5 Ways Trump Is A Disaster For The Poorest Americans


President Obama was a great president for the poor. As The Atlantic notes, there were three main moves he made to reduce income inequality:

  • The Affordable Care Act reduced the rate of uninsured Americans from 16 percent to nine percent
  • The 2009 stimulus bill included a lot of tax benefits for poor Americans, raising their effective incomes
  • Obama’s administration increased funding for food stamps and other safety net programs

President-elect Trump, on the other hand, is set to run a disastrous administration for the poorest Americans. The policies he argued for on the campaign trail won’t do anything to help income inequality – of course, what else would you expect from a guy who uses money from his charitable foundation to pay for a portrait of himself. Here are the five biggest reasons why the poor at large should be dreading the upcoming Trump presidency:

1. Millions of Americans Will Lose Their Health Insurance

While campaigning, Trump promised to repeal Obamacare. Now that he’s been elected president, Trump has softened his stance a bit, saying he wants to keep the most popular provisions (you can’t be denied a plan because of a preexisting condition, you can stay on your parent’s plan until you’re 26, etc.) and tweak the rest of the bill.

Repealing Obamacare would result in millions of Americans immediately losing their health insurance coverage. Something in between a full repeal and changing the law to make it more palatable to conservatives would likely have the same result.

2. The Minimum Wage Is A Mystery

Former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton was consistent throughout her campaign: she supports a $12 dollar minimum wage nationwide and a $15 minimum wage in cities, where the cost of living is higher.

Donald Trump has been all over the place on this issue. In a November 2015 debate, he said that wages are too high and that he does not support raising the minimum wage. In a July 2016 press conference, he flip-flopped and said the minimum wage should be $10 an hour. Whatever he ends up pushes for, it’ll be less than what Clinton would have supported as president.

3. No Mo’ Veto

The GOP controls the House and the Senate. Another thing that would have been nice about a Clinton presidency is that we’d have someone to veto Medicare and Social Security cuts proposed by deficit hawks like Paul Ryan. Now, who the hell knows what’s going to happen to the nation’s safety net.

4. Goodbye Overtime Pay

Next month, a new overtime rule goes into effect that doubles the salary threshold for overtime pay. Those making less than $47,476 will be guaranteed time-and-a-half pay for every hour worked over their standard 40 hours. Trump has said he would exempt small businesses from this rule. If you happen to work for a small business in Trump’s America… well, too bad, I guess.

5. Tax Cuts For The Rich Means Less Money For Those Who Need It Most

Lily Batchelder, an NYU law professor and fellow at the Tax Policy Center, highlights one of the most frustrating aspects of Trump’s tax plan:

“If you look at the most wealthy, the top 1 percent would get about half of the benefits of his tax cuts, and a millionaire, for example, would get an average tax cut of $317,000.”

The federal government is funded, of course, by tax revenue. Rich people giving less money to the government means there’s less money for infrastructure, scientific research, benefits for retirees and veterans, Pell Grants that make it possible for low-income children to go to the college, agencies that assure our food and water are safe to consume… all so that wealthy people can cling to more of their wealth.

The thin, almost invisible silver lining here is that Trump and the GOP do plan on raising the standard deduction, so poor people should end up saving some money on taxes under Trump. But those savings won’t be near enough to make up for all the damage a Trump administration will likely do to social programs that are designed to help the disadvantaged.

So hold on to every single dollar you get from those tax cuts, folks. You’re gonna need them.


Featured Image by Franco Follni via Flickr under a CC BY-SA 2.0 license