If you hadn't heard yet, a good deal of America doesn't much care for President Trump. They have their reasons. Too much golf, they suggest. He hates Muslims, they add. He's misogynistic, they also point out, covering their genitals. In the meantime. the Trump presidency is causing a number of scary effects that haven't hit the headlines yet, whose impacts could linger for years. Things like ...
It's kind of standard for a Republican president to slash the budget, especially if he has a hankering for expensive walls. So no one's been particularly surprised by Trump's proposed budget and its cuts for things like the Environmental Protection Agency and the National Endowment for the Arts. Cutting Meals on Wheels was a little unexpected, but we guess those poor elderly have had it too good for too long.
But there are plenty more weird cuts planned that you likely haven't heard about, like to small-town airports and train stations. All told, around 220 cities could soon lose passenger rail service. And not big cities; the cuts would fall heaviest on outer suburban and rural areas -- the people who put Trump in office, essentially.
This isn't just an inconvenience for tourists; a lot of jobs depend on those rail connections, and many of these rural towns count on these arteries to stay connected to the rest of the country. Without essential train services and small-scale air travel, these flyover states would be forever doomed to that status. (And considering that this comes after Trump's pre-election promise to invest $1 trillion in infrastructure, it's almost like he isn't a completely honest man.) So sorry, rural America. If you had any plans for getting out of town, you might want to do that soon before we take the actual roads and bridges away too.
Most people wait until the last frost of the year before even thinking about filing their taxes. The process sucks, and the only way it could suck more is if you had a hungry ocelot in the room with you.
Which is exactly what Trump has done.
Shrewd businessman that Trump is, he's proposing a 14 percent reduction in the operating budget for the IRS. While you may initially think "Sweet, more money for Big Macs and balloon rides in April!" temper that enthusiasm, bucko. With those cuts also come the potential loss of a few things that assist you during your annual tax-filing adventure. Things like customer service. This has been a trend since 2010, with several reductions in the IRS budget already having occurred.
Enforcement will be another victim of these cuts, and before you say "Yay! Tax Fraud!" we'd like to encourage you to say "Boo! Tax Fraud!" instead. Not only do audits protect you from identity theft and fraud, but they also keep wealthy folk honest, which ultimately reduces your tax burden. Since the series of cuts in 2010, the agency has lost $5 billion in revenue from not being able to audit people.
Compound all of this with a newly proposed tax structure (which normally would require an agency like the IRS to be fully staffed and operating at the height of its capabilities), and this vital government service which has historically paid for itself could be spread so thin that taxes eventually won't matter and cheese will become the prevailing currency.
One of the stranger effects of a Trump presidency, or really of any Republican presidency, is the damage it does to the gun industry. It just doesn't sound right. Republicans generally love gun rights, so how could gun sales do anything but spike with one of their own in charge?
The answer lies with fear. Fear of Hillary Clinton, of Obama, of any form of gun control, really. Democrats are awesome for gun sales, as evidenced by this handy chart of the number of guns manufactured during the past few years:
With Trump in office, gun owners aren't afraid that they're about to lose their right to buy penguin rifles or whatever the hot new gun is, so they're not getting them quite as much as they were before. Gun manufacturers like Ruger and American Outdoor Brands (formerly Smith & Wesson) saw a more than 14 percent drop in sales the day after the election. Combine this with an already existing downward trend in the number of gun-owning households ...
... and you have a dark forecast. Don't weep too badly for the industry, mind you. Gun sellers will tell you they've ridden out dips like this before, and for the time being they'll still be sticking to their ... well ... you know.
It's a bit of an understatement to say that President Trump likes his vacations, whether it's golfing at his Florida resort, golfing somewhere else, or talking about golf with wealthy donors at his Florida resort. The dude is always on the go.
There's the obvious cost of all these trips to the taxpayers, even if it is a little hard to say exactly how much they cost. It is fair to say that they aren't cheap, though, and again, he does go quite a bit. But these trips have a lot of other hidden costs as well. Trump's frequent jaunts to his Mar-a-Lago estate in Florida take a variety of tolls on the local economy. When Trump is in town, local residents have to deal with things like detours and restaurant cancellations. Local airspace is shut down, which means local airports lose hundreds of thousands in fuel sales. On top of this, there's all the overtime needed to pay the sheriffs and deputies who guard the many closed roads that come with his visits.
Even when he's on Air Force One, he has a bubble of restricted airspace surrounding him at all times, which is particularly problematic seeing as he likes to travel back and forth in some of most congested airspace in the country. And while there's already a no-fly zone radius around Trump Tower in Manhattan, when he's in town, that bubble extends to almost the entire island, which is devastating the local aviation industry.
And speaking of his little tower, while traffic around it has never been conducive to a Smokey And The Bandit chase scene, since Trump's election, congestion has massively increased, with predictable impacts to stores and other businesses in the area.
How would you encourage someone to come visit America? You'd probably point to some of our admirable qualities, like our theme parks, or our freedom of religion and the press, or our farmer-specific dating websites.
Now try to persuade them to visit when there's a world-hating bag of farts sitting in the White House. Got a bit harder, didn't it? Tourism experts are expecting a 7 percent drop in tourism this year, with potential losses in the billions (and that doesn't count the still-proposed Muslim travel ban).
Not surprisingly, Mexicans are opting to take their trips elsewhere this year. Probably not coincidentally, Canada has recently lifted visa restrictions on Mexican citizens, and saw an 82 percent spike in visits in one month.
Speaking of the travel ban still locked up in court battles: the arbitrary, nebulous, ill-defined "extreme vetting" that Trump promised to conduct on anyone entering the country is still in effect. Which may still include some very anti-tourist mandates, like having every visitor to the U.S. hand over their phone for inspection. Consider what that means for a city like Miami, which makes its bread and butter on foreign tourism. It's the equivalent of a huge slap across the face; they're already beginning to see hotel revenue plummet. Major cities like New York and Philadelphia are reporting noticeable drops in visitors as well, in what travel experts are dubbing the "Trump Slump."
Win McNamee/Getty Images
Essentially, the president's verbal version of a "No girls allowed" sign hanging on America's door has resulted in an instant and entirely predictable backlash from foreigners who just want to see a giant canyon or a skyscraper without getting fisted at the airport.
One thing that persists through war, recession, and shitty presidential administrations is our beloved world of sports. Which isn't to say our various leagues of millionaires don't go through their own tough times. But normally, the sitting president doesn't have much effect on their popularity or financial success.
But now, because of the increased restrictions on travel, stories are beginning to crop of immigrants (and citizens) who are unable to play for their teams or visit the U.S. Los Angeles is one of two remaining finalists to host the Olympics in 2024, but its chances could dwindle if anyone counts the number of athletes from Muslim nations who wouldn't be able to get here.
But there are other consequences happening right now. For instance, one area where the U.S. and Iran have relatively warm relations is, of all places, wrestling. But when Iran was listed as one of the countries in the travel ban, they returned the favor, banning Americans from entering their country, which almost killed off American participation in a February wrestling competition in Iran.
The ban also affected baseball, as one of the bright young stars of the major leagues was unsure if he would be able to play a full season. Texas Rangers pitcher Yu Darvish, who is half-Iranian and half-Japanese, had to find out before the season if he could even come back into the U.S. after playing a series in, say, Toronto. His father was equally unsure if he would be able to visit to see his son pitch a game.
Oh and those possible changes to the tax code that Trump is considering could mess things up too. Pro athletes already have to navigate a bizarre realm of the tax code, engineering their contracts so that they get taxed in certain states or certain times, while trying to avoid "jock taxes" that can trigger when they so much as play a game in another state. This is already changing the sports landscape, and it could be thrown into an even bigger blender if Trump decides to blow up the tax code some more.
It's all a little confusing, but the net result will likely mean the wealthy will get wealthier, your favorite player won't be your favorite player next year, and, as always, those fucking Yankees.
Donald Trump's Twitter feed is an endless string of potshots, half-truths, and exclamation marks. But it's just Twitter. Beyond providing fodder for The Daily Show and John Oliver to goof on, none of this has really affected much in the real world, right?
Well, actually, when President Trump logs into Twitter, the ramifications can be very serious. In March, Trump tweeted that he was working on a system to encourage competition in the pharmaceutical industry, presumably to drive down prices so that people will live longer and he can absorb their life juices. Immediately after posting that, the healthcare index on Wall Street dropped by half a percentage point, with Johnson & Johnson in particular taking a large hit. And when Trump's daughter Ivanka had her clothing line removed from Nordstrom shelves, he lashed out at the department store:
Although Trump's fans might have responded to this by halting their planned purchases at Nordstrom, his enemies responded even harder with vows to shop there more, and Nordstrom's stock saw a 5 percent leap in value by the end of the day.
These aren't the only examples; over 60 companies have been directly affected by Trump's posts. There are now apps that can track your company's stock value when Trump mentions you in a tweet, and at least some companies are beginning to insure themselves so that they can weather any major dips caused by whatever spews out of the president's smartphone that day. One PR firm even sent out a company-wide directive to treat Trump's tweets same way they would a natural disaster.
On the plus side, one company has created the "Trump and Dump Bot" which scours Trump's Twitter feed for instances of him taking a public shit on a company and then shorts the stock. The bot's creators donate everything they make to the ASPCA, so it's technically heartwarming too.
Still terrifying, though. Let's not let that go.
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