College Democrats Respond to the State of the Union

Tuesday night, President Donald Trump delivered his first State of the Union speech and, despite its length, Wake Forest College Democrats ultimately found it underwhelming. Trump stated that he has made “incredible progress” and achieved “extraordinary success” over this past year, but nothing could be further from the truth. Public dissatisfaction and frustration with the current administration continue to grow, as indicated by Trump’s historically low approval rating, even during this time of relative economic prosperity.

We find Trump’s praise for a tax bill that only benefits the top one percent and that strips the individual mandate, in turn contributing to increasing health insurance premiums, very problematic. His praise is especially troubling as he continues to lie and mislead the public on the success of this bill, describing it, falsely, as the “biggest tax cut and reform in American history.” In addition, his self-acclamation for ending the war on “beautiful, clean coal” is concerning, especially in conjunction with his failure to address the dangers of climate change.

We as a club support Trump’s call for bipartisanship on issues such as paid family leave, prison reform, infrastructure, investing in job training, lowering prescription drug costs and fighting the opioid epidemic. However, President Trump’s track record, as well as his failure to provide a plan on how to solve these issues, does not make us confident that he will follow through on many of these promises.

In addition, we want the President to show his desire for bipartisanship beyond stating it in a teleprompter speech. In the past, his deeply insulting and disrespectful comments about Democratic members of Congress has reinforced the lack of cooperation between parties and this type of language cannot continue if Trump is serious about passing bipartisan deals.

Despite the glimmer of an effort to unite the country through his guests’ inspirational stories and policy issues that both parties can support, some of his language was alarmingly divisive, including his comment that “Americans are dreamers, too” and focusing on the story of the MS-13 gang that does not and should not characterize the undocumented immigrant community in this country.

Strikingly contrasting Trump’s divisiveness and flat cadence, Congressman Joseph Kennedy III (D-MA) delivered an energetic and passionate response to Trump’s State of the Union that declared that we can “choose both;” that politics isn’t a zero-sum game, that we don’t have to choose between American workers and DREAMers, but instead can fight for both.

We as a club fully support this notion and want to especially reiterate Congressman Kennedy’s statement that DREAMers are part of our American story. As a club, we will continue to support DREAMers on this campus and everywhere and we hope that Congress can pass an immigration deal that protects these valuable members of our society.

We hope that the sentiment of Congressman Kennedy’s speech carries into the midterm elections and motivates us to flip the House.

While we are cautiously hopeful that some bipartisan deals can be made on the issues stated above, our main focus as a club is taking back Congress so that we can get back to passing legislation that reflects our Democratic ideals of equality, opportunity, prosperity and justice.

  • Tom Daly

    Trump’s call for bipartisanship lasted until he was exiting Congress and said the release of the Nunes memo was going to happen.

    The gang of eight must work together to pass a budget at the least. Trump’s repeated insults to them, and the intelligence departments in his administration belay his call for bipartisanship.

  • Tom Daly

    Trumps’s SOTU

    “Since the election, we have created 2.4 million new jobs, including
    200,000 new jobs in manufacturing alone.”
    Trump often inflates the number of jobs created under his presidency by
    counting Election Day, rather than when he took the oath of office. There have
    been about 1.8 million jobs created since January 2017, according to the
    Bureau of Labor Statistics. That’s the slowest gain in jobs since 2010,
    which indicates how well job growth was going before Trump took office.

    “After years of wage stagnation, we are finally seeing rising
    wages.”
    Trump once again takes credit for something that began to happen before his
    presidency.
    Wages have been on an upward trend since 2014, according to the Bureau
    of Labor Statistics, and in fact their growth slowed during the first
    year of Trump’s presidency. In inflation adjusted dollars 2017 was the lowest increase since 2013

    “African American unemployment stands at the lowest rate ever
    recorded, and Hispanic American unemployment has also reached the lowest levels in history.”
    This is a flip-flop by Trump. During the 2016 campaign, Trump claimed that
    58 percent of African American youths were unemployed. The African
    American unemployment rate has been on a relatively steady decline since
    it hit a peak of 16.8 percent in March 2010, during the Great
    Recession. The rate had already fallen to 7.7percent when Trump took the
    oath of office — it is now 6.8 percent — so Trump taking credit for
    this is like a rooster thinking the sun came up because he crowed.

    “The stock market has smashed one record after another, gaining
    $8 trillion in value. That is great news for Americans’ 401(k), retirement,
    pension and college savings accounts.”
    Trump frequently brags about the rising stock market — he’s done it about
    once every three days as president — even though during the 2016 campaign he had said it was “a big fat bubble” that was about to pop.
    The U.S. rise in 2017 was not unique. When looking at the Standard &
    Poor’s 500-stock index, it’s clear U.S. stocks haven’t rallied quite as
    robustly as their foreign equivalents. So it’s hard for Trump to make the case
    that his stewardship is making that much of a difference if stocks are doing
    better in other developed countries.
    In fact, Trump even falls short in comparison to Barack Obama’s first year.
    The S&P 500 gained about 33.3 percent from inauguration through Jan. 29
    under Obama, compared with 25.5 percent under Trump.

    “Just as I promised the American people from this podium 11 months
    ago, we enacted the biggest tax cuts and reform in American history.”
    Trump repeatedly claims he passed the biggest tax cut in U.S. history, but
    it’s just not true. The best way to compare tax cuts (or spending plans)
    over time is to measure them as a percentage of the national economy.
    Inflation-adjusted dollars are another option, but a percentage of gross
    domestic product helps put the impact of the bill into context. Trump’s tax cut,
    according to Treasury Department data, is nearly 0.9
    percent of GDP —compared to 2.89 percent of GDP for Ronald Reagan’s 1981 tax cut. Trump’s tax cut is only the eighth-largest — and is even smaller than
    two of Barack Obama’s tax cuts.

    “Our massive tax cuts provide tremendous relief for the middle
    class and small businesses.”
    Trump is spinning the effects of his tax plan. Most of the benefits in the
    tax bill flow to corporations and the wealthy, according to numerous
    independent analysts. More than three-quarters of the $1.1 trillion in individual
    tax cuts will go to people who earn more than $200,000 a year in taxable
    income, who constitute only about5 percent of all taxpayers, according
    to a report by Moody’s Investors Service

    “Many car companies are now building and expanding plants in the
    United States — something we have not seen for decades. Chrysler is moving a major plant from Mexico to Michigan.”
    Trump’s timeline is mixed up. Fiat Chrysler is investing $1 billion in a
    factory in Michigan, but that plan was in motion before Trump’s election in
    2016, according to Sergio Marchionne, the Fiat Chrysler chief executive.
    Marchionne specifically credited talks with the United Auto Workers in 2015,
    not Trump. It was Obama that bailed outChrysler and GM (which they have since paid back with a profit.)

    “We are proud that we do more than any other country to help the
    needy, the struggling and the underprivileged all over the world.”
    In raw dollars, the United States does contribute more development aid. But
    the United States is also richer, so as a percentage of gross national income,
    the United States ranks relatively low, according to 2016 figures published
    by the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development.
    The United States contributed $33.6 billion, followed by Germany with almost
    $25 billion. The United States ranked 22nd out of 29 wealthy countries tracked by the organization