We see that Donald Trump’s transition team made the news Thursday morning in the form of a short write-up in Politico describing the industriousness with which the group is going about its business. Or something like that. The idea of Trump even having a transition team is simultaneously terrifying (as it reminds us that he might yet actually become the president) and grotesquely comical, like David Duke taking sensitivity training. It’s fitting that the team is led by a bunch of hangers-on of Chris Christie, the governor who managed to hit the exacta of being both thoroughly incompetent and totally corrupt.
Anyway, it seems like a good time to remind readers of what Trump—and a Republican Congress, because if he were to win the GOP would be virtually guaranteed to hold the House and the Senate—would actually do as president. Substance has been lost in this campaign, more than usual, and with the media still largely hyperventilating about Hillary Clinton’s emails, I’d like to direct your attention to some other matters.
First of all, here’s what Trump wouldn’t do: He wouldn’t save manufacturing. This is why a lot of people are voting for him, people who aren’t the deplorables, who aren’t crazy racists. They like what he’s saying about blue-collar work.
People love the image of the America of the 1940s and ’50s, when we made all the stuff in people’s houses. Televisions, console stereos, refrigerators. Made in the USA. Let’s start doing that again!
It’s a mirage. Just Google “Can Trump revive manufacturing?” and you’ll get a flood of articles like this one explaining that it’s impossible, and why. In a word it’s automation. We still make stuff in this country, plenty of stuff, from broomsticks to auto parts to the most sophisticated elements of high technology. But the stuff is made with a fraction of the old workforce. In the 1940s, 40 percent of the U.S. workforce was in manufacturing. Today it’s 10 percent. It’s not going up. It’s just not. It’s going down. A lot of economists even think this kind of work will be done more by machines than people in the not-too-distant future.
And a President Trump is not going to be able to call the CEO of Ford or General Electric and instruct them not to move that plant to Mexico. Those executives are responsible to shareholders, not the president. He’s sold people a fantasy about how the world ought to work, with a strongman bending others to his will.
He’s not reviving coal, either. Coal jobs have dried up, again, because of automation. They’re mining as much coal in my home state of West Virginia as they did in the 1940s, by tonnage, even a little more. And they’re doing it with about one-tenth of the workforce. Now, coal is dying even more because natural gas is cheaper and cleaner. China is laying off 1.3 million coal miners. Trump would do away with Obama’s EPA rules, and they’d cheer that in Appalachia, but it wouldn’t have much effect against these larger trends.
Here’s a third thing he won’t do: He won’t build that wall. Trump has said it would cost around $10 billion. The Washington Post fact-checker came up with $25 billion. Others came up with much higher figures. And that’s just to build it, forget manning it and maintaining it. And no, Mexico isn’t paying. This isn’t Atlantic City. He has no mechanism to make Mexico do anything. And anyway, the engineers would report to him that along much of the terrain, building a wall would be well-nigh impossible. He’d scrap the idea and try to pretend he never said it, the way he does.
That’s what he wouldn’t do. Here’s what he would do, which of course is a lot more disturbing.
He’s talking a lot about Obamacare lately, and the Affordable Care Act has its problems, although they’re overstated in the media—drastic premium spikes are regionalized, not a national phenomenon. But OK, there are problems. But they can only be fixed by getting more younger and healthier people to sign up. More of those types of customers, who are less expensive to cover, will keep insurers in the game.
Republicans in Congress have voted a jillion times to repeal Obamacare. But have you noticed how they never seem to get around to the “replace” part? That’s because they know they can’t, on the cheap—the way they’ve promised. Trump, proudly ignorant about most issues, employs a lot of people and presumably insures them, so this is something he might actually know.
He’d start a trade war with China. Again, just Google “Cost of Trump’s trade war with China” and you’ll get the picture fast. If you want to pay 30-35 percent more for your next refrigerator, Trump is your man.
Likewise, Google “Cost of Trump’s deportation plan.” Of course the chief cost here would be moral, as the United States of America raises a police force that goes into people’s homes and breaks families apart (because some people came here legally and others didn’t). But the general estimate is $500 billion to implement this. And then there are the associated costs to the economy, because you’re talking about 12 million people—the vast majority of whom do work.
Those are his major so-called plans. Now let’s picture him handling the presidency. We’re due for a recession. Overdue. It’s going to happen no matter who’s president. Do you really want to hear that cretin whining, blaming the Fed (i.e., Jews), blaming the media for not reporting the truth about the economy? Then let’s say a mass shooting happens. Will you be reassured to hear your president stand up there and say this just proves that we need to arm everybody, which is surely what he’d say? Then comes an incident in the South China Sea, which he would elevate into a crisis. And on, and on, and on.
Oh: And bear in mind that he would be serving while involved in a fraud trial over his bogus university, and quite possibly a child-rape trial as well.
I suppose the people on this transition team are fooling themselves by preparing briefing papers and whatnot. But really, they might as well be playing Free Cell all day. And through some miracle in these last few days it might be nice for cable news to stop obsessing about the latest supposed crisis in Hillaryland and remind people that they are voting for a president, and one of the two candidates has been deemed unqualified by nearly every newspaper in the country, by most retired generals, by a huge phalanx of foreign-policy people of both parties, by nearly every serious economist, and basically by everyone except a few people who are either blinded by their hatred of Clinton or too scared of their more rabid constituents to say a cross word about this madman. To quote someone close to the situation, believe me, it’s a disaster, folks.