Walter Quinlan, in his Oct. 3 letter “Poverty vs. Prosperity,” makes an important point. It’s true that nobody loves poverty, unless they’ve joined an ascetic religious order.
It’s also true that the U.S. employment statistics seem to reflect the success of Donald Trump’s policies. He certainly considers himself personally responsible for the improved figures. But then, he also apparently claims credit for the sun rising on a clear morning.
Newfoundlanders are survivors, having fished and logged and mined, and having suffered the injuries, illnesses and disabilities that these industries inflicted on them.
Like most modern societies, we try to improve working conditions, to reduce the deaths, the lung diseases, the broken bones and all the other risks, but young men and women continue to pay the price for our prosperity. Trump is helping U.S. industrialists by giving them large tax-breaks, by striking down health and safety regulations, by ignoring environmental concerns and by discouraging union activity such as collective bargaining.
It’s a question of how much damage we are willing to do to our environment and the health of our workforce. I don’t believe we should be throwing out all the advances we’ve made since the Industrial Revolution, and I’d feel more admiration for a government that tried to strike a balance between productivity and health.
Heavy industry produces huge profits for corporations, but without strict government controls, it chews up and spits out the men and women who do the hard work.
If I find Trump a big disappointment, it’s mainly because he showed no concern for the common hands who worked for him in his New York property development business, and has the same attitude to the workers in U.S. industries. If he could find in his heart the decency to protect the workforce, rather than simply congratulating himself on ensuring more profits for the corporate giants, I’d be inclined to agree with Mr. Quinlan, that Trump is just what the U.S. needs.
As it is, I think he’s a danger to the democratic foundations of U.S. society, and a danger to the health of the environment and of his own citizens.