What Matters in Politics Today
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This political season has been a roller coaster, so The Spartan Oracle is working to untangle and understand some of what is happening. If you have any questions, comments, disagreements, or additional points of notice, feel free to comment below.
The Affordable Care act has been a controversial subject as long as it has existed. The insured/uninsured debate is slanted due to changes in whether illegal immigrants are counted and a looser definition of uninsured. This makes many arguments about the progress of the Affordable Care Act (ACA) invalid. Regardless, Goldman Sachs and RAND corporation both estimate around 17 million people are covered by the ACA. In the first few days of his presidency, Trump issued an order to “wave, defer, grant exceptions from or delay” health care under the ACA. That leaves a large hole in coverage and a replacement ‘hasn’t been found. This issue is relevant because of the amount of people affected.
Another controversial subject is the Dakota Access Pipeline (DAP) and Keystone XL pipeline, both of which Trump issued a go-ahead. There is an ecological concern, endangering many animals and habitats. There is some concern with climate change, although most drastic changes are due to drilling and not piping the oil. The amount of oil is both a concern (incase of spills) and good for the economy (cheaper oil prices, trading oil, less dependence on Middle East). The pipelines could negatively affect drinking supplies, but also create 54,100 jobs, although only about 90 long time ones.
Besides intra-country work, Trump also is working to change the economy outside the US. He often can be heard talking about trade deals, and has focused specifically on the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) in the Pacific Rim and the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) with Canada and Mexico. Leaving the TPP, which involves 12 countries, still needs to be approved by Congress. It was in part designed to combat China’s influence in The Pacific, while lowering prices and connecting the US to East Asia. If we leave, prices of certain goods will go up, allowing American workers to compete, which is one of Trump’s goals. However, China is expected to fill the vacuum left by the US, which gives China more influence and will make it harder to stop China from building islands and moving military boats. Trump also wants to leave the NAFTA, which he feels favors Mexico. Leaving will also mean increased prices in the economy but more American jobs.
One more recent and controversial problem is the so-called Muslim ban. The United States originally had a two year vetting process, but this ban stops immigrants from 7 countries. No, it does not specifically say it bans muslims, but that’s what the order does. It personally reminds me of an old law enacted after the civil war. The law stated that citizens could vote only if their grandfather could vote. That’s not a racist statement in the least. However, African American people had just become free, and none of their grandparents could vote because they were slaves. So this law, although not seemingly racist, kept black people from voting. The travel ban is the same way. It doesn’t state that Muslims are banned, but that is what the ban achieves. Don’t lie to yourself and pretend the ban is going to keep you safe either. No refugees from the 7 countries banned have killed someone in America so far. Overall, the ban has very little effect on the economy. So little refugees are let in that the stoppage doesn’t amount to a huge change. The ban however is an ethical problem, and runs counter to some American philosophies, including what is written on the Statue of Liberty.
Finally, I must address Twitter. 140 characters simply is not enough to accurately communicate such complicated problems as the ones stated above. The media is quickly blamed for misinformation. However, ideas will not be accurately shared if a President fails to meet and talk to the media, and instead resorts to short bursts of angry typing. Twitter is great for quickly sharing information, but is horrible at sharing accurate information. Instead of ranting about Nordstrom on Twitter, it would be much more beneficial to give a speech about new policies and how they plan to effect this country.