Two things happening concurrently today in the news: President* Trump takes a tour of a new aircraft carrier, the Gerald R. Ford, in Newport News, Virginia while the GOP works feverishly to gut the ACA back in Washington.
Leaving the psychoanalysis of why guys love their big shiny objects aside, it’s important to ask why we have a new President* who is obsessed with building up our military (at a reported price tag of $54 billion added to the existing annual defense budget which would put it north of $600 billion) that is already far and away the largest in the world when it comes to aircraft carriers, submarines, fighter aircraft and a host of other big ticket items that help comprise our military might. Add to the President’s military ‘wish list’ is a pledge to ramp up our nuclear arsenal because I guess Trump really is bothered by Putin’s having 40 active warheads more than him? Yeah, because – really – what can a guy do with ‘only’ 1,750 active nuclear warheads?
Next up we have a proposed border wall that has an estimated cost of $23 billion or more (I choose to ignore the Trump bluster that somehow Mexico would pay for such a wall?). And just for kicks let’s add in the $1 trillion dollar (Yes you read that right!) 30 year U.S. nuclear arsenal modernization program and let’s also throw in anywhere from $500 billion to $1 trillion (There’s that number again!) infrastructure spending package as proposed by President* Trump.
Whew: that’s a lot of money….that we don’t have. Well how to pay for that extra carrier or ramp up our navy from 275 ships to 350? Trump has a plan for that: huge domestic budget cuts including cutting the budget at the EPA (Because who needs crap like clean water?) and the State Department because the rest of the world can go %@^# itself under the new ‘America First’ doctrine. Thanks to our new President*’s enlightened outlook on the environment, future generations of three-armed American children will be able to go to the school of their choice courtesy of their DeVos school vouchers. So I guess that’s a good thing? Sadly, Rex Tillerson will have to start bringing his own toilet paper to work over at State.
I would imagine that if you’re Trump and the GOP, that after you’ve spent billions of dollars on new aircraft carriers, ships, nuclear warheads, a ‘Great Great Wall’ along our southern border, and repaved some highways, you will be able to point with great pride at the ‘things’ you have to show for the money. You have something tangible, something real to show as the ROI for the trillions you’ve spent. I mean, hey, who doesn’t hate to spend three trillion on the Iraq War and only have a tee shirt that says Operation Iraqi Freedom to show for it?
If only it were as simple as letting the President and GOP have their pride in ownership in all this. Oh to be able to give them all this so that one day they could all walk out on the White House South Lawn and feed each other slices of a cake modeled after the just-completed Great Border Wall followed by a road trip to Newport News where they can all embrace each other aboard the newly christened USS Donald J. Trump.
The problem here of course is that all this comes at the expense of our health and financial well-being (Well perhaps not yours because, by some incredible stroke of good fortune, you have access to an employer-sponsored health plan.). For those not so fortune: like your neighbor…your friends and their families….your relatives….or about 30 million other Americans who – for a short period in our nation’s history – were fortunate enough to call a health plan secured through the Affordable Care Act their own, time is running short on the ACA as we know it.
Why Isn’t There Ample Money for America’s Healthcare Needs?
Sadly: the GOP simply refuses to buy in to the notion that our government has an obligation to each of us to make healthcare affordable. Instead we hear talking point after talking point about the lack of viability in continuing the Affordable Care Act as it stands today. We hear talk about ‘repairing’ the ACA but in all likelihood drafting a replacement for the program that will take something that deservedly belongs at the federal level and pushes it back down to the state level so as to provide greater cover for GOP politicians in Washington. We’ll then hear the usual nonsense about states’ rights and even more nonsense from GOP members claiming to have saved healthcare for Americans as though they each landed and fought on the Normandy Beach of healthcare.
Even more galling? We’ll hear the inane rationale that the individual mandate runs counter to the America we know and love making each member of the GOP who votes for ACA repeal a convenient Libertarian before they go right back to intruding on your life in all its facets from putting you in jail because you prefer pot to whiskey or have the audacity to want to control your own body’s reproductive rights. Sadly all this hogwash will be about one simple fact of life: the GOP wants the big shiny things in life your taxpayer dollars buy. What they don’t want is to see you and your family continue to have affordable healthcare access by way of the ACA. There’s simply no return on investment to the men and women of today’s GOP in Washington when it comes to helping you maintain your health and financial wellbeing. Please remember that the next time you drive by a highway construction project or see our President* standing proudly on the deck of an aircraft carrier wearing his red baseball cap atop his ducktail.