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“Donald Trump — Drum Major Clown” illustration from DonkeyHotey’s Flickr photostream (CC BY-SA 2.0).
“Donald Trump — Drum Major Clown” illustration from DonkeyHotey’s Flickr photostream (CC BY-SA 2.0).

Trump's immigration shill

Trump’s plan isn’t a great political document or even a mediocre one. What it is, is a confidence game and those folks who believe they can follow the Donald’s…

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The ultimate huckster’s confidence game is a three-card monte of racism, misdirection and economic boondoggle

This past weekend Republican presidential hopeful Donald Trump unveiled his immigration policy paper. Reportedly conservative commentator and provocateur (and animatronic construct) Ann Coulter has proclaimed it “the greatest political document since the Magna Carta.” Her recommendation alone should be enough to send any reasonable American running for the hills.

Trump’s plan isn’t a great political document or even a mediocre one. What it is, is a confidence game and those folks who believe they can follow the Donald’s sleight of hand to come out on top are going to lose everything from their money to their self-respect before it’s over. 

This is Trump’s a three-card monte, you see, a con intended to make the mark  (prospective voters) think that the card to “make America great again” is among those he is shuffling in front of them — when really that card’s been palmed up a sleeve and the three left on the table  are racism, misdirection and economic boondoggle.

Who is singled out?

As expected from a candidate who showed no compunction about labeling all Mexicans rapists and criminals, here are plenty of statements and proposals in Trump’s policy that ring with bias. Mexico is mentioned almost as many times as United States (8:12), and Mexican immigrants are the only ones singled out for confiscation of remittances. Mexicans — including those with impeccable documentation status — are proposed to see increased fees for everything from visas to the cost of doing business with the United States.

Since Mexico is one of the United States’ most important trade partners, and since Mexican Foreign Direct investment in the United States has steadily increased (it was $14.9 billion in 2012, up 14 percent from 2011), the business magnate’s pique against all things Mexico and Mexican starts seeming both mercenary and self-serving. 

And let’s be honest, he has had his manties in a bunch over the fact that Carlos Slim (#2 on the Forbes 2015 list of the richest people on the planet)  took umbrage at the racist comments Trump (#405 on the list) made about Mexicans, and dumped a joint project they were working on. Many of the “sanctions” for Mexico in Trump’s policy give off a whiff of sour grapes and corporate self-interest.

Watch the hand pointing at the scapegoat...

Trump blames everything from unemployment rates to crime on immigrants. In a particularly gross attempt at misdirection, he tries to make the high unemployment rates of young people of color an immigration problem instead of a consequence of systemic racism, GOP cuts to essential educational and job training programs,  and skyrocketing income inequality produced by a corporate-first worldview that Trump himself exemplifies.

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Unlike billionaire business magnates who believe corporations and wealthy individuals should be taxed in a way commensurate with wealth to contribute to the common good, the Donald makes no bones about the fact he is uninterested in the common good, and just wants to continue getting away with paying as little tax on his billions as possible.

An economic morass

But for such a dollar-driven dude, Trump’s immigration proposal is a financial nightmare.  His proposal to detain and deport the estimated 11.3 million undocumented immigrants currently in the U.S. would cost an estimated $114 billion ($10,070 per person) according to the Center for American Progress

Add to that the loss of consumer expenditures of those 11.3 million people deported: A minimum $300 billion a year if you calculate that at least half of them spend the average $51,000 the Department of Labor figures a U.S. resident spends annually.

And that part of Trump’s three-card monte will hurt most at street level — Main Street — where the rents are paid and groceries are bought from small businesses and ordinary people. The very middle class the Donald is purporting to “help.” 

Trump’s immigration policy confidence game really makes marks of all of us.

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