In general, I was pretty disappointed with President Trump’s State of the Union address. It was one of the longest State of Union addresses, but failed to mention climate change. You would have though the President would have thought to given it a little thought when he delivered his address. I didn’t expect the President, as a conservative Republican, would promote a radical pro-regulation take on climate change, but he should have at least been pushing for market-based solutions, and noted the progress we’ve made in recent years in decarbonizing the economy as we’ve moved from coal to natural gas as a primary source of power generation. Maybe not enough, but he should have dropped a remark in favor of climate action.

Listening to his immigration portion of his speech, the best way to describe my attitude to his remarks was disgusted. We shouldn’t be turning our backs on our immigrants, especially those who have spent most of their lives in America. There is very little evidence that immigrants take American jobs, indeed most of the jobs they take are at the bottom of the spectrum not widely sought after by Americans. Many immigrants work incredibly hard, as they know what alternative is to not working — going back to a life of poverty in places that don’t offer the freedom or dynamic economy that America has. Immigrants are bringing us new foods, new cultures, new ideas, and are working tirelessly to make our country a better place to live. It’s absurd that we can’t find a solution to fully integrate long-term immigrants — the dreamers into the fabric of our society.

The solution to the tough times that many people in rural America and urban ghettos is not to turn out backs on the immigrants or dig more coal. It’s make the the strategic investment in education, and to work tirelessly to create the jobs of the future. Coal is not the future, renewable energy is the future. Tourism and recreation are the future. As leisure time expands for Americans, we need to make sure we have the parks and recreational facilities of all types for the public to enjoy and take advantage of. We need to make sure rural areas are welcoming, that they are producing the high-value foods and commodities sought out by the increasingly discriminating tastes of urban consumers.

While regulation costs jobs in legacy industries, the truth is regulation often spurs new jobs in compliance with regulations, all while improving the quality of life of millions of Americans. Air pollution controls for automobiles are classic example, but in every industry there are cases of regulation for the public benefit improving the quality of life. Millions of Americans build automobile pollution control devices, including many highly paid engineers and scientists. Certainly government should never interfere with free markets or competition, but it should set up regulations to ensure orderly competition so that all players have fair access to the market and that the market produces products that do as little harm as possible to the public. Trump’s blanket attacks on regulation are foolish and serve no public purpose.

His whole speech wasn’t that bad. Certainly I appreciated his one liner about protecting the second amendment. But he was silent on how he planned to protect the rights of gun owners and hunters like myself. He said nothing about acquiring new public lands, about increasing training and knowledge of sportsmen. He didn’t talk about ways we can protect our public lands for generations to come, or how we can limit the incredible amount of climate change gases and other toxic substances coming out of our big cities and great places of industry.

Maybe I gave Donald Trump too much of the benefit of the doubt during his first year in office. I thought he could have proven to be a good president, somebody who could have brought his business knowledge to the White House to make government work efficiently and promote job creation. But after hearing the president’s speech, I am throughly disappointed with his leadership, and hope we can take our country in a different direction starting in 2018.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *