Reader CStrom writes:
Trump’s apparent switch on the H1b issue during the debate hit me the wrong way as well, and I don’t know how I can support any candidate who will not address that issue. I went back to school in my 30’s to get a degree in engineering. I paid for it with everything I had at a very expensive school. Tuition and living expenses cost me over 125,000, with the promise that I could make it up with a good skill that was to be in high demand according to the BLS for years to come. I even had to take a small loan at the undergraduate level which I paid off after graduation and was working. I was able to gain about 4 years’ experience in the workplace before losing a position – all related to the economy and budget cuts and furloughs at a state entity. I haven’t been able to find a position in my field since that time. This has been just over 5 years. All I find are temporary and seasonal jobs at a low hourly rates. I’ve lost a home. I have nothing toward retirement now. I have tried to stay in the game by taking master’s level courses during this time, but all that is doing is putting me deeper in debt. Like the other commenter, I am at a loss and have begun to lose hope. There will come a point where people will tell me I’m too old or something. This is not how I envisioned my life.
The government was and is in essence encouraging American citizens to get degrees the STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math) disciplines. They encourage citizens to accept Pell Grants and Student loans all guaranteed by the taxpayer. At the same time, they have been encouraging business to use H1b green cards and visas to import foreigners who have degrees in the STEM disciplines. Who is benefitting? The banks, business, the American citizen with the STEM degree?
One of the reasons I have kept Trump on my list of possibilities is because of business expertise. Unless there is just something about him that is unknown, I have believed that he knows how to budget, manage and make things happen. And I have known how the infrastructure of the country is so far below par (ASCE rates most facilities at D+ or D-), that it is imperative that something be done. I viewed him as someone who could set that in motion and get our economy rolling in the very least. But I have waited to hear some unequivocal positions and plans. Because he said when he announced that “the system works, and I know how to work it.” He also said, “I was the Establishment – I knew who to pay to get what I wanted.” Those are troubling statements. And I’ve waited for clarification and definiteness from him.
But with his apparent flop on the H1b visas (and none of the others seem to want to address it), I just don’t know if he is sincere about any change, or if he understands the depth of despair to which many people have sunk. And if he is not for real, does anyone have the experience or ability to shape things up. I don’t know who is going to be able to do anything to help those of us who need it now. I fear we are on the verge of something much worse than the 1930s.
There is a definite widening gap in this country between a group of haves and a group of have nots. And I can’t necessarily attribute that gap to simply an increasing manifestation of greed by some. If anything, it would be, I think, due to the actions of a government gone amok. Though the consequences of this crazy federal government may well extend to how people act as human beings. There doesn’t seem to be anywhere to turn any more – and deep down nobody wants to turn to some paternalistic government. The big business schools teach a lot of good things, but increasingly whatever they are teaching is producing a lot of folks that aren’t necessarily engaged in capitalism as much as they are engaged in speculations and manipulating digits and derivatives and things. Something has got to change somewhere.
Trump has identified something real, something raw, something powerful. If he is elected, he will fail the people who have hoped in him. He will do so because he either doesn’t know what he’s talking about, or because he has no fixed principles and will change them as soon as he runs up against pressure (as in the H1B visa issue), or because he will discover the plain reality that no leader in a democracy has the power to command, “Jump!” and expect everyone else to say, “Sir, how high?”
What happens after Trump?
What happens in this economy to men and women like CStrom, whose backs are against the wall?
Whether or not Trump wins the GOP nomination, or the presidential campaign, I have a feeling that there will be no going back to normal, not now. Certainly not with the Republican Party (and that’s no bad thing), but not even with the country. Something has been stirred up. Don’t you think?