It’s Even Worse Than You Think | David Cay Johnston

Summary of: It’s Even Worse Than You Think: What the Trump Administration is Doing to America
By: David Cay Johnston

The Deception Game

Trump’s history of taking credit for others’ achievements and exaggerating facts has been prevalent since the 1980s. He even claimed his 58-story Trump Tower was 68 floors. As president, he took credit for ExxonMobil’s $20 billion investment, which would generate 45,000 jobs in Texas, but it was already happening before his tenure. The investment was due to the fracking boom, not Trump.

Introduction

The book ‘It’s Even Worse Than You Think: What the Trump Administration is Doing to America’ by David Cay Johnston examines the Trump administration’s actions and how they deviate from traditional presidential values and responsibilities. This summary delves into key themes surrounding Trump’s self-centered approach, precedence of personal business interests over national interests, and notable irregularities in his tax situation. Readers can also expect to gain insights into Trump’s campaign promises, focusing on jobs, tax cuts, and border wall, vis-à-vis his actual actions after taking office.

Trump’s Self-Centered Presidency

The book discusses how Donald Trump prioritizes his ego over the needs of the nation as president. Unlike his predecessors who always put America’s interests first, Trump surrounds himself with appointees committed to dismantling the foundations of government. He spends excessive hours watching TV, reads news about himself, and hires “termites” who undermine and weaken the structure of the federal government. Aside from enriching himself, Trump’s public pronouncements are full of inconsistencies, and his past business dealings include stiffing banks for billions and defrauding customers at Trump University.

Trump’s Profiteering Presidency

President Trump’s disregard for ethical norms and customs regarding business practices has boosted his profits while in office. He has used his position to promote his hotels and golf courses, leading to increased revenue and room rates. Lobbyists and foreign dignitaries willingly pay high prices for food and drinks, hoping to curry favor with the President. Trump’s properties have also hosted events previously held by other hotels, such as the annual Kuwaiti government party. Additionally, Trump’s use of his own golf courses, with the Secret Service paying full fares, has resulted in extra income for his companies. Despite these unconscionable actions, Trump’s financial disclosure form revealed a fraction of his publicly claimed net worth, demonstrating his tendency to bend the rules for his own benefit.

Trump’s Budget Cuts

Despite his campaign promises to prioritize jobs, President Trump’s first budget cut funding for the US Trade and Development Agency. This agency generates billions in exports and creates approximately 18,000 jobs, yet Trump sought to shut it down, claiming it gave taxpayer subsidies to the private sector and hindered the free market. These actions contradict his populist job-creating rhetoric and follow right-wing ideology without considering its impact on working-class voters.

Trump, Jobs, and Taxes

Despite losing the popular vote, Trump’s appeal to Rust Belt States earned him the presidency. He promised to create 25 million jobs in a decade and boasted about being the greatest president for jobs. However, public records indicate that he evaded taxes. His promises continued post-election as he signed executive orders to develop energy pipelines. Though he claimed that Keystone Pipeline would create 28,000 jobs, the truth was closer to 15,900, with jobs being completed in Canada, India, and Italy, not America. The book explores Trump’s economic promises and taxes in light of these revelations.

OSHA’s Shift in Focus

In 2010, OSHA under Barack Obama’s administration released the names of workers who died on the job to shed light on workplace fatalities. However, under Trump’s presidency, OSHA stopped publicizing deaths and delayed safety regulations. Jordan Barab, an assistant secretary of labor under Obama, believes that the release of workers’ names is crucial in preventing fatalities. The push for transparency had aimed to move past sterile numbers and ensure that employers prioritize the safety of their workers. OSHA’s recent shift in focus and lack of transparency may have potentially harmful consequences on worker safety.

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