The Trump Inaugural Address. A Progressive Review
by Dennis Kucinich
There was much to object to in the Trump campaign statements, yet the 45th President, in his Inaugural Address, indicated an awareness of economic and policy concerns which needed to be said, and must be addressed.
As I reserve the right to disagree with the new President, and I will, so too do I reserve the right to agree with him. None of the forgoing from the Trump Inaugural Address has been parsed in search of something, anything, upon which to agree for agreement’s sake. Whether or not we believe he will deliver, the following excerpts from his Inaugural echo things I worked for, continue to work for, or stated as a Mayor, Congressman, and a presidential candidate, through the decades:
1. "Rebuild our country"
We have over $3 trillion dollars of infrastructure needs unmet. This is limiting America’s ability to grow the economy.
2. "Transferring power from Washington, D.C. and giving it back to you, the American People."
Washington has aggregated tremendous power through the shift of national tax resources away from states and cities and to Washington. This is what enables the redistribution of wealth upwards.
3. "What truly matters is not which party controls our government, but whether our government is controlled by the people. Political parties have failed America."
4. "Americans want great schools for their children, safe neighborhoods for their families, and good jobs for themselves."
Education, safe neighborhoods and good jobs are practical aspirations of all Americans.
5. "Mothers and children trapped in poverty in our inner cities; rusted-out factories scattered like tombstones across the landscape of our nation… "
Inner cities are generally ignored in federal policy. Closed factories are the direct result of trade policies which ignored the interests of US workers.
6. "Crime and gangs and drugs that have stolen too many lives and robbed our country of so much unrealized potential."
Those who live in the inner cities, in rural areas and in some suburbs have been inundated with drugs and crime.
7. "For many decades, we’ve enriched foreign industry at the expense of American industry"
NAFTA, GATT, China Trade and other agreements have moved millions of good paying jobs out of America, weakened unions, reduced wages, cut benefits and shifted America’s wealth out of the country.
8. "Subsidized the armies of other countries …."
Our foreign military aid sends billions abroad. America subsidizes NATO, another layer of military which includes 28 member nations, then NATO keeps seeking conflict to justify its existence.
9. "And spent trillions of dollars overseas while America’s infrastructure has fallen into disrepair and decay."
The long term cost of the wars in Afghanistan, Iraq, Libya and other countries will cost America at least $6 trillion, adding to the deficit and depriving our country of resources needed to rebuild America.
10. "…Factories shuttered and left our shores, with not even a thought about the millions upon millions of American workers left behind."
There has been no serious discussion in the White House for years concerning trade policies which left millions unemployed, and have seriously damaged our economy, in particular, the Midwest.
11. "The wealth of our middle class has been ripped from their homes and then redistributed across the entire world."
The middle class standard of life was linked to American predominance in steel, automotive, aerospace, shipping, machine shops, specialty metals, and hi-tech and as that has declined, so has the middle class.
12. "Every decision on trade, on taxes, on immigration, on foreign affairs, will be made to benefit American workers and American families."
If this measure is integrated into our decisions on international commerce, taxation and foreign affairs, it will benefit our country.
13. "We will build new roads, and highways, and bridges, and airports, and tunnels, and railways all across our wonderful nation."
This is key to rebuilding our economy, full employment, commerce, energy efficiency and our future.
14. "We will follow two simple rules: Buy American and Hire American."
American workers are trained to produce top quality products and they ought to be supported.
15. “…it is the right of all nations to put their own interests first."
This affirms the national sovereignty of all countries, which is critical if we are to avoid more wars.
16. "We do not seek to impose our way of life on anyone, but rather to let it shine as an example for everyone to follow."
American interventionism is about using military force to impose our way, and it has come at an extraordinary cost to our nation, to people in Afghanistan, Iraq, Libya, Syria, Yemen and other places. If we use our nation’s resources to build America, not destroy other countries, we will indeed be an example to the world.