In response to the colossal shitstorm that has been the first 40 days of the Donald Trump Presidency, The Donald put on his least oversized suit, combed his toupee into place, and addressed congress for the first time as president.
Trump played the hits, calling out the unemployment rate, high murder rate, and condemning the growth of globalism. But Trump also spoke out against recent anti-Semitic threats and crimes, stating that, “We are a country that stands united in condemning hate and evil in all its ugly forms.”
Trump’s delivery was uncharacteristically polished; he rarely ad-libbed, and read most of his speech from a teleprompter. Trump aimed to rally behind unity, to gather bipartisan support for upcoming measures. But his speech was not void of the Trumpian fear mongering and misrepresentation that has become a staple of his administration.
Here were the three biggest takeaways from Trump’s address:
A hallmark on the Trump administration so far has been its unrelentingly staunch stance on immigration. Tuesday’s speech was no different, as Trump patted himself on the back for the recent uptick in deportations.
Trump’s motivation is clear; he sees illegal immigration as a severe ill plaguing the nation. He believes that enforcing immigration laws will “Raise wages, help the unemployed, save billions of dollars, and make our communities safer for everyone.” That may not actually be true, especially because state and federal governments absorb most of the costs associated with illegal immigration, but it may not matter.
As long as unhappy Americans have a boogeyman—be it illegals, Muslims, the press or literally any other country in the world—any change made by the Trump administration will feel like long-awaited progress.
For that reason, it seems increasingly likely that Trump will soon get his incredibly useless border wall, which he promised would be in the works soon.
After mentioning the crumbling infrastructure, Trump likened his election to an earthquake, saying that “The earth shifted beneath our feet.” The juxtaposition was appropriate, as recent storms have left roads and bridges nationwide in disarray.
Trump promised, “Crumbling infrastructure will be replaced with new roads, bridges, tunnels, airports and railways gleaming across our beautiful land,” but did not specify where the funding for these projects would be coming from, only briefly mentioning a vague “public and private capital.”
The president is keen on creating new jobs, and he seems to be working on a public works project akin to that of the New Deal, as he pledged to invest $1 trillion into infrastructure, which he said would create “millions of jobs.”
It’s no question that that many of the structures that serve as the foundation of this country are not in good condition—just ask anyone who has even driven in Syracuse. But Trump’s broad promise to invest a sizable amount of money into infrastructure could be worrisome for the economy, and would likely plunge our nation further into debt.
Trump used a significant portion of his speech to decry the cornerstone accomplishment of his predecessor’s presidency, the Affordable Care Act. While the ACA is by no means perfect, repealing it would put roughly 20 million Americans out of healthcare, a severely damaging figure.
But Trump’s address brought something of a plot twist. Trump specifically outlined his plan to replace Obamacare, describing a five-point process; ensure coverage to Americans with pre-existing conditions, allow Americans to use tax credits and Health Savings accounts to purchase non-governmental plans, increase access to Medicaid, decrease hospital and pharmaceutical costs, and allowing enrollees to purchase insurance across state lines.
If that sounds utopian, that’s because it is. Government funding for a project like this would have to be astronomical. With the Wall and the trillion-dollar public works project looming, it seems unlikely that congressional republicans will approve this all-encompassing increase in spending. Even if they do, it’s hard to believe that insurance providers will readily accept a completely unregulated market.
This could leave millions of Americans uninsured and has the potential to do far more damage than the ACA ever could.