This community seems to be divided into three groups.
Those that support Donald Trump, those that don’t support Donald Trump and those that can’t stand to hear another word about Donald Trump.
Maybe we’re all near that point.
From what I hear from Trump supporters, there seems to be a general agreement that they disapprove of the things he says, the tweets he publishes and the controversy he causes, but they like that he stands up and says what he believes. They say they like the things he is doing and the direction he is taking the country economically. They like that they have a few more dollars in their paycheck because of the tax cut, and they certainly like the way their 401k retirement plan has grown.
Do I have that about right?
It’s a starting point for a conversation.
While most of us are aware of the issues that divide us — immigration, climate change, the Russia investigation — I contend there is still some common ground. It’s just not common knowledge.
They are issues that don’t come up much on cable news programs.
They are issues that we don’t hear talking points about.
As a result of the Wall Street meltdown in 2008, I lost a third of my retirement savings. I’m sure many of you did as well. The politicians promised us it would never happen again. Steps were taken to hold Wall Street accountable with tough regulations passed to hold financial institutions in check. The Consumer Financial Protection Agency was born from those efforts to give consumers an advocate for their interests. Over the last decade, billions of dollars have been returned to consumers through enforcement actions.
Much of that progress has been undone under the Trump administration. Big banks are again taking on riskier and riskier investments. The CFPA has been gutted and is doing fewer and fewer enforcement actions.
I like how my 401k has grown, too, but it is now possible for it all to disappear again, just like in 2008.
I see that as common ground.
Considering we reside in a smokestack community with a major river running through it, I suspect we all want our water and air to be pristine.
Under President Trump, the Environmental Protection Agency appears to be standing down when it comes to prosecuting polluters. The 166 referrals during the first fiscal quarter of this year were the fewest in 30 years.
The Trump administration has cut its enforcement budget, disbanded scientific review panels and the number of inspectors it employs is at a 10-year low.
Remember the BP explosion and oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico that killed 11?
Two hundred million gallons of oil went into the sea and marred coastlines and wrecked the economies of many summer beach communities.
Afterward, safety rules were tightened on offshore drilling, tests were required for “blowout preventers” and independent investigators were required to do safety checks.
The Trump administration has rescinded those safety measures.
They’ve paved the way for more offshore drilling with fewer safety measures.
It’s short-term thinking. One catastrophe can take decades to clean up and cost billions of dollars. This is a role the federal government should be playing to protect the environment and our economy.
The government increased fuel mileage standards to nearly 50 miles per gallon by 2026. Fewer car emissions would help the environment and be good for the pocketbook of every American.
The Trump administration rolled back the standards to remain at current levels, despite the objections of car manufacturers.
This is just the tip of the iceberg.
So while your bank account may be better off because of the tax cut, consider that the tax cut also reduced corporate tax rates from 35 percent to 21. The theory was those big companies would put that extra money into creating jobs, boosting salaries and, yes, making America great again.
What American companies did was make nearly $500 billion in stock buybacks so they would have to pay even less tax to the government while enhancing their own stock prices. This year was a record for stock buybacks.
This is a shell game.
While we’re screaming about immigration, racism and election security, the Trump administration is quietly rolling back regulations that protect our environment, provide safety for our workers and guard our retirement savings.
That’s the concern I have.
So when Trump supporters say they like what the president is doing, I think they need to look a little closer.
Ken Tingley is the editor of The Post-Star and may be reached via email at email@example.com. You can read his blog “The Front Page” daily at www.poststar.com or his updates on Twitter at www.twitter.com/kentingley.
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