This is Part #2 of my article detailing the likely consequences of Donald Trump’s presidency–for Part #1, follow this link to the original post: https://theprogressivecynic.com/2016/11/14/12-nightmarish-consequences-of-a-donald-trump-presidency-part-1/
7) Climate Change will be Worsened, Not Addressed
Trump is not only in favor of increasing our reliance on polluting fossil fuels, but also believes that global warming is part of a vast conspiracy, designed by the Chinese to hurt the United States. As he doesn’t believe that climate change is real, Trump will not do anything to address it. He has already promised to roll back Obama’s fuel efficiency standards, regulations on coal-fired power plants, and green energy adoption, as well as withdrawing from the Paris Climate Accords that began implementation this year.
As previously mentioned, Trump has picked a climate change denier for his EPA head, and there is no reason to believe that he will pick better individuals for other high level executive positions related to the threat of climate change (e.g. Dept. of Energy, FEMA, etc.).
In totality, Trump will be a disaster for the climate. We simply don’t have four years to waste before addressing this threat and a Trump presidency will disrupt global efforts to reduce carbon emissions—the methane released by fracking operations approved under his presidency and carbon released from unregulated power plants will overshadow efforts to reduce carbon pollution and make it harder for other nations to justify their conservation efforts (e.g. if the USA refuses to address this, China, India and Russia will likely follow our bad example).
8) Trump will Persecute and Detain Undocumented Immigrants
On the campaign trail, Trump made fearmongering over the “threat” of illegal immigration into a major platform. He used to it attract disaffected voters and nationalists who falsely blame immigrants for taking “American” jobs and driving down wages (where the real culprits are de-unionization, outsourcing and automation). He promised to build a “huge” wall on the southern border, round up millions of undocumented immigrants, and even deprive natural born Americans whose parents are undocumented full rights as citizens.
While it is likely unaffordable for Trump to actually build a wall—he is more likely to build a fence and increase funding to ICE—and unconstitutional for him end birthright citizenship, he has broad powers to persecute undocumented immigrants.
Trump is almost certainly going to end the Obama-era executive orders that prioritize undocumented criminals while ignoring DREAM-eligible immigrants. He could make it significantly harder for undocumented immigrants and their children to access social welfare programs, or even function in society (e.g. through requiring proof of parental citizenship for children to access certain federal benefits, such as Medicaid).
In a worst-case scenario, Trump will follow through on his promise of rounding up and deporting as many as 3 million undocumented immigrants, splitting up families and creating an inhumane spectacle the like of which we haven’t seen since the Japanese Internment. This is unlikely however, as it would disrupt local economies across the nation, particularly in rural agrarian areas, where the farming economy is reliant upon cheap illegal labor. Such a disruption would hurt his political support in these areas and be immensely unpopular.
9) Taxes on the Wealthy will Decrease while the Poor will Pay More
Trump has released a tax plan that gives large tax cuts to the rich, while tiny tax breaks to the poor—because these tax cuts will be attached to social welfare program reductions, the end result is that wealthy Americans will do dramatically better under Trump’s tax code, while the poor and middle class will actually have to pay more (the tax cuts for the poor don’t make up for the reduction in their social programs).
By reducing the income tax code to three brackets—a 12% tax from $0 – $37,500, a 25% tax from $37,500 – $112,500 and a 33% tax on income over $112,500 (individual income, deductions not included)—Trump will cut base income tax rates on the wealthiest quintile of Americans by 7.3%, while the lowest quintile will only see cuts of 0.6%. He would also eliminate the estate tax, making it possible for wealthy families to accrue even larger fortunes across multiple generations, while avoiding taxation.
Coupled with the dramatic income tax reductions, Trump will cut the corporate tax rate from 35% to 15%, giving corporations one of the largest tax cuts they have ever experienced. While he claims that this will improve the American job market and stimulate growth, this is unsupported by any evidence and past tax cuts (e.g. the Bush tax cuts) actually show that the opposite is more likely.
Overall, the Tax Policy Center concludes that Trump’s tax plan would increase the deficit by approximately $6.2 trillion dollars in the first decade (not including interest) and make the US tax system dramatically more regressive—the rich would receive all of the benefits while the poor will be left expecting to do more with less.
10) Trump will Deregulate Big Business
Trump and the GOP leadership have promised to eviscerate federal regulations on a variety of interests, including oil/gas extractors, big banks, pharmaceutical companies, telecommunications giants, and polluting manufacturers. For the most part, they believe that “self-regulation” by industry is better than government regulation and Trump has promised to create a rule that every new regulation must be “paid for” by removing two old regulations. The damage that could be done by this weakening of the already inadequate federal regulatory infrastructure is immense and hard to overstate.
Deregulating oil and gas companies would allow them to pollute more around the extraction sites (e.g. the BP oil spill, fracking waste ponds, etc.), build dangerous and failure-prone pipelines to transport their oil to refineries, and sell enough polluting energy to ensure that climate change runs out of control.
Deregulating big banks (e.g. eliminating Dodd Frank) is immensely dangerous and would set the stage for the next economic crash. After deregulation, banks will be allowed to take greater risks, with your money, in order to make higher personal profits, regardless of how such risk-taking destabilizes the economy. As these banks are still too large to fail, the American people will be forced to bail out the banks again when their extreme risk-taking creates another crash (which is unavoidable given such high levels of risk).
Deregulating big pharma and big agriculture will put every American at risk through making it more likely that unsafe or tainted food and drugs will enter the American markets.
Deregulating telecom giants will let them increase internet and cable prices, strangle competitors, and silence those who disagree with them. It is the death of net neutrality and a threat the internet itself.
11) Public Schools will be Chartered or Privatized/Voucherized
Trump supports promoting school privatization and creating vouchers that subsidize private school tuition. This allows the state to cut costs and reduce property taxes on the wealthy, while leaving the poor and middle class with a coupon that only pays for a portion of the tuition at a private school. Public schools would still exist, but voucherization drains them of money and talented students, transforming them into a dumping ground for special education students, limited English proficient students, and people from families that are unable to afford the gap between the voucher and the tuition at a quality private school.
Public schools will increasingly be charter schools that don’t have to follow many traditional school regulations and don’t have to follow Teachers Union contracts. Not only will this destroy the unions and undermine labor rights, but it will push many students into a system of unregulated charter schools that provide an education of dubious quality (17% of charters have better results than public schools while 37% have worse results). While some students will find quality charter schools, this will be down to luck of the draw and the quality of state-level regulations.
12) Abortion will be Restricted and Women’s Health Defunded
Trump is currently declaring himself to be “pro-life” and has taken a stand against abortion protections. He has promised to support judges who will repeal Roe v. Wade (which ensures access to abortion as a civil right), sending abortion regulation back to the state level. Additionally, he supports ending federal funding for Planned Parenthood unless they stop providing abortion services.
If Trump is allowed to shape the Supreme Court, federal abortion protections will be eviscerated and states will have the power to restrict abortion providers as severely as they want. Many states will simply ban abortion and make it a crime to perform one (some ideologues even promote the idea of charging abortion providers with murder), while others will make it as hard as possible for women to access abortion services.
It is likely that a regional disparity in abortion access will emerge—residents of blue states in the northeast and west coast will still have easy access to abortion, while women in the deep south will be returned to pre-Roe situations. If a woman cannot afford to travel across the nation to an abortion-allowing state, they could try to terminate their own pregnancy, dramatically increasing the risks to their health.
Defunding Planned Parenthood would reduce access to reproductive health services, health screenings, and low-income healthcare. Counter-intuitively, it will increase the demand for abortion by reducing access to birth control, while making it harder for poor women to afford abortions if they get pregnant accidentally.