Of Windshield Wipers And GI’s

You are probably (and rightfully) asking yourself what do windshield wipers and GI’s have to do with each other. Actually they both have to do with Donald Trump’s first week in office. Allow me to expand on my thoughts.

In 1984 I had, by far, my best income year to date. In early 1985 I decided to reward myself by buying a luxury car. I decided to buy an American car because it was the American workers who built those cars (along with their components) who bought my goods enabling my income to take the big jump it had.

I ended up buying a beautiful Cadillac. It was a wonderful automobile, but alas it was just a machine and machines have breakdowns. The first thing to go wrong was the windshield wiper system. Cadillac replaced it no questions asked, quickly and without charge. To comply with New York State consumer protection laws they gave me the old part. The service manager was so kind as to place it in the box of the replacement part and put it in my trunk. When I got home I immediately went to throw it in the trash. As I walked to the trashcan I read the box and to my dismay it said, “Made in Mexico.”

My point is that we import a lot more than just tequila from our neighbor to the south. In his inane (unless you figure the money he can skim in the process) pursuit of building a wall Trump, via his Press Secretary, has floated the idea of a 20% import tax on goods coming from Mexico.

This will be a tax on American consumers. It will raise the cost of imports from Mexico. Should it price something out of the market it would still be replaced by something more expensive than the original Mexican import less the 20% tariff. Keep in mind that retailers and middlemen take their profit off the top and therefore the impact will be greater than 20% by the time it reaches the consumer; or said retailers and middlemen will be negatively impacted by operating at a smaller overall profit margin. Since poor and working class people spend a much larger percentage of their income on consumer goods and food then the wealthy do the burden will fall disproportionately on them.

The difference to Trump and his Cabinet will be negligible. John Q. Public (who admittedly doesn’t buy a Cadillac – neither do I anymore); well that’s another story. There are many more criticisms (including economic) of Trump’s Mexican wall plan but this is one worth mentioning.

Another confusing and dangerous conversation coming out of the White House has had to do with torture. While personally vouching for the effectiveness of torture and advocating its use, Trump has seemed to back off it a bit using his Secretary of Defense as an excuse. There has even been chatter about reopening so-called black sites. That is where we effectively out sourced torture to foreign countries who tortured our prisoners on their soil. Often the torturing was done under the direction of Americans.

An American resumption of torture would have two results; neither of them in America’s interest. First it would be a great recruiting tool for ISIS and the like. It plays right into their rhetoric and feeds anti-American sentiments of those denizens of the region most likely to be recruited by radical groups.

Perhaps even more dastardly it makes it exponentially more likely that Americans, particularly but not exclusively GI’s, will be tortured. That doesn’t matter much to Trump and company because with very few exceptions their loved ones don’t serve in the military or travel without security escorts.

Again, these ideas have to some degree just been floated. They went over like lead balloons. Thankfully it seems that public reactions, including those of some Republican lawmakers, may have derailed these schemes before they became reality. Those weren’t the only crazy ideas to come out of the Trump administration last week. They are not even the craziest.

Time and space prevent me from a more complete chronicle. These proposals do however illustrate the importance of Americans vigorously demonstrating their opposition to Trump’s bad ideas. Now you know why I put windshield wipers and military personnel in the same headline.

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