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If you were to listen to CNN, MSNBC, the New York Times, or any number of other main stream news outlets, you would think that five months into his presidency, Donald Trump has the worst record of achievement in recorded history, as compared to other administrations. One pundit described his record at the 100 day mark in dismal terms: “Trump has made no significant progress on any major legislation. His health care bill is a zombie. His border wall is stalled. He’s only now releasing basic principles of a tax plan. Even his executive order on immigration is tied up in the courts.”
While it may be true that Trump is 0 for 3 in passing these major bills, as of yet, this is not to say that he has failed in accomplishing anything of major consequence or that he has been unsuccessful in laying the groundwork for a revitalized America. And it certainly did not keep him from defending his record in Iowa, Wednesday, as he addressed a crowd at a rally in Cedar Rapids. “All we do is win, win, win,” he exclaimed to an excited crowd of optimistic supporters.
Let’s start with health care. In his speech, he admitted that the shooting incident involving Lawmaker Steve Scalese in Virginia, last Wednesday, may have brought both parties together for a brief moment in a show of solidarity, but he was not counting on support from Democrats in passing health care legislation, calling them “obstructionists.” Even so, the president was upbeat, maintaining hope that the health care bill (AHCA) in its finished state would end up being a pleasant surprise for anxious voters. “I’ve been talking about a plan with heart. I said, ‘Add some money to it!'”
His comment seemed to be a reference to an earlier statement he is said to have made in a Tuesday meeting with Republican Senators that the House version of the bill was too “mean.” It is not precisely clear how adding additional funding to the mix would make it a nicer bill, but judging from reports on the meeting, the extra funds would be needed to provide more coverage for the uninsured and tweak the tax credits to better assist the poor and elderly, making it more compassionate in the process.
As to money, did throwing money at a problem ever work for the Obama administration? Remember how much was spent on just the initial ACA rollout, alone? How about the stimulus package? Such a staggering waste of money is difficult for the average American to put into perspective. As Trump would probably say: “A total disaster!” But this is Trump. Trump, the quintessential business man, as opposed to Obama, the community organizer in chief. What could never have worked for Obama may well end up resulting in a decisive victory for Trump. With Trump, there has to be a return on the investment.
Where does the bill stand now? Currently four senators, including Rand Paul, are uncommitted, complaining that the bill in its current state does not go far enough in achieving the goal of repealing and replacing the ACA with something that is actually far better. If the bill does little more than make a few adjustments to the existing statute, then they are correct in their stance. Such a feeble attempt would not constitute repeal. Does this lack of support worry Trump? Probably not. This is just part of the hammering process. The president would much rather take his time and come up with a viable solution, one worthy of his vision. Better that than be saddled with another bill that people hate, a bill with his name stamped right on it in indelible red ink.
Personally (and in the spirit of smaller government), the very thought of a federally managed healthcare system is repugnant, to say the least. Better to just repeal it. Perhaps, however, this is unrealistic at this point. One thing is certain: We don’t want a bill that is just a little better than the lame one President Obama forced down our throats. That truly would be a disaster of epic proportions.
I also have to believe that even if the final product is less than perfect, Trump would continue to fine tune it even after it becomes law. Again, think Trump the business man, not politician. If a product doesn’t sell, it’s probably not a very good product. If a product does not sell well, adjustments have to be made to make it a better product. He knows his customers, the American people, will have to be satisfied with the end result. This is what sets Trump apart. It is exactly the reason he was voted into office in the first place. Results matter. He was hired to fix what is broken in Washington.
For the moment, Trump is letting the House and Senate deal with the minutiae of crafting the bill and hoping for the best. We will know soon enough if it passes muster. In my next post, we will be discussing the state of the wall, tax reform, and how Trump is actually “winning” these battles, despite media hype to the contrary.