Blowing Things Up Gets Messy

President Trump enjoys blowing things up. He just blew up the Iran nuclear deal. He’s blowing up international trade by unilaterally imposing tariffs on China. He blew up any hope of balancing the budget with a tax plan that’s increasing the national debt by $1 trillion. He’s blowing up environmental safeguards that protect public health. He blew up the DACA program that allows children brought to the U.S. from abroad deferral from deportation. He’s even blowing up the VA health care system by moving it toward privatization and by pushing dedicated leaders out the door. In each instance, the President blows things up without any plan for a way forward or for repairing the damage. And our Republican-led Congress? It just stands by.

Yes, I know. The American people voted for change. But we’re not getting change for the better. We’re getting a mess. Candidate Trump repeatedly claimed he was a tough deal-maker who’d get better deals for America. There’s being “tough,” and there’s being smart. Blowing things up isn’t smart!

Take the President’s sudden announcement that the U.S. would hit China with $50 billion in tariffs on a wide variety of goods unless China made major concessions on trade and investment. The President’s unilateral action provoked China to threaten tough retaliatory measures, such as levying steep tariffs on U.S. soybeans, a major Ohio crop, as well as other farm and non-farm products. Chinese buyers are reportedly already canceling orders for U.S. soybeans, while U.S. trade-negotiators returned empty-handed from talks with the Chinese. In this instance, Trump’s rash decision to bully China has already backfired, harming Ohio farmers in the process.

On Iran, the President kept insisting that the nuclear deal — achieved after ten years of sanctions — is “horrible,” but failed to explain how he’d get a better one, or why Iran would make further concessions. Instead, the President’s provocative act has profoundly alienated our closest allies and risked Iranian resumption of its nuclear program.

Our Congressman Jim Jordan celebrated Trump’s decision to end the 15-year halt that the Iran deal had placed on work toward a nuclear bomb. But what’s new?

He’s been a cheerleader for the President’s major domestic blow-ups too, which have been just as disastrous. For example, candidate Trump promised a tax cut aimed at the middle class. But when it came to governing, President Trump blew up that promise and pushed Congress for deep tax cuts for corporations and the wealthy instead. No pushback from Jim Jordan. He was a solid “yes” vote, even though middle class wage-earners’ tax cuts are so small that many aren’t noticing a difference. The President insisted that Congress blow up a health care law that’s provided coverage for millions. Jordan was only too happy to vote to repeal the law and support the President weakening it in any way possible, but he and his fellow Republicans were unwilling to work with Democrats to develop an alternative.

We need to be building things in this country, not blowing them up. Just one example: we need to improve our highways and repair bridges and dams, following through on that promise of a major infrastructure program.

But building requires heavy lifting. It’s much easier just to knock things down. Only one problem: if your only thought is to smash things, all you’ve done is make a mess.

Janet GarrettComment