Wednesday, August 12, 2020

The Brilliance of Donald Trump

Image for postPresident Donald Trump signs Executive Orders like Costco hands out free samples. To some they seem a godsend; a promise kept. To others they’re just another sign of the clown-ocracy; one step closer to fascism.

This particular batch appeared to be no more than some watered-down proposals that had already been offered up by the Democrats. One of the proposals has been opposed by both parties.

As usual the devil is in the details. Trumps executive orders combine an authoritarian power grab with a blatant attempt to purchase the 2020 election with taxpayer dollars. (In typical Trump-onomics fashion, nothing is actually paid for. Actual payment will be deferred to future generations or the Trumps more standard method of payment--bankruptcy.)

Resorting to executive orders is not some great victory or a promise kept. As Trump has shown they can be easily negated by the next administration. Even Trump supporters should be concerned about the self-proclaimed deal-maker has never been able to steer a real bi-partisan solution through congress.

The current executive would appear to have neither the talent nor the inclination to actually help craft legislation. Instead, he proclaims like a tiny Lord Farquaad, because negotiating is too difficult, especially when he can sign meaningless drivel that makes him look benevolent.

There is a short term executive order deferring student loans that could relief that could actually benefit some individuals. But the so-called relief is structured in such a manner that all he really does it defer the pain of the bite until after the election.

The moratorium on evictions sounds downright humanitarian. Trump promises to offset any cost to landlords. Of course, he fails to identify where this money will come from.

Trump is also declaring a retroactive payroll-tax holiday for all those earning $100,000 or less. The problem with this is that while everybody wants to see a bigger pay check, Trump ignores the problem that to do so in this manner undermines Social Security and Medicare. 

Hoping that you don't notice the cynicism, Trump has turned his executive orders into an election -year bribe. You will continue to receive money, that would have been your, but these changes will only be made permanent if he is reelected. Apparently, as a lame-duck president, Trump will never find the time to make his sabotaging of Social Security and Medicare permanent. It's hard to tell if he means this as a promise or a threat.

The big prize in this batch of executive orders was probably the extension of supplemental unemployment benefits. Not surprisingly, these benefits are also unfunded. For the unemployed to actually receive these benefits they would have to live in one of the few states not swimming in debt from the COVID-19 crash, that could actually afford to pick up a large part of the tab. In this scenario the hardest-hit states — already begging for relief and coincidentally leaning toward the Democratic nominee — will be unable to participate. So before it even begins, Trump’s smoke-and-mirrors order doesn’t actually exist.

These executive orders have no teeth, they are paper tigers at best, but more importantly they are probably unconstitutional. They encroach upon areas of government generally reserved for Congress. Of course, court challenges may be the hoped for outcome. It allows promises to be made, that will never be kept, while making somebody else look like the bad guy.


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