Donald Trump is a brilliant salesman- arguably the best of his time. He succeeded in selling himself and his ideals to Americans, and achieved what Time magazine calls, “the last, greatest deal for a 21st century salesman.”
The article, which dubs Trump Person of the Year, explains how he was able to overcome his image of an eccentric, star-studded, “showman,” and now has fundamentally affected our political system. While more will be revealed about what kind of role Donald Trump will fill as President, there are some decisions that he has made before entering the oval office which give us strong indications of the policy directions he favors. Trump is a multi-billionaire, and lives in a lavish apartment in New York City. But the majority of his voters are middle and lower class citizens in the southern and central states. The irony of his decisions thus far, lies in who elected him to office.
As Leader of the Free World, it is unlikely that Trump will truly represent and advocate for those who voted for him. For one, he has chosen Ben Carson to run the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD). HUD currently provides housing to millions of Americans in low-income or unstable financial situations, but Carson has repeatedly made public his disapproval of safety net services and fair housing initiatives. Under Carson’s leadership, it is likely that millions of working class Americans are left without progress in developing safer and more affordable housing initiatives.
Trump has also nominated Scott Pruitt to be head of the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), a man openly averted to renewable energy and sustainable development. Because we have a capitalist economy, it is controlled by supply-and-demand. This means that as natural resource supply declines, and demand continues to increase, it is likely that prices for natural gas and oil will soar, leaving the poor and working class without access to such resources.
One of Trump’s most prominent campaign promises, to repeal Obamacare, is predicted to greatly increase tax cuts for the wealthy, while forcing working and lower class citizens to be without access to healthcare. The Tax Policy Center reports that taking away Obamacare will save the top 0.1% of incomes $154,000 annually. Chuck Marr, director of federal tax policy at the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities, said “one perspective on this bill will be that it’s a tax increase on working-class people and major tax cut for wealthy people… This angle is going to get a lot more attention because it’s a clear juxtaposition.”
Not only that, but it could cost 20 million Americans their healthcare. Politico reports that although the tax increases from Obamacare have been difficult to swallow for some, without them it will be much harder for the government to replace the act - truly leaving people without healthcare. The Atlantic projects that without the Affordable Care Act, insurance premiums would increase in price 30-50 percent. Women would be essentially forgotten without Obamacare, which offers free birth control, and prevents charging women more for health insurance (before the Affordable Care Act, women were made to pay up to 50 percent higher premiums than men, because “they tend to visit the doctor more frequently, live longer, and have babies,” according to Healthline.com).
Depriving women of proper birth control, especially low-income women, could severely negatively affect the economy. Planned Parenthood released a report titled Birth Control Has Expanded Opportunity for Women — In Economic Advancement, Educational Attainment, and Health Outcomes. Planned Parenthood, as well as credible economic institutions, support the claims that access to birth control has greatly contributed to closing the wage gap between sexes, an increase in women who graduate college, and an increase of women in skilled professions.
Women who had access to contraception were able to have children at a more stable point in their lives than before, and therefore were able to provide for their children, giving them educational opportunities. The repeal of Obamacare will leave women who cannot afford health insurance at a significant disadvantage, not just health-wise, but educationally and professionally.
So, have we elected a president or a salesman? A president is meant to be an elected leader who will represent all Americans, implementing policies favored by his or her party. But in what we have seen so far in his actions and his rhetoric, it is still to be determined whether Donald Trump has sold America an empty bill of goods or if his intention is to earnestly represent the best interest of all Americans, especially the working class and poor.