Paul Krugman: It’s All About Trump’s Contempt

"The mother of all sucker punches":

It’s All About Trump’s Contempt, by Paul Krugman, NY Times: For journalists covering domestic policy, this past week poses some hard choices. Should we focus on the Trump budget’s fraudulence — not only does it invoke $2 trillion in phony savings, it counts them twice — or on its cruelty? Or should we talk instead about the Congressional Budget Office assessment of Trumpcare, which would be devastating for older, poorer and sicker Americans?

There is, however, a unifying theme to all these developments. And that theme is contempt — Donald Trump’s contempt for the voters who put him in office. … He is … betting that he can break every promise he made to the working-class voters who put him over the top, and still keep their support. Can he win that bet?

When it comes to phony budget math — remember his claims that he would pay off the national debt? — he probably can. …

The bigger question is whether someone who ran as a populist, who promised not to cut Social Security or Medicaid, who assured voters that everyone would have health insurance, can keep his working-class support while pursuing an agenda so anti-populist it takes your breath away. …

So what did [Trump voters] think they were voting for? Partly,… they … believed that he was a different kind of Republican. Maybe he would take benefits away from Those People, but he would protect the programs white working-class voters … depend on.

What they got instead was the mother of all sucker punches.

Trumpcare, the budget office tells us, would cause 23 million people to lose health insurance, largely through cuts to Medicaid… It would also lead to soaring premiums — we’re talking increases on the order of 800 percent — for older Americans whose incomes are low but not low enough to qualify for Medicaid. That describes a lot of Trump voters. Then we need to add in the Trump budget, which calls for further drastic cuts in Medicaid, plus large cuts in food stamps and in disability payments. …

So many of the people who voted for Donald Trump were the victims of an epic scam by a man who has built his life around scamming. …

Will they ever realize this, and admit it to themselves? More important, will they be prepared to punish him the only way they can — by voting for Democrats?

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