The President of the United States is a majorly important official in our successful republic. POTUS is the leader of our armed forces, our Chief Diplomat, and most importantly, POTUS is in charge of executing laws. In recent history however, presidential powers have been shifting. Since President Donald J. Trump assumed office on January 20, he has issued a staggering 18 total executive orders and presidential directives combined as of Monday. President Trump’s EO’s have covered a plethora of various national and international issues, with the majority of them regarding national security and immigration and just about all being campaign promises.
Among these EO’s lay an odd mixture of good and just plain terrifying orders. Trump’s most recent EO has brought USRAP to a screeching halt for at least 90 days, blocking refugees from 9 Muslim-majority countries including Syria from entering the United States regardless of visa status(though oddly enough, Saudi Arabia didn’t end up on the list.) Another EO calls for Trump’s “yuge” campaign promise, the Mexican-American Border Wall. Trump estimated in April that his wall would cost 5-10 billion total, but according to Bernstein Research that wouldn’t even cover material costs. Bernstein estimates with materials and labor the wall costing a much larger sum. Most likely in the ballpark of 25 billion USD. Trump also plans to pay for the wall with taxpayer funds followed by a 20% tariff on imports from Mexico to the US to make up for the tax payer funds used(which will then come back to the American consumer in the form of higher prices on imported retail goods.)
How does Trump compare to past Presidents?
Executive orders are generally issued at the beginning of a new presidency for various reasons. Sometimes it’s to pass some campaign promises right away, sometimes it’s to cancel out previous Presidents’ EO’s. Many people are criticizing President Trump for the amount of executive orders being used to carry out his work. However, EO counts have fluctuated throughout history. For example, Thomas Jefferson issued 4 executive orders whereas FDR issued over 3,000. The amount of EO’s issued doesn’t really correlate to party lines either. Calvin Coolidge is a President notorious for his capitalist views on America and was in favor of small government, but he himself issued 1,203 EO’s over the course of his presidency. George Bush issued 291 EO’s and 653 Trump has issued more executive orders than I feel comfortable with, but most modern day Presidents have done the same. To put it in simpler terms, I don’t believe it is fair to criticize Trump for the amount of executive orders he has issued, but rather the content of these orders.
What impact does Trump’s executive order frenzy have on the US?
Trump’s executive orders will have very noticeable impacts on the US and the fabric that holds this country together. Trump gone against his party’s core principles and gone against our principles as a country. Banning refugees from several random Middle Eastern countries is a direct threat to the way many of us got here in the first place. The people trying to get into this country legally are being denied access for at least 90 days, and most likely longer. Not to mention that if any country should be on this list, it should be Saudi Arabia due to the 9/11 terrorist attacks. But Trump conveniently left the Saudi’s out(it couldn’t POSSIBLY be because of oil and his business prospects, right?) As a 4th generation Irish-Italian immigrant, I personally see this as an EO that goes against our history of being the land of opportunity. Immigrants made this country great, and Trump’s policy on immigration could be very damaging to our future as a nation.
Trump is also going against the GOP on principles of capitalism and free enterprise. He issued an executive order which calls for a 40 foot tall wall to be constructed on the Mexican-American border. To pay for this wall, he will use tax dollars to cover the up front costs. He then plans to issue a 20% trading tariff on our Mexican imports. To Trump and his supporters, this is a dream come true. But to everyone else, this is just plain moronic. A tariff on our imports will not cost the government of Mexico the price of the wall. American companies with operations in Mexico will pay for the wall. General Motors will pay for the wall. Caterpillar will pay for the wall. Ford will pay for the wall. The deeply impoverished, highly unemployed Mexican citizens will pay for the wall when they lose their jobs or experience raise freezes. And lastly and most directly, the American consumer will pay for the wall when prices on everything from cars to food to clothes go up in price to compensate for the tariffs. If Trump was truly a believer in free trade and capitalism, he wouldn’t be using government intervention and taxation to boost the economy, he would be tearing down trade barriers and building up trade deals. As Mitt Romney said, “The invisible hand of the market always moves faster and better than the heavy hand of government.”
Yes, there are some bills that should have some positive effects on the nation. One being cutting down regulation on domestic manufacturing and another being the pipeline projects halted during Obama’s final term. These of course have negative effects as well, as do most policies. However, he is handling these things the wrong way.
Trump is not carrying out his agenda the way the founding fathers intended. He is completely ignoring Congress. Congress is in place to quite literally “legislate.” They have the duty of creating our laws and controlling our national pocketbook. They are also representative of the American people and act as our voice in government. Trump is already disregarding one of these duties. This is concerning when considering the 4 years that lay ahead and also raises many questions. Will he continue to disregard Congress and in turn the American People? Will he continue to issue EO’s rather than executing bills that Congress passes? Will he continue to smother free trade and bar America from people who are trying to get into this country legally? If so, we may see some radical changes happen to our nation and he also may thrust us into the Sixth American Political Party Era.