Welcome to another Bold Banter with myself (Zach Merrill), and David Grasso. We’re approaching 100 days with President Donald Trump (which still sounds like a Scrooge McDuck cartoon character to me), and we thought now would be a good time take a step back and give our gold-clad president a few grades.
One of my biggest pet peeves is when a writer morphs from a journalist to an opinion writer to a political expert/pundit, so we are going to be looking at President Trump through our own personal lens — as voters who are just want a better place to live.
Zach: We’ll look at how he has done on health care, tax reform, immigration and foreign policy. Sound good, David?
David: As Bold’s resident political moderate, I’m ready to tell you how it is.
Z: So, that was quick. I mean I was personally settling in for drama that was going to take longer than Lost, but it kind of looked like it flamed out faster than Firefly. They’re going to try this again though, right?
D: Supposedly, the administration and their frenemies down the road in Congress are going to take a second stab at this. Admittedly, healthcare is an absolute bloody mess in this country, and fixing it will require some brave political moves. Anyone? Anyone?
Z: *Cut to Utah Rep. Jason Chaffetz calling it quits three months into his term* But seriously, healthcare was the cornerstone of basically a four-year GOP campaign, and now Trump is in a position to fulfill a major promise. The only thing that could stop him is his own party…or himself. He’s 0 for 1 which averages out a clean 0 percent success rate on health care so far.
D: It hasn’t gone well, but it’s important to point out that American health care is a frankenstein of policy nonsense. Both parties have kicked the can down the road for far too long. Fixing healthcare without ruining the economy or coming in between patients and their doctors is frighteningly complex.
Z: I’ll freely admit this an area I haven’t studied a lot, maybe that’s because the White House hasn’t given us a lot of hard material to study, or maybe I’m just not paying attention because, no matter what, I’m going to wind up in the bottom tax bracket.
D: Our tax system is far too complicated, and our corporate tax rates are extremely high by international standards. Our system favors corporate tax-dodging behemoths that hire high-priced tax wizards to perform accounting magic. This has to change.
Lowering taxes would be sensational, as long as it doesn’t blow up the federal budget.
Z: I’m confused…are you crediting him with just having the idea of tax reform? I’m all for making complicated things simple and slashing taxes, but I need to see some pen to paper.
D: Hey, at least they’re trying to initiate change. The last two administrations did absolutely nothing on the tax front. As a policy wonk, I find leaving ineffective policies in place offensive.
Z: This has been nothing short of hilarious — 0 for 2 on travel bans, and we’re still waiting for someone to defend them in court. Plus, it sounds to me like Trump is willing to shut the government down if he doesn’t get money for a wall I was told I would not have to pay for. Am I missing anything there?
D: Those travel bans speak for themselves. Also, deporting Dreamers is pretty disappointing, as they have protected status in this country. Let me take a moment to remind everyone that immigration makes us strong, and nativism makes us weak.
Additionally, holding up the entire federal budget over a vanity project like the wall makes the administration look no better than the cuckoo for cocoa puffs crowd, also better known as the Freedom Caucus. Luckily, it appears that the president has taken that demand off of the table.
Z: Yeah…nothing to add here, we’ll call this a weak spot.
Z: Did anyone see Trump bringing the entire mediasphere to full climax with Tomahawk missiles as a likely move? Imagine being the guy in the cabinet meeting that was like, “Sir, if you really want to get CNN on your side…launch 50 missiles into Syria,” and then having to hold a straight face while the President of the United States responded, “OK, but first can I finish my cake?”
D: The Assad regime deserves to be bombed to smithereens. I have no bone to pick here. Well done Mr. President!
Z: I went from highly supportive of those missiles to flat-out disappointed after about a week when I realized the punishment was going to stop after just 50 missiles, one ruined jet, and a dirty airfield that is still usable. But credit where credit is due…It was a good response.
This doesn’t even start to open the North Korea/China can of worms though. I was happy to see Mike Pence wandering around those hot spots saying the right things to cameras, but a little confused why the VP was taking on a very presidential foreign-policy role.
D: The Secretary of State refusing to travel with the press corps to Asia was pretty disappointing. Also, the proposed State Department budget cuts are alarming. As much as I agree with the use of military might, the administration shouldn’t underestimate the power of diplomacy.
Z: Mike Pence certainly didn’t forget, he had his diplomacy hat on all week.
Bold Banter is a series where our regular contributors debate important policy and cultural issues that we face as Americans.
David is the Editor of Bold. He's especially passionate about millennial economic empowerment. A former local news reporter, David is originally from the Little Havana area in Miami, and later became a pioneer resident of the Disney-inspired town of Celebration, Florida. David holds a Master’s in Public Policy from the Harvard Kennedy School.