Donald Trump. The man is a phenomenon. He has toyed with the idea of running for president for years, but almost no one took him seriously. He was always the real estate mogul, the Apprentice boss, and America’s billionaire. Now he truly is running for President of the United States. Not only that–he is on the heels of potentially securing the Republican nomination.
No one saw this coming. The media may still be convinced he’s joking or doing it for publicity. Many Americans feel the same way. They thought a media mogul who has been so bombastic and unconventional all his life could never run for president. Well, reality never fails to surprise. However, as our country races toward November which seems like an eventual head-to-head of Trump versus Hillary Clinton, I feel it crucial to analyze Donald Trump on two fronts. A potential president ought to be evaluated on his or her demeanor, which would be witnessed by leaders around the world, and also his or her policy plans, which could affect the United States for years to come.
First on Donald Trump’s demeanor. A president should be a person who radiates respect and honor for our nation’s youngest citizens to emulate. President is a position that children dream of being one day because it is a job of such dignity. Now, this campaign season has surely delved into political mudslinging and personal attacks; however, no one has insulted demographic groups so generally as Donald Trump has.
On the first day of his campaign, Donald Trump used his launch speech to chastise all illegal immigrants. He told the nation that “[illegal immigrants are] bringing drugs, they’re bringing crime. They’re rapists and some, I assume, are good people.” This country does indeed have a problem with an inflow of drugs, such as “heroin, methamphetamine, cocaine, and marijuana” across the border (1). However, Donald Trump’s comments totally brushed over the fact that most illegal immigrants come to the United States to escape poverty, war, and crime hoping to tap into the opportunity that the United States offers. Trump made no mention of these family’s plights and how we can help them. These immigrants are refugees just seeking to better their own family’s lives. We will discuss the policy aspect of his comments later, but for now the hasty generalization of his comments stand on their own. Trump used his speech to chastise all illegal immigrants as the criminals that in reality illegal immigrant families are trying to escape.
Now I do see how many people have extrapolated Trump’s words calling him racist against all Mexicans. I am not convinced by that argument as he was referring to specifically illegal immigrants. He actually promotes legal immigration. Therefore, I would not call Trump racist based on his comments. However, they were downright ignorant and hurtful to the many families that come here to seek a better life, especially the many children who come to escape the poverty of some Central American countries.
Even though Donald Trump was not racist at that juncture, I do think he started a racist movement long before he started running for office. He could be seen as one of the spearheads of the accusations that President Barack Obama was not American. Frankly, this would not have been an issue if President Obama were not black. Donald Trump even tried to immorally force the president into releasing his birth certificate so that Trump would then donate large sums of money to charity (2). This movement headed by Trump invigorated many white supremacists and racists to join in the effort to call the president a Kenyan, a Muslim, and other pejoratives.
Throughout the years, Donald Trump has also been misogynistic. He has been criticized for his comments about many women. He has used such terms as “bimbo…dog…fat pig” to describe women. Then, during the campaign season, he talked about former candidate Carly Fiorina in the following way: “Look at that face. Would anyone vote for that?” Then when discussing childrearing he has made the comment: “I like kids. I won’t do anything to take care of them. I’ll supply funds, and she’ll take care of the kids.” He also has said inappropriate things like, “That must be a pretty picture: you dropping to your knees.” A book once attributed this quote to him: “Women: you have to treat them like s**t.” Furthermore, when he feels attacked by women, he wages personal insults. For example, he did not like how he was treated by Fox News at a Republican debate. Therefore, about Fox’s Megan Kelly he said, “There was blood coming out of her eyes. There was blood coming out of her…wherever” (3). Should a man who has insulted 50% of the population so often really be leading the nation?
Additionally, while Trump often touts his support of veterans, on the campaign trail he offended basically all prisoners of war. “‘He’s not a war hero,’ Trump said of Republican Arizona Sen. John McCain in Iowa this August. ‘He’s a war hero because he was captured. I like people that weren’t captured, okay?’ He quickly walked it back slightly: ‘Perhaps he’s a war hero,’ he said moments later” (4).
Then, he has gone after an entire religion. In a recent interview, he said “I think Islam hates us” (5) Rather than specifically condemning Muslim extremists, Trump has condemned the religion over 1.6 billion people (6). He said that there is a “tremendous hatred” in the religion. Furthermore, he raised suspicion of all Muslims saying “It’s very hard to define. It’s very hard to separate. Because you don’t know who’s who” when referring to defining who is extremist (5). He has furthered these generalizations with his policy position that there should be a temporary ban on Muslim immigration into the United States.
Besides insulting entire demographic groups, Trump has created a culture of violence at his rallies. Regardless of what protesters have done, he has played into the violence encouraging it and expressing that he would like to beat up protesters himself. Trump has said inciting comments such as “I’d like to punch him in the face,” and “Knock the crap out of him, would you?” (7). He has even defended the violence of his own supporters saying “If you see somebody getting ready to throw a tomato, knock the crap out of them, would you? Seriously. Okay? Just knock the hell. I promise you I will pay for the legal fees. I promise” (8). He has also said “part of the problem…is nobody wants to hurt each other anymore” (9).
Some Trump supporters insist that it is protesters who are causing the violence since Trump rallies often begin with a call to not engage in violence; however, his aforementioned comments clearly send a different message. Although, he has said “try not to hurt him” when referring to a protester being carried out, he followed that with “If you do, I’ll defend you in court” (8).
Overall Donald Trump is encouraging the exact opposite of civil discourse. Rather than peacefully removing protestors, he stomps out any doubt of his views with his bombast and strong stance on wanting them to be harmed. We cannot work together to solve the problems of this country if we personally attack one another and beat each other up. The exchange of ideas ends when insults and arms are used over civil conversation. Donald Trump is encouraging a cult following where anyone who is not with Trump ought to be either verbally or physically harmed. Admittedly, perhaps protestors should peacefully assemble outside his rallies instead, but it would be victim blaming to say they are at fault for Trump’s supporters throwing punches and Trump’s own comments encouraging the violence.
Donald Trump’s statements on these various groups (illegal immigrants, African-Americans, women, Muslims, veterans, and protestors) should raise worry over how such a man would lead a nation of such pluralism. He seems to personally attack any group or person with whom he disagrees. This does not seem like behavior deserving of the presidency. How could he represent a nation of 320 million people from all different backgrounds, races, genders, and religions when he has spent so much time dividing up groups on those grounds? Based solely on his demeanor over the past many years and especially this election season, Donald Trump seems unfit to lead this country. He would damage the United States’ image on the world stage having already upset leaders from Mexico, the Middle East, and elsewhere.
Perhaps that is the essence of the dichotomy within Donald Trump’s appeals. His supporters cling to his nationalism. He says he will be “greedy” for the country winning trade deals that bring back manufacturing, winning the war on terror by eliminating ISIS, and winning on fiscal responsibility by reducing foreign aid to our allies (10). This is, after all, the mantra of his entire campaign: Donald Trump will win for America. He has even said that there will be so much winning that we may get “bored with winning” (11). The cherry on the top of this nationalistic cake is that he will “make America great again.” That phrase is embedded into everything his campaign produces, and its incredible simplicity has been amazingly effective.
Donald Trump’s supporters feel that they have not been listened to in Washington for years. They are fed up with policies that do not benefit them. They are aggravated with political gridlock and monied interests. Some of them may also feel that they are losing their country to other cultures; this explains some of the resentment toward immigrants, Muslims, and other groups. All of these emotions have in reality created two candidates that are riding this populist wave: Donald Trump and Bernie Sanders. However, Trump is especially playing on the nationalistic sentiments.
The dichotomy of this appeal of Trump is that being so “pro-America” may be damaging to cultures that some deem not American and also to some of our allies. For instance, Mexico is one of our closest friends, yet Trump’s ignorant comments on illegal immigration have angered many of Mexico’s citizens and government leaders (12). He has accused the Mexican government of “sending people that have lots of problems” (13). Also, Trump’s policy on temporarily banning Muslim immigration and also his comments on Islam itself have angered the leaders of our Middle Eastern ally countries, which we so desperately need in order to win the war on terror. For example, “Saudi prince and businessman Alwaleed bin Talal…called him a ‘disgrace to America'” (14). Furthermore, Trump’s comments insinuating that he would reduce foreign aid to our allies because they can allegedly defend themselves have raised great concern from those allies. For example, he has claimed that the United States receives practically nothing for protecting our allies militarily. However, keeping our troops in those countries not only protects American interests but also comes at a price for those countries. For example, South Korea pays $800 million annually for U.S. military support (15). This all adds on top of the various comments many leaders of ally nations have made expressing fear over a Trump presidency (13).
This grave concern stems not only from Trump’s bombastic and offensive comments but also from his dangerous policy ideas. A candidate for president should be judged on both his or her candor as well as the policies that he or she would aim to enact if elected to office.
As previously mentioned, Donald Trump has concerned many allies over his statements that he would end support unless the United States was paid or assisted more for its support. Similar to his comments on South Korea, he has said that we are not paid fairly for supporting Japan militarily either (16). However, as mentioned these countries do pay the U.S. millions of dollars, and our nation has a vested interest in being in those countries. Regarding his plans in the Middle East, “he threatens to halt oil purchases and end the U.S. alliance with Saudi Arabia unless it commits ground troops.” These types of pronouncements convey to Trump’s supporters that he will be a great deal maker for the U.S. However, these aforementioned “deals” would simply not be possible. The United States sees it as a mutual relationship being in South Korea and Japan, and our nation needs oil from Saudi Arabia for our energy supply. Therefore, Trump could not simply end oil purchases as the United States imports over one million barrels of oil from Saudi Arabia every day (17). Trump’s foreign policy ineptness is further evidenced by his recent insinuation that the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) is simply not worth the money. NATO guarantees to all partners within it that all other members will come to one another’s assistance if attacked. This security guarantee builds trust between nations and establishes leverage against potential aggressors like Russia.
These statements again play right into Trump’s nationalistic appeal. He has said he is not isolationist, yet his foreign policy will be “America first.” However, Trump does not realize that these multinational agreements, foreign military help, and international trade also benefit the United States. He is attempting to undo decades of progress on establishing international coalitions to combat our common foes.
As a subset of foreign policy, Trump has also exposed his lack of expertise in the field of counter terror operations. He has proposed temporarily banning Muslims from the United States, surveilling mosques, killing terrorists’ families, and reinstating torture. However, all these policies have been deemed unconstitutional, immoral, or downright ineffective.
Regarding banning Muslim immigration, Trump’s plan would defy the core values of this country. Not only does this policy position send a message to 1.6 billion Muslims that they are no longer welcome in America, it also conveys that there is an American suspicion of the entire religion. Furthermore, the policy would defy the First Amendment of the United States’ Constitution: “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof” (18). By banning a religion’s people from this country even temporarily, Trump would be de facto creating a law that favors some religions over others.
Some Trump supporters will counter that President Franklin Roosevelt banned all Japanese, German, and Italian immigration during World War II (19). While this is true, the policies were established against actual nations with whom we were at war. For this reason, that policy is far different from Donald Trump’s as we are not at war with Islam and Islam is not a nation but a religion.
Furthermore, in a similar vein as FDR’s internment of Japanese Americans, Trump has proposed surveilling mosques in the U.S. as well as shutting some down (20). FDR’s actions were immoral as these were American citizens being detained without reasonable cause. Donald Trump’s actions would be immoral as well as they would encroach on religious freedom and the Fourth Amendment protecting against unwarranted search.
Another proposal on Trump’s counter-terror list would be to kill the innocent family members of terrorists. He has said, “The other thing with the terrorists is you have to take out their families, when you get these terrorists, you have to take out their families” (21). In response, military and political leaders have denounced Trump’s policy as counter to international law and the Geneva Convention, which prohibits an attack’s objective from having the explicit intent of killing civilians (22). Furthermore, killing innocent people that are not involved in terrorist activity would only incite further violence. The friends and families of those innocent victims would then find reason to detest America and wage violence. This is definitely not the path the United States should be taking if it truly wants to quell further terrorist sentiments.
Regarding another one of Trump’s controversial stances on counter terror, he would like to reinstate torture in order to fight ISIS. He says he would “bring back a hell of a lot worse than waterboarding” (23). To be clear, such tactics are indeed illegal torture and not so-called enhanced interrogation techniques (24). Republican Senator John McCain has called the techniques “inhumane” and has said, “Our enemies act without conscience. We must not” (25). The methods that the CIA used to engage in were truly mentally and physically dehumanizing to suspects, who were often held in detainment without a fair trial due to the fact that they were kept at Guantanamo Bay and not awarded constitutional rights. For the democracy that is supposed to embody human rights, engaging in torture makes us fail at maintaining that honor. Furthermore, some, such as President Obama, argue that this neglect of human rights only emboldens our enemies further since they can use Guantanamo Bay and our past use of torture as evidence that the United States does not value human rights. Therefore, not only is torture immoral and stooping our civilized society down to the level of barbarians, torture is also counterproductive to our mission and ineffective. Reports have found that when the CIA did use torture, it barely ever produced correct and reliable information (26). When suspects are tortured, they will say almost anything in order to have the torture stop; therefore, even when they do not know any information, they will provide false information. Thus, torture would actually make our fight against terror more difficult not less.
Through analyzing all these policy positions, it is clear that Donald Trump lacks the knowledge and the experience in being able to truly combat and prevent terror. Mindless ruthlessness is not what our country needs in order to stop the terrible acts committed by extremists. We need careful, thoughtful policies that prevent further murder and not provide any possible reasons for extremists to want to harm the United States. This is an extremely difficult war that will not end anytime soon, but Donald Trump’s proposals would only lengthen that war.
Regarding a different form of international relations, Trump has held bold stances on trade as well. As usual he has proclaimed that he will win for America on this front counter to what has allegedly been happening the past many decades. Now, both parties do agree that the United States has lost manufacturing jobs and trade surpluses due to past trade deals, such as the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) and the World Trade Organization (WTO). However, the parties disagree on how to correct these past mistakes. Furthermore, Trump has broken with the Republican Party’s conventional stance which has frightened even other Republicans.
Instead, Trump has aimed for a form of protectionism. He will not call it by that label, yet his tariff plans embody just that. He threatens extreme tariffs on countries like China if they do not lower their trade barriers. However, Trump does not see that a tariff on China means an immediate tax on American citizens. Of course, Americans would purchase some goods in lower quantities from abroad if they cost more. However, there are not many equivalents to those goods available domestically. For example, Americans would face steeper prices for goods like the iPhone and other electronic devices that are made abroad. These steeper prices would stem from tariffs that Trump has said could be as high as 45% (27). This would negatively impact American citizens and cause less consumption at even American businesses like Apple who still employs many Americans even though it produces abroad. Many experts have said this plan would cause a trade war with both countries further raising their trade barriers possibly causing a global recession.
Not only would this trade plan hurt American consumers, but it would also harm American producers. Many American manufactures use production inputs from abroad and would, therefore, face higher prices due to the tariffs. “Steels from China, for example, would become significantly more expensive for U.S. firms.” Such effects would set off a trade war in that “high tariffs on goods from a country like China will lead to an oversupply of products unable to be sold in the U.S., so those goods will go for even cheaper than normal in other countries, and those countries will then respond with tariffs of their own. The end result is high prices around the world, and a slowdown in international growth–or even an outright recession” (27). There are many problems with the U.S.’s past trade deals, such as its forfeiture to the interests of multinational corporations; however, Trump’s plans would only further damage American workers.
The last area of international relations outlined on Trump’s campaign website is immigration reform. Famously Trump is known for his desire to build a wall along the southern border. He believes that this will stop the inflow of illegal immigrants into this country. He believes this must be done since he claims that these immigrants cause crime, lower American wages, take American jobs, and bring drugs into the country. Along with the wall, Trump aims to institute a “deportation force” to remove the 11 million illegal immigrants already here (28).
Contrary to Trump’s rhetoric on this topic, interesting to note is that the amount of illegal immigrants from Mexico living in the U.S. has actually declined in recent years. Furthermore, there was net-zero illegal immigration in 2014 (29).
Further dismantling Trump’s misinformation on this topic, studies show that illegal immigrants actually commit less crime than American citizens (30). It is worthy to refute Trump’s rhetoric concerning illegal immigration as he has large influence over many people right now.
Finally, research has shown that illegal immigration does not actually lead to lower wages and fewer jobs for Americans. “Why? The law of comparative advantage says we get more productive when we have more trading partners, and the arrival of undocumented workers with limited English skills frees up low-skill American workers who can then specialize in tasks that require better English” (31). Furthermore, illegal immigrants may actually stimulate the American economy through their consumption at American stores. This consumption always includes sales tax; therefore, these immigrants are also paying taxes! One study “estimates about a third of such immigrants nationally are homeowners, subjecting them to property tax payments. Another 50 percent are believed to pay income taxes. And as much as 75 percent of the population is believed to pay into the U.S. Social Security system (a system of benefits they wouldn’t be eligible to receive anyway unless they became U.S. citizens).” These tax contributions amount to $12 billion every year (32). If the United States deports all 11 million of these people, this tax revenue would cease to fund the government, and immigrants’ purchases would no longer go to American businesses.
Not only would this flow of money cease to exist, Trump’s planned “deportation force” has been estimated to cost around $400 billion. It would also have difficulty being effective and could take up to two decades (33). The deportations would also tear apart families and ruin households where children would be forced to grow up without their parents.
As for the border wall, there are many problems with Trump’s plan as well. In order to finance the wall, Trump has claimed that he would force Mexico to pay for its construction via the following: “Impound all remittance payments derived from illegal wages; increase fees on all temporary visas issued to Mexican CEOs and diplomats (and if necessary cancel them); increase fees on all border crossing cards – of which we issue about 1 million to Mexican nationals each year (a major source of visa overstays); increase fees on all NAFTA worker visas from Mexico (another major source of overstays); and increase fees at ports of entry to the United States from Mexico [Tariffs and foreign aid cuts are also options]” (34). In other words, he would punish upstanding, talented Mexican workers for the actions of families seeking to find a better life. This would not only hurt the American economy through the loss of such workers, but his plan actually encourages more illegal immigration. It does so through Trump’s plan to stop all money flow from people in the U.S. to Mexico. His goal here is to disable illegal immigrants from being able to send money home to their families, yet this would also prevent legal immigrants or anyone else in the U.S. from sending money to Mexico since tracking this money to just illegal immigrants would be near impossible. Furthermore, this plan would cripple the Mexican economy siphoning consumption and causing massive job losses in Mexico. This would encourage more Mexicans to attempt crossing into the U.S. (35).
Additionally, Trump’s plan also misses the bigger picture. “Mexicans make up about half of all unauthorized immigrants (49%), though their numbers have been declining in recent years” (36). Therefore, more than half of illegal immigrants are not even coming from Mexico! “More non-Mexicans than Mexicans were apprehended at U.S. borders in 2014” (29). Therefore, why would Mexico feel any need to pay for the border wall? Furthermore, 40% of illegal immigrants living in the U.S. are simply overstaying their visas not having ever jumped a border fence at all (37). Therefore, this wall and the financing of it would not solve a large chunk of the cause of this issue.
Regardless, perhaps the wall would stop some of the illegal immigration occurring at the border. First, the cost of such a wall is important to examine.
“The actual cost for the rest of the border wall (roughly 1,300 miles) could be as high as $16 million per mile, with a total price tag of $15 billion to $25 billion. Rosenblum said the $15 billion low-end estimate is ‘probably an underestimate,’ because the parts that have yet to be fenced are the most difficult — the most dense and arid. At $16 million per mile and with 1,300 miles to secure, the estimated cost would be $12 billion, and the price of private land acquisitions and maintenance of fencing could push that total cost higher.
The U.S. government would have to pay to maintain the wall, which could cost as much as $750 million a year, according to an analysis conducted by Politico. And then if it wanted to man it with personnel, that would be an additional cost — border patrol has an operating budget of $1.4 billion for 21,000 agents” (38).
Thus, a wall and Trump’s entire immigration plan do not come cheaply. An average of $20 billion for the wall plus an additional $2 billion per year for maintenance and security plus $400 billion for the deportation force plus $12 billion in lost taxes per year plus indeterminate billions in lost consumption per year would total to at least $560 billion over ten years. While the wall admittedly could employ American construction workers, this economic impact would hardly offset the grandiose cost of the entire project.
Furthermore, the wall may be ineffective at stopping drug trafficking and illegal immigration. This is due to the fact that tunnels have already been dug to bypass the existing border fence. Also, some drug traffickers have even used homemade launchers to shoot drugs over the existing fences. Also, the U.S.-Mexico border lands on many waterways like the Rio Grande and on high mountains, where it would not be possible to build a border wall. Therefore, there would still be gaps for people to cross over the border. Additionally, much of the border lands on American citizens’ own private property. The government could possibly use eminent domain for the wall, yet homeowners may not be happy with that reality. The existing border fence has already been the cause of possibly disrupting animal habitats and Native American graves that exist along the border (39).
As we have seen, the negative impacts of a border wall add up significantly. Our nation surely does need to address illegal immigration and drug trafficking, but it does not seem that a wall would do much to help the U.S. economy or to stop the inflow of drugs. Donald Trump’s plan falls apart upon close examination.
Regarding domestic issues, Trump has outlaid only a few plans including on veterans’ affairs, health care, gun rights, and taxes.
Trump has actually been praised by many for his frequent mentioning of caring for veterans, which many other candidates have not done. The core point of Trump’s plan to reform the Department of Veterans’ Affairs consists of the following: “All veterans eligible for VA health care can bring their veteran’s ID card to any doctor or care facility that accepts Medicare to get the care they need immediately” (40). The nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office recently did a study on the cost of such an expansion and found that it would cost upwards of $500 billion over ten years (41). Perhaps this is doable, yet Trump has not addressed where he would cut costs or whose taxes he would raise. Trump’s other veterans reforms do sound promising, though. For example, he wishes to increase funding for mental health services for veterans as well as job training programs (40).
On health care reform for the entire citizenry, Trump has offered a few details. His core proposal is to allow for interstate health insurance purchasing. There has been a study “of a number of states that passed laws to allow out-of-state insurance sales. Not a single out-of-state insurer had taken them up on the offer.” This may be due to the fact that insurance costs vary across states because of the very different demographics. “Demographics help explain why insurance is cheaper in some places than others. Insurance tends to be less expensive in states like Utah and Colorado, where more people are young and healthy. If customers in New York wanted to start buying Utah plans, they might face two surprises: fewer local doctors and higher costs related to the health of the local population.” Such a plan could also limit regulations of plans such as guarantees on what must be covered in an insurance plan since insurance companies would be in a race to the bottom to the states with the fewest regulations. Also, insurance companies would have to establish relationships with hospitals and doctors nationwide rather than just for one state; this could limit doctor choice since the companies could find it difficult to manage an entire nation worth of relationships (42). The other main part of Trump’s health care plan is to repeal The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (Obamacare), which would strip away all of the guarantees granted by it which I discuss in my article Obamacare: The Story of Reform and Why It Finally Worked.
On gun rights, Trump wants to continue already-established background checks, invest in mental health, and ensure that concealed carry permits are valid across all fifty states. Regarding background checks, they can absolutely be a safeguard against preventing guns from being sold into the wrong hands. However, Trump does not address the gun show loophole which allows for sales of a firearm without a background check. Also, he does not address the loophole which allows a sale without a background check if the FBI does not respond within three business days. This loophole allowed Dylann Roof to obtain a weapon and shoot multiple people inside a church in Charleston, South Carolina (43). Furthermore, without a national gun registry, a law-abiding citizen could easily buy multiple weapons and then sell them on the black market to gangs and criminals.
Trump also says that there should not be any bans on certain types of weapons or magazines. He claims that law-abiding citizens should be able to own whatever type of gun they wish. However, he also knows that “[criminals] get their guns from friends/family members;” therefore, without such bans, they could easily obtain dangerous, mass-killing guns like automatic assault weapons just by taking from close friends and family (44).
Regarding mental health funding, Trump is on the right track that this is an area that has been slashed in recent decades. Our nation does need to focus on properly and humanely treating our mental ill. However, the connection with gun violence is largely baseless.
“According to Jeffrey Swanson, a medical sociologist at the Duke University School of Medicine, only 4 percent of violent acts can be attributed to mental illness. And when you look specifically at violent acts involving guns, the National Center for Health Statistics found that people with mental illness were responsible for just 5 percent of gun-related killings between 2001 and 2010. It’s distorted to focus on mass shootings and mental health, says Swanson, because the usual perpetrator is highly atypical of those with mental illness. ‘The vast majority of them are not violent and never will be,’ he says, ‘so you can’t generalize from one person.’
That’s not to say there’s no danger from the mentally ill interacting with weapons, but the real hazard is that they’ll harm themselves. According to a 2002 review by researchers at the World Health Organization, more than 90 percent of people who commit suicide have a diagnosable mental disorder. And a study that same year from the National Institute of Mental Health found that 1 in 5 suicide victims had contact with mental-health services in the month before their death.
Statistics do show that restricting access to guns can reduce suicides. According to multiple studies by the Harvard Injury Control Research Center, states with higher gun ownership have higher levels of firearm suicide. Countries that have decreased gun ownership have seen lower levels of suicide by guns, such as when Switzerland cut its civilian army in half—and took away their personal service weapons—in 2003” (45).
Lastly, on taxes Trump does lay out a new tax code that cuts rates for everyone. However, the largest breaks go disproportionately to the wealthiest income earners (46).
“It appears likely that Trump’s plan would be a financial boon for someone of his wealth. Trump and his wife would pay 25 percent, instead of the current 39.6 percent, on any income above $300,001. An income statement he released alongside his personal financial disclosure report this past summer reported his 2014 income as $362 million.
His proposal to eliminate the 40 percent tax on inheritances of more than $5.4 million would allow him to pass on his estate to heirs tax-free, a savings worth billions given his estimated net worth of more than $10 billion” (47).
Remember that cutting taxes does not magically come at a free price. The plan is estimated to increase the national debt at a low estimate of $7 trillion (47). Another estimate puts the addition at $10 trillion (48). Even if the tax cuts spurred economic growth, experts argue that the cuts are so drastic that the budget could not be balanced (47).
Trump has even claimed that he would eliminate the U.S.’s $19 trillion in debt in just eight years. Most experts say this is absolutely impossible, even more so due to Trump’s proposed tax plan. “Plans to reduce — let alone eliminate — the federal debt typically have three key components: RAISE taxes, cut spending and tweak Social Security and Medicare.” Conversely, Trump wants to cut taxes drastically, increase spending on defense, and not reform either of those social programs. “With less money coming in, Trump would actually have to slash over 60% of federal spending.” This is just not feasible, and not even Trump has proposed any plans that would do this. Trump argues that the tax cuts and fixed trade deals will fix the debt problem, yet these would not solve such at all. “As for Trump’s plan to strong arm China, Mexico and other nations into better trade deals, that does little to help reduce U.S. debt. It might bring in a little more in taxes on foreign goods, but it’s not going to produce trillions of dollars of new money” (49). Trump has demonstrated that he does not understand the workings of the federal budget or the global economy.
The plans addressed in this article are the six issues that Trump details on his campaign website (50). Most other candidates have much longer lists of their detailed plans, but Trump has only chosen to do so with six issues. Therefore, all have been addressed here. There are more details on his website that I encourage you to read. Although I could not examine every fine detail, his main positions have been investigated in this article.
Overall, Donald Trump’s policy plans seem to be lacking in detail and/or dangerous for the country and its economy. Many people often desire a businessman as president, yet the private sector is completely different than the public sector. The private sector’s goal is to cut costs and deliver profit. The public sector’s goal is to effectively serve the citizenry. Donald Trump does not seem adept enough to successfully lead this nation’s government as many of his policies have been seen as ineffective at solving our country’s challenges. Alongside his bombastic and offensive demeanor, Trump’s policies would further drive our country into debt, widen the income inequality gap, not effectively solve our country’s illegal immigration challenges, worsen the country’s health care system, not effectively prevent gun violence, and lengthen the war on terror. Donald Trump is not fit to be President of the United States.