Right to try and promises kept

By Reade Brower | Jun 07, 2018

“Right to Try” legislation that President Donald Trump recently signed into law makes sense. A person in the throes of a terminal illness deserves the right to try anything that holds any promise of a possible cure.

It was already law in 40 states, but this signing creates good exposure and is something positive. At the signing, the president pointed to this as another promise kept and told his audience he had similar commonsense legislation coming in a couple of weeks that would fix health care.

Checking to see which promises have been kept and which have been broken is interesting. The scorecard says he’s running about 50/50 so far, with about half still in the funnel and undecided.

Looking at any president and doing a promise thermometer is a bag half full. Obama ended his presidency with a promise rating a little over 50 percent, with about 25 percent broken promises and 25 percent compromised.

It might end up that Trump does a little better, or a little worse; that is only part of the story.

Trump is breaking the norms; his supporters are rabid that this is a good thing, while his detractors worry his Twitter rampages and uncouth behavior are beyond “telling it like it is” and disgraceful.

Recently he went against protocol by commenting publicly about a jobs report more than an hour before it was released by the Bureau of Labor Statistics. Protocol is set up for a reason; in this case, so the markets don’t get ahead of themselves, because it is important that everyone sees the info at the same time.

His back-and-forth with North Korea is another example; while having your leader in the middle of the discussion might prove fruitful, there is a bigger chance that staying with protocol might be safer.

It boils down to trust, and it is hard to trust that Trump has the common sense necessary, and also the knowledge, to be all things to all people. When Trump recently tried to console a grieving mother, whose 14-year-old daughter was killed during a school shooting, she commented afterwards to a reporter that talking with Trump was “like talking to a toddler,” as he was constantly ranting about how “wacky” the shooter was, going on and on about the trench coat he was wearing.

When the mom suggested veterans as sentinels in schools, Trump brightened, responding “And arm them?” She replied “no,” but he kept talking about what a good idea it would be to arm teachers as well. She ended by telling an inattentive Trump; “Maybe if everyone had access to mental health care, we wouldn’t be in this situation.”

Trump started that day telling reporters, as he boarded Air Force One to meet this mother and other survivors, that he was going to Texas, saying; “We’re going to have a little fun today.” A poor word choice to describe meeting family members who had lost loved ones at this Texas school massacre.

In looking for the silver lining, one can take solace in an economy that is gathering some momentum; the challenges are finding workers – policies limiting migrant and immigrant workers seem counterintuitive. Another setback; a recent study shows 80 percent of my generation worked summers in high school during the '60s and '70s; today only 20 percent work.

Canada and Mexico were recently hit with tariffs on steel and aluminum and are in a tizzy. While Trump’s “America First” mantra is at the heart of this, the question is: will it work long-term? Or, will it aggravate our allies and force their hands into offsetting tariffs on American goods and farm products coming into their countries?

I’m not a prognosticator; time will tell.

The numbers won’t lie: will our exports go up or down? Will our economy prosper?

What about the deficit; here is a Trump promise unfulfilled – our debt just went over $21 trillion for the first time, although our president’s promise was to cut it. This is because he signed a debt-limit suspension last February allowing unlimited borrowing until March 1, 2019. Economists think the deficits will increase because of Trump tax cuts signed into law in December. With a $215 billion monthly deficit in February (up 12 percent from last year), revenues are lower and spending is higher than before the cuts. At first blush, the tax cuts heralded as fueling the economy could end up doing the opposite.

Will the next generation pay for it? Is this a middle-class tax cut, or will the rich just get richer?

“Speculation is perfectly all right, but if you stay there you’ve only founded a superstition. If you test it, you’ve started a science.”

--- Hal Clement, science-fiction author (1922-2003)

Comments (2)
Posted by: Ronald Horvath | Jun 07, 2018 17:04

"We should beware of the demagogues who are willing to declare a trade war against our friends, weakening our economy, our national security, and the entire free world, all while cynically waving the American flag." -Ronald Reagan



Posted by: Mary A McKeever | Jun 07, 2018 16:38

Good question, "would the middle class pay for it" ?  In my view with our society college and/or high school graduates not working or living off folks, who will pay the debts passed by these politicians? An interesting article.



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