Paul Krugman: If You Think the United States Is a Disaster Now, Just Wait
This week may have been the most damaging to Donald Trump's presidency since the rainy January afternoon he was sworn into office before a meager crowd.
During a Senate Intelligence Committee hearing Thursday, James Comey, the former director of the FBI, repeatedly called the president a liar, accusing him of defaming the country's top law enforcement agency and all but declaring he obstructed justice in an ongoing investigation. Even before Comey's explosive testimony, evidence had begun to mount that the Republican Party—both its rank and file and its politicians—may finally be losing faith. Not only has Trump's approval rating sunk to historic lows, with a higher percentage of Americans now supporting his impeachment, but the likes of Bush strategist Karl Rove are openly suggesting he's unfit for office.
Whither the pundits who were so eager to declare Trump had "become president" for successfuly reading off a teleprompter without drooling on himself, wonders Paul Krugman.
In his latest offering, the New York Times columnist examines just how disastrous Trump's presidency has been—and how much worse it might get. Take Trump's transparent sabotage of the Affordable Care Act. Insurance markets had finally begun to settle, Krugman argues, but because the administration has refused to commit to future subsidies, companies like Blue Shield have hiked premiums as much as 23 percent. The acute suffering of Trump's constituency, much less the American people, seems of minor concern to this administration.
"Is it because Trump believes his own assertions that he can cause Obamacare to collapse, then get voters to blame Democrats?" Krugman writes. "Or is it because he’s too busy rage-tweeting and golfing to deal with the issue? It’s hard to tell, but either way, it’s no way to make policy."
Then there's his flabbergasting foray into the gulf state dispute. The president reportedly may not have known that the United States has a military base in Qatar, but that didn't stop him from labeling the country a lead sponsor of terror, even as he cozies up to a Saudi dictatorship that is the world's leading exporter of Wahabbism. Prior to that, he triggered a separate crisis in Europe when he refused to affirm Article 5 of the North Atlantic Treaty, a mutual defense clause that says an attack on one NATO member is an attack on all.
"The point, again, is that everything suggests that Trump is neither up to the job of being president nor willing to step aside and let others do the work right," Krugman continues. "And this is already starting to have real consequences, from disrupted health coverage to ruined alliances to lost credibility on the world stage."
The United States hasn't yet plunged into a depression, nor has it stumbled into a nuclear conflict, but "the worst, almost surely, is yet to come."
Read Paul Krugman's column at the New York Times.