Editorial: How Trump will hurt you

As Friday’s inauguration of President-elect Donald Trump approaches, it’s important for Vermonters to understand the impact his actions will have on them and the nation. Put aside his boorishness and childish need to get in the last dig on anyone who challenges him, and just focus on what he hopes to undo in the first 100 days.
• Dismantling the Affordable Care Act: If Republicans go ahead and axe funding for Obamacare before a new plan is in place, here’s what happens to Vermonters:
If you’re a person and have a family member with a pre-existing condition, you will likely be booted off your plan and the cost for private insurance will be exorbitant; if you’re a young adult up to 26 years old, and currently covered by your parent’s health care, you’ll be kicked off their plan and have to get a plan of your own — costing thousands of extra dollars for you or your family; if you have a chronic medical condition, once again you will face a lifetime cap on your medical insurance policy after which expenses are paid out of pocket.
Nor are the numbers small. According to Middlebury MD Wesley Clark in a letter he wrote to the Addison Independent last week, approximately 50 percent of Vermonters have pre-existing medical conditions, and close to half of all Vermonters would face lifetime limits to their health insurance policies. Under the ACA, insurance companies could no longer impose lifetime caps and could not deny coverage because of pre-existing conditions.
So, Trump supporters, when your sons and daughters are left uninsured; when your lifetime limits are capped; when you’re kicked off your policy because of pre-existing conditions (and that is at least half of you), thank Mr. Trump and the Republicans running the House and Senate.
• On wages, unless you are the owner of your own company, prepare for less control and fewer benefits. Trump and the GOP are anti-union, for lower wages, and fewer benefits. Those who will suffer most are the less educated, rural Americans — generally, the white, middle-to-lower income wage eager who graduated high school but not college — the very demographic who supported Trump.
• As for America’s leadership in the world, Trump is clearly beholden to Russian influence whether through salacious “kompromat” or of his own choosing. And there is plenty of discriminating evidence already verified without waiting to discover the veracity of the secret dossiers on Trump currently being reviewed by the nation’s intelligence community. What we already know is, as the Washington Post’s Anne Applebaum writes, that Trump’s real estate empire “relies significantly on Russian money,” including “a whole series of partners and investors linked to post-Soviet oligarchs and even Russian organized crime; that his former campaign manager Paul Manafort spent many years working on behalf of the thuggish Russian-backed Ukrainian president, Viktor Yanukovych and maintains ties to pro-Russian groups in Ukraine,” and recently lived in the Trump Towers. Furthermore writes Applebaum, “last summer, Trump operatives at the convention changed the Republican Party platform to soften the language on Ukraine… It was one of the few substantive changes made to the entire party platform.” Why? Don’t Republicans want to know?
The thread that holds it all together is when you look at Trump’s nascent foreign policy direction. Writes Applebaum: “He is willing to risk serious conflict with China, to destroy U.S. relations with Mexico, to dismiss America’s closest allies in Europe and to downgrade NATO, our most important military alliance. But he has repeated many times his admiration for Russia and its president.” Sen. John McCain is concerned, but are mainstream Republicans suddenly content to look the other way?
• And then there’s China and international trade: A recent analysis by foreign policy writer Fareed Zakaria, writes that Trump could be the best thing to ever happen to China as China has pushed its own trade deal (after the death of Obama’s proposed Trans-Pacific Partnership) with those same countries — leaving out the U.S. and American goods.
And as President-elect Trump was threatening to build a wall along the Mexican border, China’s President Xi Jinping made a trip this November throughout Latin American in which he signed more than 40 deals and committed billions of dollars worth of investments in the region — investments made on behalf of Chinese businesses and that country’s future economic growth. Leave it to Trump and his supporters to make it worse for the very people who voted Trump in.
• Lastly, note the environment. Trump has nominated Scott Pruitt, Oklahoma’s former Attorney General, who has filed 14 suits against the EPA in his few years in that post, all of which would do more harm to the environment than help. Pruitt has routinely sided with big oil, mega-agricultural industries, mining interests and others… many of whom have also directly contributed to his past campaigns. Rather than drain the swamp, Pruitt’s nomination and potential appointment doubles-down on that very notion of greed, political favors and corruption in a Trump administration — and Pruitt will undoi, if he can, the many advances made to improve the nation’s environment over the past eight years under President Obama.
Sad. Very sad.
— Angelo S. Lynn

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