Friday, November 11, 2016

How Trump's Proposals Could Affect Your Life

Graph showing how national debt would blow up if Trump's tax cuts are enacted (Source: Committee for a Responsible Federal Budget)

Now that 59,300,000- odd proto-bumpkins have put the rest of us in "duck's guts" too, it might interest them to know how this buffoon's proposals will affect all of us - if enacted. Let's go through his proposals one by one and then note how they could conceivably affect you and yours in the future.

1. Trump's Tax Plan:

Donald Trump has demanded an "across the board" tax cut. It starts by increasing the current standard deduction of $12,600 (for joint filers) now, to $30,000.  These deductions, by the way, are what you use when you don't itemize.

At the same time, Trump would dump the $ 4, 050 write off claim for each member of a household, e.g. the "personal exemption". He also wants to simplify the tax code by changing from the current seven brackets - ranging from 10 percent to 39.6 % to just three brackets.

In addition, if he gets the help needed from congress, he will scrap in turn: 1) the AMT or alternative minimum tax, 2) the estate tax and 3) the 3.8% surtax on investment income - as part of abolishing Obamacare. (That surtax is paid by those earning more than $200k per year, or $250k if a couple)

As regards the corporate tax rate he would lower it from the current 35 % (actually few businesses pay that rate, most are effectively 5%) and replace it with a 15 percent rate.  He has also floated the idea of applying this not only to big corporations but small business owners and the self-employed, including dentists, law partners, and Trump himself.

While all this sounds terrific in theory it carries a steep price tag, which you can get an idea of by studying the graphic at top. That is, the federal debt as a percentage of GDP would explode through the roof - exceeding the size of the entire U.S. economy within ten years. The debt incepted - in order to be even relatively controlled- would necessitate draconian cuts in every federal "entitlement" program including: Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid, Tricare, and all VA programs, departments. With such astounding debt there will be no "winners".

Further, many experts believe after one year of tax cut implementation we may see a massive recession despite Trump social program cuts.  And most experts believe even these program  cuts ( at least 40 percent) will make it impossible to address even basic needs such as infrastructure, energy, education in any future administration.

Your kids and their kids will basically have to work as indentured servants for the rest of their days.

2. Trump's College Loan Plan:

Unlike Clinton, Trump has no college loan debt proposal, or any policy advanced to lower loan rates. In all probability, it means an elimination of all the government - linked Stafford loans (at their current  3.4% interest level) to be replaced by the 6.8%  interest that Paul Ryan and the House have wanted since 2012. (This last will largely entail eliminating all Stafford-based loans in favor of privatized ones.) Trump himself has promised to "cap student loan interest rates at 12. 75%."  Has anyone taken the time to work out how much debt such an interest rate will generate annually, say on $100 k college loan debt?  Be sure you are seated when you work it out!

In addition, the current Obama provision (or "loophole" if you want) that allows student loan debt  to be forgiven, e,g,

would be terminated.  Also headed for the dustbin would be a current Obama provision that allows loan forgiveness after ten years if the person has still not paid off a substantial fraction with his current employment.

3. Trump's Health Care Plan:

Trump basically has no health care plan other than to abolish the Affordable Care Act - otherwise known as Obamacare. Such a move, if the Dems can't stop Ryan and accomplices in the House, would leave nearly 22 million without Medicaid access, and another 10 million wit no access even to health exchanges.   In addition, young people to age 26 could no longer be covered under their parents' plans, they'd have to pay for their own.  But Trump would give them a "break" and allow them to deduct their health insurance premiums from their gross income taxes. So, if their taxes come to $5,500 a year and their insurance premiums to $5,000 they can deduct the last from the first and get back $500. Of course, current health premium rates are generally much higher than that, and if you have any pre-existing conditions you're out of luck totally. (Under the ACA you would have to be covered).

Update: Trump later today told Leslie Stahl (for an upcoming '60 Minutes' interview), that he will allow provisions of Obamacare that include allowing  pre-existing conditions, and youngsters remaining under their parents' insurance. Meanwhile, Paul Ryan announced his pet plan to turn Medicare into a voucher system which sent wifey into hysterics. We shall see. I am hoping the Dems can summon the spine and will  to fight these plans to the point of total repudiation.

4. Science Policy:

As reported in Physics Today (November, p. 29), the conditions portrayed in a 2006 white paper entitled 'The Gathering Storm: Energizing and Employing America for a Brighter Economic Future',  have only worsened since then with even more critical science budget cuts, including funding of critical research (including at the CDC for certain pandemics) The report also warned that the U.S. would soon lose its place as the leader in science and engineering.

Under a Trump presidency, with its disdain for genuine science, these negative aspects will accelerate. Look for the U.S. to lose its preeminent standing and much prestige by the end of Trump's four years. Look for China to overtake it in key areas such as space exploration. As Trump siphons ever more money for defense (when we already spend more than the next 25 nations) less and less will be available for research in physical science which is likely to fall to barely 0.02% of GDP  or half of what it was in 2004.

5. Environment - Climate Plans- Regulations:

Trump's plans include scrapping the Paris Climate accord, as well as putting the frackers and coal industry on "steroids" - basically giving them carte blanche to generate as much carbon-based emission as they want in as short a time. This would include mass issuance of oil and natural gas leases to drill or frack on public lands including national parks, like Yellowstone and Rocky Mountain National Park.

Behind the evisceration of any hope to abate climate change is Trump's appointment of the arch-denier and climate criminal Myron Ebell to oversee the transition to a new EPA staff. Of one thing you may be sure (and I will have a separate post on Ebell on Monday) he will basically reduce the EPA to an official arm of the fossil fuel industry.

As a result of such changes we can therefore expect effects,  such as the ones indicated below, that will be felt in as little as three years hence:

More rapid melting of polar and Antarctic ice caps, collapse of glaciers. e.g.

Rapid bleaching of the remaining coral reefs in the oceans,  destroying ecosystems, e.g.

As well as more rapid destruction of vital ocean bacteria, see e.g.

In addition, because Trump wants to kill all "useless"  regulations, including for clean water, we can expect - in tandem with rising temperatures - an increase in brain parasites as well as brain-consuming amoeba in fresh water lakes etc.

Many of the parasitic brain infestations would be incepted by worms not currently common to the U.S. but which would find a home here as conditions alter to favor them.
Those worms include the species shown at left.

The real, understated risk is that we will be swamped by parasites- throughout the country and even the world. Right now, there are in excess of 9 BILLION worm parasites inhabiting the vertebrates of our world, this according to the author of the monograph Parasite REX.

The human population alone may carry within it up to 2 billion worm parasites, including: hook worm, one of 5,000 forms of tape worm, round worm, trypanosomes, bladder worms, schistosomiasis-causing flukes and the protozoan that causes Toxoplasma (which over 1 billion may carry, mostly in their brains.)

Truthfully, the threat from parasitic worms as climate warms faster - thanks to pro-fossil fuel policies- will only materialize if too many cuts to public health expenditures are also made. In that case, the public health resources may simply not be available to battle worm- infestations such as from tapeworm, hook worm and particularly schistosomiasis.   As the Wikipedia entry notes regarding the latter:

"In intestinal schistosomiasis, eggs become lodged in the intestinal wall and cause an immune system reaction called a granulomatous reaction. This immune response can lead to obstruction of the colon and blood loss. The infected individual may have what appears to be a potbelly. Eggs can also become lodged in the liver, leading to high blood pressure through the liver, enlarged spleen, the buildup of fluid in the abdomen, and potentially life-threatening dilations or swollen areas in the esophagus or gastrointestinal tract that can tear and bleed profusely "

Having seen villagers in St. Lucia suffering from this worm, I really would hate to see it spreading here in the U.S.  But I guess all the Trump voters, hyped up for their aspirations for false change, never thought of all these consequences.

As if these worm infestation issues weren't enough, only slightly more warming in the U.S. will bring massive cases of dengue fever. This mosquito-borne disease makes West Nile Fever (another related to incipient climate change) just look like a mild cold. In dengue, which I contracted in the Caribbean in 1973, you can reach the hemorrhagic form after three infections whereupon blood oozes in bursts from your limbs, groin, face etc. e.g.

The fever can last up to seven days and reach 41 C (105F)

Oh, by the way, if Trump and the Repukes do go on their regulation scrapping rampage, with the FDA too, look for fewer inspectors of tainted food. That next burger you consume could have anything in it from E. Coli. to  mad cow disease. And that fruit could have Hepatitis C or listeria.

The saddest thing is that the people most likely to be affected with these infestations, diseases will plausibly have lost their health care (via Obamacare) by the time they break out.

Welcome to the future! Welcome to Trumpland!

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