When the gleaming new Veterans Affairs Medical Center on Canal Street opened its doors in November, officials boasted of an army of 2,500 doctors, nurses and support staff who would provide patients with cutting-edge medical care.Trump promised to be a friend to veterans, and, as his policies play out, we see that's not true. It seems hiring of doctors and nurses will continue as planned, but support staff positions will be approved facility by facility. Even if the hospitals hire more than enough doctors and nurses, no hospital can function without necessary support staff.
But a federal hiring freeze instituted in the first days of President Donald Trump’s administration has cast a shadow over plans to fill 1,000 of those positions over the next year.
While subsequent orders have loosened some restrictions on the VA — and on its newly opened hospitals in particular — questions persist about how the freeze will affect the wide range of services envisioned at the billion-dollar medical complex, more than 10 years in the making.
Did our incompetent president know this before he signed his executive order? Who knows? Act first; think later when unintended consequences follow.
Also, in today's edition of the Advocate is the article on uncertainty at the Port of New Orleans about consequences of Trump's promise to repeal NAFTA.
As far as global trade goes, "America First" may not necessarily mean "Louisiana First."Louisiana voted for Trump by 58 percent to 38 percent for Clinton, and this is the way he treats his friends. Our representatives in Congress are all Republicans, except for Rep. Cedric Richmond (D-LA). How quickly will our Congressmen (yes, all men) stand up to protect the Louisiana economy, which is already in dreadful shape because of the decline in oil and gas prices? I'm not holding my breath.
Reciting a familiar refrain, Trump last week called NAFTA "a catastrophe for our country." His argument is that bad trade deals have shifted American jobs overseas, hitting especially hard in the upper Midwest, where thousands of manufacturing jobs have vanished in recent decades.
But if the result of Trump’s policy turn is ultimately a decline in global trade, Louisiana could wind up as collateral damage in the effort to shore up U.S. employment.
Renegotiating NAFTA, the 1994 agreement with Mexico and Canada, might be felt in Louisiana as well. Overall, trade among the three countries has climbed from $293 billion in 1993 to almost $800 billion last year. Mexico and China — another target of Trump’s vitriol on the campaign stump — are Louisiana’s top trade partners.Mexico is now the enemy because President Peña Nieto stated he will not pay for Trump's wall on the southern border between the two countries. Trump is determined to take revenge on leaders of countries he perceives to be his "enemies", even if consequences will be harmful to the citizens of the United States.
Mexico accounted for nearly $5.9 billion worth of exports from Louisiana in 2015. A 20 percent tariff on Mexican imports — an idea floated by Trump's spokesman last month — could put a huge damper on that trade.