Thursday, January 12, 2017

Well, Senator, What About That?

This morning on Marketplace there was a story about the drop in values of pharmaceutical stock after a statement President Elect Trump made about the profits, and tax havens, of American drug manufacturers. It struck me as odd that an elected official would have such casual disregard for American investors. Ultimately, these are the people who will suffer. Drug companies have a pretty strong grip on profits, so they will not suffer very much. And Mr. Trump is no fan of regulation, so there is very little hope for relief through legislation. In essence, tax payers, investors, and people who need prescriptions are going to suffer.

Later, during Morning Edition they asked a Senator about a potential drama unfolding between the FBI, the CIA, the Russians, John McCain and Donald Trump. He said, in a reassuring voice that it was all fiction, designed to discredit the President Elect, who should be left alone and allowed to govern. He was almost philosophical about the combative atmosphere at the press conference.He approached it with a Zen calm, it was the sound of one hand slapping the faces of detestable, heinous inquisitors. It was not spoken, but it was implied. He seemed to dismiss any conflicts as frivolous, ridiculous. The questions not asked were left, screaming through the atmosphere, bouncing around the airwaves. 

“Senator, what is going to happen if the President Elect decides to follow through with so many of his more outrageous campaign promises?

“What if, Senator, Mr. Trump decides to build a wall without getting Mexico to pay for it? And, Senator, what if Mexico just decides not to pay for the wall? What then, Senator? Who will pay for the wall? Will it come from a pool of donations provided by members of congress, Senator, or Senator, will the tax payers have to foot the bill? A tactic preferred by your average Congress person, Senator.

“What if the President Elect decides to impose steep tariffs on goods from China? Where, Senator, are those goods going to come from? What are retailers going to do, Senator, when things assembled in China cost twice as much? Do you think, Senator, that, possibly, they will sell half as many? And, Senator, do you suppose companies will rush to America, build factories, and hire people to produce dolls and toy guns that spark, Senator, or will they simply move south and start producing the goods in Vietnam, where wages are almost half of what they are in China. India, is another developing country, Senator, and wages are only one fourth of those paid in China. And, what will Mr. Trump do when China decides to retaliate by imposing stiff sanctions on American goods? Which country is more likely to win a protracted trade war that cripples the world’s economy, Senator, a democracy, with a fickle and capricious pool of voters, or a totalitarian regime with an iron grip on protesters?

“And, Senator, what if DJT decides to abandon our NATO responsibilities?  ‘Sorry, Slovakia, you don’t pay your dues, you get left out in the cold.’ What if the protection racket falls through, and those Eastern European countries, that you yourself, with such rapturous glee, said Reagan freed, run back to the Russia, not as members of the Soviet Union, but as vassal states who want to avoid the fate of the Ukraine, what then Senator? What if Germany decides to take a leading role in the defense of Europe, Senator? What if Germany turns it’s huge economy, technological prowess, and manufacturing abilities to the production of arms? How will the world feel about a giant German army being assembled on your tenure on the Armed Services Committee, Senator?”

But, no one asked those questions. And we can only dream about the answers, but we can dream. And remember that nobody ever keeps campaign promises, we hope.