The first warning sign that the GOP Congress would not be yielding to the overall themes or specific items of the Trump agenda, as developed during the primary and general campaigns, was the near unanimous re-election of Paul Ryan as Speaker of the House just a few weeks before the inauguration of his nemesis in the party, Donald Trump.
The two are completely opposed on major policies, and they have a poor working relationship owing to the campaign-season feuding over which direction the party would be taking. But Ryan did not single-handedly re-elect himself as Speaker -- the entire GOP caucus in the House, minus Thomas Massie, did that.
That was a loud-and-clear signal that they would not be working with the Trump movement, on neither a policy nor a personal level. The GOP Congress would continue pursuing the same ol' BS, and Trump could either join their stampede over the cliff, or remain on solid ground yet politically isolated and publicly marginalized.
Trump decided to give the crooked Congress the benefit of the doubt, even after they preemptively stabbed him in the back with the re-election of Ryan as Speaker. The result was to make himself the standard-bearer of a legislative agenda that began with trying to ramp up corporate rape in the healthcare sector, when he has argued for years in favor of universal healthcare ("single-payer," "socialized medicine").
Despite that failure, the agenda is moving on to tax cuts for the rich, when the elites ought to be soaked for having destroyed the nation's economy, government, population, and culture -- you broke it, you bought it. When Trump was considering a third-party campaign in 2000, he proposed soaking the rich with a wealth tax in order to pay off the national debt.
And during the 2016 campaign, he regularly mocked the idea that all we need to do is give more tax incentives to corporations for them to return production to this country -- they just take the money and run. We need those big fat 35% tariffs, but those are nowhere to be seen in the GOP tax reform bill.
Whether or not that effort succeeds, the next big item will not be infrastructure -- supposedly the third major focus from earlier in the year. Back then, people debated whether the GOP Congress and Trump should have led with that, and score an easy bipartisan victory that would boost his popularity among all citizens, and begin building his pile of political capital with Congress critters on both sides of the aisle.
The GOP-ers said, We'll get to that after the really important stuff -- like corporate rape in healthcare and tax cuts for the rich -- which, by the way, will be difficult wins if they are won at all because the partisan approach leaves no margin for error, which will destroy his popularity among all but hardcore GOP voters, and which will probably not build his political capital since he will not have been part of a team that delivered the goods.
Now it looks even worse -- not just that Trump has wasted so much time, effort, goodwill, and political capital on the usual Republican crap, before getting to the good stuff, but that the GOP Congress will not be putting together a big infrastructure bill at all.
He got suckered by the worthless Republican politicians in Congress, and he should immediately cut off his cooperation with them. Politically isolated or not, at least he would not throw himself over the cliff for no reason like the rest of those retards.
For the time being, though, he appears to still be going along with their agenda. Instead of infrastructure to "rebuild America instead of Afghanistan," what are we moving onto after tax cuts for the rich? Why, gutting what's left of welfare!
Swamp-supporting defense contractors and Wall Street bankers will continue getting richer than God from make-work government contracts and bailouts, but if you're a poor white family that voted for or at least supported Trump, your reward is going to be having the rug pulled out from under you.
And so much for the "What the hell do you have to lose" angle for urban black voters. Plenty to lose, as it turns out. Not that blacks were a key element of the Trump coalition -- not at all -- but it will still be part of the larger hijacking of Trump's campaign themes by the typical Republican bullshit.
To the extent that Trump did touch on welfare during the campaign, it was to point out what a damning symptom it was of a great big festering underlying disease -- the eradication of good-paying jobs in this country. Trump is not an "ideas, values, and culture" airhead -- he is a pragmatic materialist, and said that poor people have turned to welfare because the economy offers them nothing dignified and prosperous to do. He did not insult them as having moocher values or a culture of slacking off.
He posed the emptying of the welfare rolls as a reaction to the flood of high-paying jobs back into this country, motivating them to go looking for work again. He did not get the cause-and-effect arrow backwards like the conservative movement, which believes that high-paying jobs will result from emptying the welfare rolls first.
On the contrary, without larger structural changes -- such as the re-introduction of manufacturing plant jobs for the material sectors, and trustbusting in the informational sectors to create more workplaces and more jobs -- kicking people off welfare will only have them taking the low-paying, benefit-lacking, no-security-having jobs that are already on offer from the latter-day slave-drivers who hire and fire today's workers.
Welfare is not only a way of cushioning the blow from random bad luck. It is a way to let workers go on strike until employers agree to higher wages or better conditions. Unlike union membership, it is not a collective form of bargaining and therefore packs far less of a punch. But it is a government policy that gives the worker a little extra bargaining power against the employers who only want to pay $5 an hour. It is pushing employers to make their workplace more appealing than collecting a pittance on welfare.
The only welfare reform that Trump ought to be pursuing is cutting off all immigrants, whether legal or illegal. We need to "take care of our people," not try the impossible task of making 10 billion foreigners enjoy middle-class lifestyles. Then declare an immigration moratorium, since they are far more likely to use welfare services than Americans are -- keep the system from getting burdened even further.
But the main focus should be: You crooked Republicans will get your welfare reform when you impose 35% tariffs on off-shored manufacturing, and when those jobs come flooding back into this country to give people good enough jobs that they won't need welfare.
That will paint the GOP into the rhetorical corner of arguing for welfare elimination not as part of an effort to give low-income Americans good decent jobs, but solely to squeeze more cheap labor out of the American population. If they won't work for $5 an hour, they won't have the welfare payments to fall back on -- so $5 an hour it is, and the cheap labor lobby wins again.
The GOP is not too far from using the police, intel agencies, and the military itself to force poor Americans into literal labor camps. If you're able-bodied, we need you to go to work -- for $5 an hour, or else.
Fiscally, welfare accounts for none of the budget or the national debt. It is of marginal priority for getting the nation's finances in order, which are thrown outta-whack instead by the government inflating bubbles for Wall Street and the Pentagon.
At this point, it is probably better that the Democrats take control of Congress. Then Trump won't have to decide whether to pursue suicidal policies or remain isolated. True, he'd have to get on board with some of the awful Democrat agenda items -- but at least we'd get some good things from them, too. The moribund Republican party is intent on just riding out their last years without having their bedridden rest disturbed by any drastic changes coming from within the household.
As for the medium term, the Trump supporters ought to build a new second party to replace the Republicans. Re-alignment of an existing major party was the ideal solution, but the GOP refuses to yield and re-align. They will go down with their sinking ship that we have torpedoed, rather than allow us to board it and make it sea-ready again, for a new crew steering it in a new direction.
A new second party arose from the first Civil War, and another will arise from the second.