This has gone on long enough. All that anyone can talk about right now is how Republican voters are itching for someone to “stand and fight,” “speak his mind,” and “tell it like it is.” All right then, here goes.
Donald Trump is not a conservative, and it’s beyond time every Republican knows it. This MSNBC caricature of the GOP incarnate is getting heaps of praise from frustrated conservative base voters and unfortunately too much airtime from conservative political pundits because he evidently “tells it like it is.”
Except that he doesn’t.
Trump’s number-one issue is immigration and Mexico. They are “the new China,” after all… whatever that means. Thank you, Mr. Trump, for raising the issue of border security, as if it weren’t already an integral part of every single platform the other GOP candidates (even of Rand Paul). We can agree that border security is important. Beyond that, Trumponomics is a mess of routinely debunked fallacies and pages pulled straight from Bernie Sanders’ manifesto.
Donald Trump Is a Health-Care Socialist
First off, Trump explicitly supports single-payer healthcare (i.e., Europe and Canada). “[W]e need, as a nation, to reexamine the single-payer plan.” That is a direct quote from Trump. It’s in his 2000 book, “The America We Deserve.” As of last week, Trump still defends his position on socialized medicine. Americans don’t deserve long waits for poor care and a burdensome tax regime to fund it all.
We don’t even need to look across the border or the Atlantic to see the kind of mess single-payer creates. Medicaid is a single-payer system. A well-known study published in the New England Journal of Medicine found that Medicaid produces no discernible improvement in health outcomes versus being uninsured. Government “insurance” is that bad. In fact, the only difference found in the study was that Medicaid recipients consumed a lot more healthcare than the control group.
The same problems exist with Medicare. As Michael Tanner of the Cato Institute explains: “Studies have long shown that there is little correlation between Medicare spending and healthy outcomes.” How do Americans “deserve” systems that are functionally no better than being uninsured?
Making matters worse, these programs are absolutely bankrupting the nation. By 2031, entitlement spending and interest on the debt will consume 100 percent of tax revenue. All other spending, including defense and border security, will come from borrowed money, much of it probably from China. And Trump’s grand plan is to expand these programs?
Donald Trump Also Supports Higher Taxes
His plan to help pay for this massive new government takeover of healthcare is also quite troubling. Trump has expressed support for raising the corporate tax to help cover the increased spending. Currently, the United States has the highest corporate tax rate in the industrialized world; U.S. companies face nearly a 40 percent combined state and federal rate. Even President Obama has expressed support for lowering the rate.
Jacking up the corporate tax rate to fund a nationalization of the healthcare industry is perhaps one of Trump’s more mild tax plans.
Trump has also proposed a one-time, 14.25 percent wealth tax on all assets above $10 million. He proposed the tax in 1999 as a way of trying to eliminate the more modest national debt at the time. Such a policy would actually just end up wiping out the economy instead. Wealth and cash are very different things. Wealth is your home, your car, other belongings, and investments. A one-time mega-tax on these things would cause a massive fire sale across the country. After all, you can’t sell only 14.25 percent of a yacht. Stocks, real estate, and other assets would flood the market, destroying much of the value of all of these things, be they on the market or not.
Mercantilism Isn’t Free Trade, Donald Trump
Let’s talk China and trade. Trump claims to be a free-trade advocate. The problem with that is that Trump has also threatened China with a 25 percent tariff. First off, China wouldn’t pay for this tariff; you would. Consumer goods would become much more expensive across the board. Tariffs only deplete purchasing power and are effectively major regressive taxes on the poor.
Second, we’ve already had a numbskull Republican president wage an unprovoked trade war. It was Herbert Hoover when he signed the Smoot-Hawley Tariff into law. What happened? Other nations retaliated and raised tariffs on American-made goods (as China would surely do) and U.S. unemployment subsequently spiked. If you haven’t heard of this dramatic episode in American history, try it by its more common name: The Great Depression, to which the Smoot-Hawley Tariff was a major contributor, if not an igniting factor.
All this being said, it isn’t the more nuanced economics that ought to frustrate conservatives. Some of these concepts are a little tricky. Instead, we ought to be outraged at the downright contradictions that emanate from Trump within seconds of each other. On one hand, we are supposed to believe that Mexico is “just killing us” economically. On the other, we are supposed to believe that Mexicans are flooding here for a better life. Which is it? This is the same kind of populist nonsense we hear from Democrats when they cry, “Education and healthcare should be free!” while at the same time demand that “Teachers and nurses should be paid more!”
Enough is enough. The frustration of conservatives toward politicians is understandable and completely warranted. Republicans often get to Washington and don’t do what they say. But right now, we ought to be paying more attention to what Donald Trump is really saying, or we’ll rue the day he’s in a position to do anything.