(Originally published on Pecorino & Eggs on January 26, 2017 under the title “Donald Trump Has No Friends?)
We've got a lot to cover. And, while we’ve never been a huge fan (or even, “tremendous” fan) of lists, we feel bullet points are the best way to tackle what can only be described as a chaotic, manic, inexplicable first week of Mr. Trump’s presidency. So bear with us as we try to make sense of a tiny handed man whose only clear objective is attempting to follow his own rambling logic.
In today’s lesson plan, we’ll cover:
Affordable Care Act
The Pipeline Orders
Donald Trump Has No Friends
The insanity leeching out of Mr. Trump during his campaign is now gushing out of him like a spastic fire hydrant. It’s true, Mr. Trump promised to build a wall along the Mexican/American border to “stop drugs from pouring in,” and keep out drug dealers, rapists, and criminals. It’s also true, Mr. Trump promised Americans that Mexico would pay for said wall. What wasn’t clear was how exactly Mexico was going to fund such a project. Rest assured, though, our Commander in Chief has a solution. In an executive order signed on Wednesday, Mr. Trump ordered the immediate construction of a wall using funds already available in the United States budget. And, while these funds are, in fact, designated for the sole purpose of border protection, they only represent a fraction of what it will cost to construct a 15-foot, 1,000-mile wall. So, what’s the plan after that? Even though Mexico has refused to pay for the wall—going so far as to cancel a trip to meet with the president—Mr. Trump is moving forward with the idea the American taxpayers will foot the cost and Mexico will reimburse us. How will they reimburse us, you ask? By implementing a 20% tax on goods imported from Mexico. In a statement released earlier today, White House spokesman Sean Spicer said such a tax could generate approximately $20 billion dollars a year in tax revenue. I see two problems with this: the first, according to the United States Trade Representative, in 2015, U.S. goods and services trade with Mexico totaled an estimated $583.6 billion, with $267.2 billion accounting for exports, and $316.4 billion accounting for imports. That means the U.S. goods and services trade deficit with Mexico in 2015 was $49.2 billion. Now, it’s possible Mexico could reduce the number of its exports, which would effectively kill a number of jobs (according to the Department of Commerce, U.S. exports of goods and services to Mexico supported an estimated 1.1 million jobs in 2014), or, more likely, they refuse to pay such a tax. Secondly, and perhaps a larger problem could be, Mexico imposes a tax on us. If we have a trade deficit with Mexico that’s just shy of $50 billion, what’s stopping them from imposing their own tax? As Mr. Trump has already demonstrated, there doesn’t need to be any particular rhyme nor reason to create a tax on trade. Setting dangerous precedents on trade could also have global ramifications with countries such as China, Japan, and South Korea.
AFFORDABLE CARE ACT
In spite of what many Americans think, the Affordable Care Act—or ACA—is not an insurance company. Since its inception, though, thousands of people have taken to Facebook and Twitter to voice their displeasure with the customer service of the ACA—I’m looking at you Bren.
Let me be clear, the ACA is and never was an insurance company. It’s simply an act designed to provide affordable care universally in America—hence the name: Affordable Care Act. On Monday, Mr. Trump signed an executive order directing members of his administration to begin efforts to repeal and replace the ACA. Even the most conservative estimates put the number of people who will lose their health insurance at 18,000,000. That’s over 5% of our country’s population. The president doesn’t yet have a plan to replace the ACA, but has assured the American people it will be “tremendous.” Perhaps, Mr. Trump, Mexico can fund our new healthcare system, as well. You should just write it out like a Christmas list of things you want from them and hope they take you seriously. If this plan seems a bit childish to you, perhaps you could just impose a 30% tax on Mexican imports. Or, hell, why not 40%?
THE PIPELINE ORDERS
Ah, yes, well done you demonic, apple-faced goon, you even signed executive orders related to the Dakota Access and Keystone XL pipeline projects. Effective immediately, construction should resume on both projects. Mr. Trump also signed a directive ordering an end to protracted environmental reviews. I’m sure your oil lobbyist friends were collectively masturbating over this one. And I’m also sure you weren’t at all motivated by your own financial well-being. Did you really think, Mr. Trump, we wouldn't care that you own shares in Phillips 66—a joint venture partner in Dakota Access pipeline—as well as investments in the Canadian energy company TransCanada—the developer of the Keystone XL pipeline? This comes in conjunction with the recent freeze you put on government agencies’ spending, most notably the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). You’re like the dealer in a game of Blackjack who somehow convinces the rest of the table to let you play, and then stacks the deck for himself. Which brings us to our next point...
After you froze spending you went so far as to order the EPA to shut their tree-hugging traps about what you’ve done. In spite of this fascist direction, one EPA staffer—who wished to remain anonymous—relayed the following: “The entire agency is under lockdown, the website, Facebook, Twitter, you name it is static and can't be updated. All reports, findings, permits and studies are frozen and not to be released. No presentations or meetings with outside groups are to be scheduled. Any Press contacting us are to be directed to the Press Office which is also silenced and will give no response. All grants and contracts are frozen from the contractors working on Superfund sites to grad school students working on their thesis. We are still doing our work, writing reports, doing cancer modeling for pesticides hoping that this is temporary and we will be able to serve the public soon. But many of us are worried about an ideologically-fueled purging and if you use any federal data I advise you gather what you can now. We have been told the website is being reworked to reflect the new administration's policy.” As of this morning, the EPA’s website—which had been updated regularly—shows the last update was made seven days ago. On the other hand, the National Park Service is a prime example of a government-funded group unwilling to bow down to your 1984-esque style of governing. Well done, Park Service, we at Pecorino & Eggs commend you. Placing gag orders on government agencies is about as effective as last year’s Congress. It’s like you beat somebody up on the playground and then rudely asked them not to tell on you.
DONALD TRUMP HAS NO FRIENDS
Ah yes, it’s true. Sure, Mr. Trump, you have people you surround yourself with, but your aura of desperation reeks like a cheap cologne. You’re not even a week into your presidency and already some of your staff hate your guts. Yesterday, New York Magazine reported you “get bored” easily and would rather “watch television” than listen to security briefings. And even the faintest criticism that’s sent your way makes your blood boil. So now you know, Mr. Trump, how we feel every time you open your mouth. The New York Times even reported you are “convinced of broad, but hidden plots to undermine” you, and said you “channel fringe ideas and give them as much weight as carefully researched reports.” For an example of this, please refer to your own conspiracy that voter fraud is the reason you lost out on the popular vote, or the ludicrous claim you had higher crowd counts at your inauguration than former President Obama. First, David Becker, who for six years was in charge of the election initiative for the Pew Center, said voter duplication “does exist, but it happens in very, very small numbers and nothing like what is claimed by the president.” Even Lindsey Graham thinks you’re off your rocker on this one! That’s like the BTK Killer saying you took things too far. Secondly, U.S. News & World Reportreleased an article on Wednesday, with evidence you may be interested in, Mr. Trump. Your nominee to be secretary of the Treasury (and former Goldman Sachs partner), Steven Mnuchin, is registered to vote in both California and New York. Casual racist Steve Bannon, your senior advisor, registered to vote in New York while being registered to vote in Florida (he’s still registered to vote in Florida by the way). And perhaps the best example of this corruption you’re hell-bent on exposing is Tiffany Trump, your daughter, who is registered to vote in both Pennsylvania and New York. Your ability to be clueless about things is truly something to be marveled at. And, thirdly, who fucking cares about inauguration crowds? Are you that petty that you can’t accept the fact that the first black president of this country garnered a wider audience than a rich white boy from Manhattan?
I’d love to jump into the federal funding you cut from sanctuary cities, or the living hell that is Betsy Devos and her education “point of view,” or the 17 other agencies and programs Mr. Trump wants to cut, or even Kellyanne Conway’s casual claim that assertions made by the White House can be described as “alternative facts.” Here’s an alternative fact for you: you’re a great guy, Mr. Trump, full of profound and poignant wisdom, and whose decency toward every living being in this world is matched only by your generosity.
While your heart may swell at this alternative fact we've presented, we the people know what it really is: a lie.