I’m wondering what you Trump supporters are thinking about GOP attempts to replace Obamacare. Polls and several special elections have shown that through all of what look (to a lot of us) like insurmountable troubles Trump remains teflon to much of his base. Shortly after the Comey firing I emailed a local Trump supporter with whom I had occasionally been corresponding to ask about his confidence level in his man. “100% supportive. I’m ecstatic about everything that’s occurred thus far in Trump’s presidency.”
On the other hand, that 83% disapproval of the plan Republicans had in the works on June 28 must have included some Trump fans.
Maybe I get it. Trump supporters don’t, as it can seem, support him only because they like the cut of his jib. They will not go on supporting him no matter what he does. They doubtless get a kick out of how those little Trumpian foibles confound liberal expectations; but they have their own expectations. It’s just that so far they fully believe in what we might call the Trump trade-off.
Trump will “put America first” by improving the economic lot of masses of citizens. If in the process we have to sacrifice a few frills and niceties –environmental protections, maintaining national parks and other public lands, combatting the opioid epidemic; if Trump cuts a few corners, dings the constitution, does his best to undermine the press and judiciary, and tarnishes the dignity of the office —well so be it. That’s the deal and it’s worth it.
Probably a lot of us would say it’s not worth it. After all, what doth it profit a nation if white, working people get a little more comfortable but we all lose cherished freedoms and safeguards?
But sure, it would certainly be a good thing if the average, inflation-adjusted income were to resume its upward climb, stalled about 45 years ago. But how would we know that were happening? What measures are Trump supporters keeping their eyes on to gauge whether their man p ulling off the economic miracle he brags about?
Not the DOW, obviously, that most prominent index. The DOW went above 20000 for the first time shortly after Trump’s inauguration (continuing a years-long trend). Probably a lot of us without significant stock holdings have a sentimental relationship to the DOW. We get a vicarious kick out of its success, as with rooting for a sports team.
A good day on the DOW has about has much actual connection to the economic well being of the 99% as the Patriot’s Super Bowl victory. The DOW has been going up on average, with occasional downward blips, for the whole 45 years in which average income and other measures have either flatlined or gone down. It may in fact, contrary to “trickle-down” thinking, have an inverse relationship to general wellbeing.
What we need is a DOW for the rest of us—call it the Index of General Welfare (IGW or something catchier)–as a scorecard to measure how Trump’s trade-off is working out. The IGW would be displayed prominently, in pointed juxtaposition to the stock index in the business section of newspapers. It would include such indices as inflation-adjusted income, poverty level, minimum wage, unemployment, (or how about job satisfaction?), home ownership. (A headline a few weeks ago: “ “US home prices rising 2 times faster than wages.” ) An IGW might include the ratio of average worker to CEO salary.
The IGW would of course have to include healthcare. The current GOP Obamacare replacement, which throws 23 million people off of insurance, cuts $834 billion from Medicaid, and defunds Planned Parenthood would appear to send the IGW sharply down, not up.
How are Trump aficionados contriving to read GOP replacement efforts as good for the masses of American people and thus in the spirit of Trump’s Trade-off?
How will you know when (and whether) your loyalty has in fact paid off?