Trump and his en­ablers must be stopped

Wisconsin Gazette - - Opinion - JAMAKAYA

I’m con­vinced a reck­on­ing is com­ing for Pres­i­dent Don­ald Trump. It may come through the find­ings of spe­cial coun­sel Robert Mueller’s probe. It may come from rev­e­la­tions about Trump’s shady deal­ings with mob­sters and in­ter­na­tional oli­garchs. Or it may come from him go­ing stark rav­ing mad at one of his hate-filled ral­lies.

Equally con­temptible and in need of dis­patch is the gang of thieves glee­fully car­ry­ing out his poli­cies. Re­mem­ber how Bill Clin­ton and Al Gore promised to “build a bridge to the 21st cen­tury”? Well Trump’s hirelings are build­ing a bridge back to the 19th cen­tury to the era of rob­ber barons.

Given that the wealthy just ben­e­fit­ted from Trump’s $1.5 tril­lion tax cut, what pos­si­ble ra­tio­nale is there for Trea­sury Sec­re­tary Steve Mnuchin to by­pass Congress and hand over an­other $100 bil­lion to rich peo­ple?

Mnuchin wants to do this through a reg­u­la­tory change that will al­low for the con­sid­er­a­tion of an as­set’s in­fla­tion in the cal­cu­la­tion of cap­i­tal gains li­a­bil­i­ties. The big­gest ben­e­fi­cia­ries will be those who have plenty of money.

All ev­i­dence in­di­cates that wages for work­ing peo­ple in this coun­try have been stag­nant for 40 years. The mid­dle class is shrink­ing and wealth in­equal­ity is grow­ing. Where are any prac­ti­cal so­lu­tions for help­ing the ma­jor­ity of hard work­ing Amer­i­cans? Why is the Trump gov­ern­ment only fo­cused on re­duc­tions in food aid and hous­ing as­sis­tance?

In the face of an af­ford­able hous­ing cri­sis not seen since the end of World War II, why is the Trump ad­min­is­tra­tion cut­ting hous­ing sub­si­dies for low-in­come peo­ple while re­duc­ing in­cen­tives for builders to in­vest in af­ford­able hous­ing? Such re­gres­sive poli­cies will only worsen home­less­ness and sow so­cial dis­or­der. It makes no sense.

Ev­ery­one knows that col­lege stu­dents in the United States are bur­dened by un­prece­dented lev­els of ed­u­ca­tional debt. Many grad­u­ates re­main de­pen­dent on their par­ents and strug­gle to gain eco­nomic trac­tion in their new ca­reers. They can­not af­ford their own homes and de­lay start­ing their own fam­i­lies. This stu­dent debt bur­den has neg­a­tive ram­i­fi­ca­tions for our en­tire eco­nomic and so­cial struc­ture.

How is the Trump ad­min­is­tra­tion ad­dress­ing this cri­sis? Ed­u­ca­tion Sec­re­tary Betsy DeVos plans to elim­i­nate Obama-era re­quire­ments that for-profit col­leges prove they have pro­vided gain­ful em­ploy­ment for grad­u­ates. The stan­dards were put in place due to the cor­rup­tion of fly-by-night col­leges whose abysmal pro­gram­ming and job place­ment rates drew thou­sands of pub­lic com­plaints and law­suits.

But DeVos is also mak­ing it harder for stu­dents de­frauded by such col­leges to ob­tain loan for­give­ness. Each stu­dent must now prove that they were will­fully de­ceived by their col­lege be­fore seek­ing debt re­lief, a le­gal chal­lenge that few peo­ple can meet.

The most dev­as­tat­ing re­trench­ment is in the area of en­vi­ron­men­tal pol­icy. The Trump ad­min­is­tra­tion is putting a halt to more strin­gent fuel emis­sion stan­dards, rid­ding fed­eral agen­cies of their sci­en­tific and cli­mate over­sight mis­sions, with­draw­ing from the Paris Cli­mate Ac­cord and open­ing ever more pub­lic lands to the ex­trac­tive min­ing in­dus­tries.

To ac­tively take this course while wit­ness­ing record heat waves, ocean warm­ing, hur­ri­canes, floods, species die-offs and Arc­tic melt­ing is the def­i­ni­tion of mad­ness.

Trump and his en­ablers must be stopped. Make sure you vote Aug. 14 and in the Novem­ber gen­eral elec­tion. Fol­low ac­tivist groups on­line and re­sist in every way you can.

Jamakaya is an award-win­ning writer and his­to­rian based in Mil­wau­kee.

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