An American Life

It’s Tuesday afternoon as I pen this. The big political speculation is what President Trump will do in his 9pm address from the Oval Office. Will he declare a national emergency on the southern border or not? I’m more of a bottom line guy and in this case the bottom line is that Trump will do what he always does: lie and distract. Let’s explore.

My wish is that history repeats itself and that Trump does what Lyndon Johnson did at the end of his nationally televised address to the nation on March 31, 1968 and announces he will not seek nor accept a draft for his party’s nomination in the next election. That would be a good start but I guarantee you it won’t happen. (I would love to be forced to put a publisher’s note at the bottom of this article!)

Trump will use a lot of Kellyanne Conway/Sean Spicer “facts” that have long been debunked. In plain English he will lie to support his argument. The nearly 4,000 people apprehended at the southern border in 2018 “fact” will come up in some form or fashion despite the fact that it was proven that only six persons of interest were stopped at the southern border in the first half of 2018 – resulting in zero arrests. No matter how you want to extrapolate the numbers it is difficult to see how six from January to July 1st became nearly 4,000 by New Year’s Eve,

The Trump Shutdown 3.0 is the second longest in history and appears headed toward being the longest in history. As in anything else there are winners and losers. The winners are few with the most prominent among them being President Trump. It is simply part of his distraction strategy; while we are talking about the shutdown we aren’t talking about Russiagate. In fact, if he declares a national emergency we will be talking about that with coverage of the shutdown on the back burner. However, for the rest of the article I’d like to concentrate on the largest group of losers – working class Americans.

The majority of working class Americans live check to check. It may be paycheck to paycheck, retirement check to retirement check or benefit check to benefit check; it’s all the same. Many government workers are sitting home without a check or worse yet forced to work with no idea of when their next paycheck will hit.

It costs money to go to work each day. There is gas for the car or metro transportation fees. In many cities you have to pay for parking. Unless you can brown bag it you have to pay for lunch. You can’t defer payment of those things until (and assuming) you get back pay.

You have to hope your landlord or mortgage holder will work with you over the troubled waters. In reality most will but there are often additional costs in order to receive that “courtesy”. When and if you get the back pay it doesn’t come with interest added to it. By the way when they don’t get their money on time it adversely affects the economy.

What if you work at a restaurant or coffee shop where a substantial portion of the regular customers are either furloughed or working without pay? Do you think you might get laid off, have reduced hours and/or see diminished tips? I do. How do you pay your bills? What about the business owner of one of these shops? They are certainly not going to get “back pay”. Those sales are lost forever but their fixed costs remain constant. What happens when they can’t cover those fixed costs?

I could go on but you get the idea by now and probably have already mentally added several valid examples. This shutdown is simply because Trump reneged on a promise and was worried about how he would look to the lowest common denominator and most racist/xenophobic part of his base. Besides he needed another distraction. The pie in the sky for Trump would be if the shutdown actually slows down the federal courts dealing with him and his associates as well as the Mueller investigation. I see a lot of losers and only one big winner. Of course, unlike Trump I know what life is like for the vast majority of Americans and care about them.

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