Ignore the Chronicle headlines “EPA defies climate warnings,” “Coal given a reprieve,” “After years of improvement, US air quality is slipping,” or articles indicating North Korea and Iran are testing sophisticated missiles. Iran is enriching its uranium, and many of us have no decent health care, which Trump promised years ago. And overlook the stories indicating Trump’s government doesn’t pocket the import taxes; that vaccinations cause autism; that these heat waves, floods and forest fires have nothing to do with climate change; that Mexico is writing the U.S. a check for the wall; and most absurdly, that Democrats are socialists because they want the government to provide roads, schools, Social Security, mail and other essentials services, including health care for those who have none, and background screening of all gun purchases.
Instead, examine this incredible economy, which currently has a lackluster GDP of 2.1% according to the Commerce Department. What is Trump’s secret? It’s his methodology, attempting to skirt all environmental and monetary safeguards: Rolling back the Clean Power Plan; relaxing the methane flaring and direct venting rules; allowing dumping of coal and other industrial waste into rivers and streams; eliminating or delaying high mileage vehicle requirements; pushing the burning of dirty coal; defunding NASA’s Earth-monitoring programs; eliminating the Energy Star program; dismissing half the science review board that shapes our environmental policy; selling 50% of our strategic oil reserves; opening public lands to drilling and fracking to sell gas, oil, timber and minerals overseas; suspending Obama’s clean water rule; meddling with the Central Bank’s independence by influencing interest rates; and become the only country on Earth to drop out of the Paris Agreement.
Is it working? Check the facts. The broad S&P 500 index increased 230% under Obama, and so far under Trump, 32%. In his last two years in office, Obama created an average of 15,000 jobs per month — more than Trump has in the 30 months he’s been in office. Trump has recklessly expanded the national debt to bolster the economy, adding $35,000-plus to each household paying federal income tax. As he is well aware, these irrational environmental and financial burdens will be much harder to clean up than not creating them in the first place. “We the people” will have the pleasure of cleaning them up when our resources have diminished, our environmental problems have exacerbated and our allies are nowhere in sight.