Election time brings a lot of expectations, hopes, and worries. Will the newly elected people be friends of firefighters, or will they be more of those people that want to cut our pensions and replace us with employees from private companies? Most of these things come from local elections. Those local decision makers are the ones that control the local operations. Donald Trump will be the next president. Will he be remembered as our friend, or our enemy?
It is difficult to find history for a president that comes from the business world. Usually the best way to see how someone stands on the issues is to look at how they voted on issues that affect firefighters. This time we have no voting record for Donald so we can only look at things he has done in the past. We can also look at the things he has said, but I don’t like to put much credibility on what politicians promise.
The hottest topic these days among the cost cutters is “pension reform”. Is it really pension reform when all they talk about is making cuts? I thought reform meant they were trying to fix a problem. Donald Trump employs a lot of people, and he doesn’t do a very good job of funding their pensions.
There aren’t many private sector employees with traditional pension plans. More common is a 401K plan. Employers can match funds that employees contribute, and they can also set up rules that employees follow regarding contributing. Bloomberg’s gave Trumps employees 401K plan a rating of 30 out of 100 points. Most plans allow employees to contribute as soon as they are hired, but Trumps make employees wait a year. Trump’s plan is referred to as “stingy”. When it comes to public employee pensions, we can’t expect much help from Trump, his history answers the pension question.
Another topic that gets a lot of conversation is health care. The Affordable Health Care plan was supposed to help us all with better coverage and premiums. The coverage in a lot of instances is better, wellness care is covered and we can keep our kids living at home on our insurance until they are 26. (Living at home at 26 years old, is that real?)
Someone needs to pay for all that extra service and the price of that seems to have landed on the middle class. The Affordable Health Care Act provides discounted rates to families that earn less than $67, 000 per year. If you make more money than that, plan on a good portion of your income going to pay for other people’s health care. Trump seems to have waivered from abolishing the Affordable Health Care Act, but now says he will fix the plan. When it comes to health care, I can’t give Trump a thumbs up or down because he doesn’t have a clue yet what he is going to do.
I can’t find anything to show that Trump will be our friend, but I can’t find a lot to show that he won’t. A president doesn’t directly control a local fire department but they do make a lot of decisions that help or hurt us.
When it comes to Donald Trump, I guess I will do what the rest of the country needs to do, give him some time and hope for the best.
By John Morse
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