Costly slight of hand

Author: admin

Awaiting the eventual end of an American Presidency is a rare experience for the younger of us. Only other such occasions in my lifetime were the death watches for Franklin Roosevelt and Richard Nixon. You knew it was coming. Only date and hour were missing.

As we hold the same “wait-for-the-hour” session for Trump, I’ve come to a new appreciation for his seemingly random method of operation. Misdirection, it’s called in the craft. While making an ass of himself in the headlines, his minions – and those similarly inclined in the leadership of what was the Republican Party in Congress – are quietly gutting some very important programs. With the daily melodrama of his “presidency,” we hardly notice. He’s that good.

You could make a good list of what’s being undone as we look the other way. Gutting EPA regulations (thus protections), slashing important and necessary professionals off the payroll at the State Department (thus much-needed experience and expertise), gagging all federal personnel down to the cleaning crews in agency after agency with threats of job terminations for violators, ending major research projects dealing in science and health and the list goes on.

One such misdirection play of recent days is likely to cause serious harm to some of us in Northwest states. Especially Idaho and Oregon. And that’s the Muslim immigration ban. Ironically, it’s likely to hit a lot of Trump supporters in small towns therein.

Our part of the country has benefitted greatly from a federally-backed program which brings a goodly number of foreign doctors to our most rural and low income areas. And by rural, the feds are including some pretty good-sized places like Salem, Boise, Yakima, Spokane and Nampa-Caldwell. One of my own current physicians is from Ethiopia and he’s a good one.

Foreign doctors are offered some very good enticements to come to America and practice for several years in rural and medically under-served communities. Enticements like paying off medical school loans and other benefits. But a new survey by Harvard Medical and MIT has found the Muslim ban is going to greatly reduce the flow of applicants. Not just from the six banned countries but several others who worry about overall changing immigration policies. The Association of Medical Colleges is projecting the loss of hundreds of new docs yet this year alone.

While the newcomers tend to settle most in Indiana, Pennsylvania, Ohio, West Virginia and Michigan, we Westerners attract our share. In 2010, more than 25 percent of doctors and surgeons practicing in this country were foreign-born.

Oh, and something else. Trump’s also ended an expedited process which sped up approval of H1-B visas granted to highly skilled foreign workers. That’s part of the entry hurdle for physicians who complete their medical residencies and ultimately go into practice here. It also affects a lot of high tech folks.

Here’s another personal medical experience that relates. I’ve been referred to a neurologist for an examination over in the Willamette Valley. The earliest appointment? Three months out no matter the symptoms! Clinics are closing. Physicians are quitting. Others will take no new patients. Uncertainty about the political future has got to figure into some of their decisions.

The loss isn’t only in medical students. Grad departments in science and engineering claim student applications for many programs have declined by 20 to 30 percent for 2017. Partly because of the ban but also because of the uncertainty of what the hell Trump will do next.

This is just one of the important government functions being gutted by Trump and Republicans in Congress. He keeps the media mystified with craziness on the nightly news while the GOP bandits behind the scenes do their dirty work. The fine art of misdirection.

And finally, if you think no detail is too small to get the attention of government-castrating Republicans with budget knives to our throats, I give you exhibit ”B.” An excellent example of whose “health” concerns them. Not you and me. That’s for damned sure!

No, it’s those millionaire health insurance company CEO’s. The ones just struggling to get by. Tucked inside the GOP health care “replacement” is a special little gift for these indentured “servants.” A personal income tax reduction on their “paltry” earnings.

Misdirection? Not on your life!

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