Jeff Kassel, Donald Trump’s classmate at Penn State, speaks about the 2016 presidential candidate and others issues of the day.
I was Donald Trump’s classmate at Penn back in the late 60’s. He’s not too much different now than he was then but seems to have more confidence now. Trump’s popularity is based on style…a clear attack on both Republicans and Democrats because many recognize that both parties have failed America. They’ve promised a lot and mostly delivered perpetual war and perpetual budget deficits. This country has been mismanaged. While Reagan kept us out of war mostly, it was under his reign that the budget deficits began to explode and that has continued for 35 years. Under Reagan we tripled the national debt from one trillion dollars to three trillion. That accretion of debt has continued to accumulate and now the number is a whopping 18.5 trillion dollars…a number that only an astronomer can fully appreciate. To over-simplify we’ve been governed by the war party and the welfare party for 35 years as deficits accumulate at a mind-numbing pace. Trump is popular because he is insulting…and his targets mostly deserve the insults. This was a prosperous country for a long time until both parties threw away sound economic policy and substituted debt, welfare and war as the prevailing economic agenda. Unlike the other candidates, Trump has actually built things and created 10’s of thousands of jobs in the private sector. While it could be argued that the Republican party with it’s chicken hawks and wars hysteria have created jobs in the defense sector, we now have a Middle East in flames as a result of American wars and meddling in that region. Democrats on the other hand, buy votes with their welfare state with increased disability, food stamp and welfare rolls. Most of this expansion in the entitlement sector and war sector has been financed with debt. Iraq and Afghanistan (all 5 trillion of it) was mostly financed with debt and deficits. America has started or entered wars all over the planet many times since World War 2. Not only that, we haven’t really won any of these wars since 1945. They’re expensive and destructive. Instead of our country being in a state of perpetual war and perpetual war preparation….what we need is a war on war. America’s belligerent behavior is expensive, stupid, short-sighted, myopic and downright evil. America, for want of a better term, has become a global menace, destabilizing whole regions, countries and ethnic groups. So why has this happened? The truthful answer is that there was no good reason other than enriching war-mongering sectors of America’s economy. The world had stumbled into war based on false narratives, outright lies from presidents and vice-presidents and the institutional imperatives of our Military Industrial Complex with insane alliances and treaties that feed America’s doomsday machine in all it’s iterations. Democrats with their war on poverty have destroyed ambition and impoverished many with ever-expanding welfare, food assistance, housing assistance, medical assistance and other entitlements. Republicans have helped promote some of those entitlements. So Trump becomes increasingly interesting because he attacks the handiwork of most professional politicians. This is a very different America than what we had for 200 years. 70 years ago we didn’t have expanding welfare, expanding food stamps, expanding entitlements that undermine personal initiative, ambition and personal responsibility. People worked for a living and added value to the economy or they starved. Now we have an 800 billion dollar safety net of entitlements and an 800 billion dollar military and national security sector. Trump’s style does trouble me a little but what is more troubling is a Congress with a 14% approval level. Trump is exploiting that number.