.
So, for my final words on Trump and money in this space, I want to look back at what he promised and what he’s actually done.
“Teriffic” health care
During the campaign, Trump promised he would “repeal and replace” Obamacare almost as much as he talked about the wall. He said he would “work out some sort of a really smart deal with hospitals across the country.”
We’re now on our second health secretary — as you know, Trump only hires the best people. And despite a year and a half of a fully Republican-controlled Congress, which campaigned on and tried to repeal Obamacare dozens of times over the last six years of Obama’s presidency, Obamacare is still the law of the land.
It’s not an improving law, but it is one the industry has adjusted to, accepted. and begun profiting from. Plan enrollment is up, despite Trump choosing to advertise the enrollment period less and trying to fight the law bureaucratically.
But prices aren’t getting lower and the law is languishing in the unfinished, stripped down version it was passed in back in 2010. It was supposed to be a stepping stone to better health care. But the only thing of note Trump has accomplished is, through the tax bill, removing the penalty for not having health insurance. And that doesn’t kick in for another tax year, either.
This is the one big concrete financial promise Trump has managed to keep, for all the good it did. (You notice nobody is talking about it anymore, and Trump never hesitates to toot his own horn.) We were told it would simplify the tax code and that “more than 70 percent of this [tax cut] will be returned to workers.”
It did not simplify the tax code or the tax-filing process. It’s not putting more money in the average person’s wallet, or spurring the economy to new heights.
Companies are using the opportunity to bring back offshore cash more cheaply and buy back their own stock. That’s great for investors — and that’s it. They aren’t using the money to raise wages significantly or create new jobs. There were some preplanned year-end bonuses companies in certain industries were happy to toss Trump credit for, but no real gains for most of us. My paycheck hasn’t gone up — has yours?
25 million jobs
To be fair, this promise was always for 10 years out. But Trump is not on track to meet that goal, and there are signs the economy is going to stall or fall.
What we saw last year was the slowest job growth in seven years. Jobs are growing more slowly than they were under President Obama, not faster.
We added 2.34 million jobs in 2016. We added 2.19 million jobs in 2017. So far in 2018 we’ve added 1.29 million, and the more recent numbers are just early estimates that may be revised downward.
To get 25 million jobs, we need to average 2.5 million per year. So he’s already operating at a half-million job deficit for 2016 and 2017, and that’s while the economy is humming along.
The math just isn’t there, and nothing Trump is doing with tariffs is helping. We’re already seeing thousands of jobs lost in the manufacturing, energy, and auto industries.
It’ll probably get worse before it gets better — deregulation will certainly continue at the Education Department and CFPB — but I’ll keep hoping for the best.
I just hope the best includes, you know, electing people who know something about the federal government and the economy before they start the job next time.
Article last modified on July 31, 2018. Published by Debt.com, LLC . Mobile users may also access the AMP Version: Has Trump Kept His Biggest Financial Promises to Americans? - AMP.
Article last modified on July 31, 2018. Published by Debt.com, LLC .