I can’t tell you how much dread I feel knowing that, one week from today, Donald Trump will begin his first full day as President of the United States. “President Trump”! Would any of us have not laughed at that possibility a year ago?
Well, the nightmare is about to begin. We’re going to get a young and extremely conservative Supreme Court justice to replace Scalia, ensuring a right-wing Court for years to come, and both houses of Congress are majority Republican, which all but ensures that Trump will get his agenda passed. And we have a mentally unstable president driven solely by his ego and hatred of criticism.
Now the Republicans, as promised, are beginning their repeal of “Obamacare.” Yesterday, according to The Atlantic and many other venues, the House of Representatives voted by 227-198, largely along Party lines (a few brave Republicans voted with the Democrats), to begin its repeal of the healthcare law. (The Senate voted the same way earlier in the week.) The first step was a measure called “budget reconciliation”:
What Congress approved this week was a necessary procedural step giving Republicans the power to repeal the tax and spending provisions of Obamacare, and the party demonstrated the ability to overcome some internal resistance to moving so quickly to dismantle the system enacted by President Obama and congressional Democrats.
The next step is to actually repeal Obamacare, which requires strong Republican support, and that won’t be as easy given the consequences if that law isn’t replaced by another that gives poor people some kind of healthcare. After all, over 20 million people have benefited from Obamacare, and, as House minority leader Nancy Pelosi admitted yesterday, the Democrats were far poorer at advertising their successes than at getting the bill passed in the first place. If Republicans are simply going to take away healthcare from 20 million citizens without a replacement, they’re going to look mighty bad.
So what will their healthcare plan look like? I have no idea, but can’t imagine that it will be better than Obamacare, flawed as it was. And, although I consider myself reasonably informed on American politics—but not nearly informed as many readers here—I can’t for the life of me see any reasons why the Republicans are dismantling Obamacare save two:
1). They want to elminate an important part of Obama’s legacy, and do it as fast as possible.
2). They don’t like poor people and don’t particularly care if they have reasonably-priced access to healthcare. Their palaver about the costs of Obamacare is simply a smokescreen for their anti-poor agenda.
Some of you may poo-poo the second reason, but over the years Republicans have shown a persistent callousness toward the poor, adhering as they do to a “just world” theory that the poor deserve what they get. But as determinists we know that isn’t true: poor people are the victims of their genes and environments, not poor “choices”. This is one reason why determinism needs to be embraced by people (especially Republicans), for it breeds more empathy towards the dispossessed.
I am scared about what will happen to America within a week, and of course that will affect other nations as well. Our president will be an overgrown, emotion-ridden baby who has no idea what he’s doing; his one agenda is to puff himself up and tear down his enemies, and, I suspect, he doesn’t give a damn about what happens to America in the process.
And while we’re on the topic of Trump, I refer you to reader Heather Hastie’s new post, informative as always, “Why Trump’s tax cuts probably won’t create the jobs he promises.“