President Barack Obama gave his farewell speech and lamented inequality, saying, “For all the real progress we’ve made, we know it’s not enough. Our economy doesn’t work as well or grow as fast when a few prosper at the expense of a growing middle class.”
Obama continued, “But stark inequality is also corrosive to our democratic principles. While the top 1% has amassed a bigger share of wealth and income, too many families, in inner cities and rural counties, have been left behind – the laid-off factory worker; the waitress and healthcare worker who struggle to pay the bills – convinced that the game is fixed against them, that their government only serves the interests of the powerful – a recipe for more cynicism and polarization in our politics.”
Economic inequality vastly expanded under President Obama and the recovery from the Great Recession he inherited overwhelmingly went to the top, with most Americans getting little to no relief.
There is a lot of discussion about what will be Obama’s legacy. Unmistakably, a major part is how his presidency led to Donald Trump becoming president.
Trump held a press conference detailing how he would handle his business interests and attacked a thoroughly scurrilous report from BuzzFeed that Russia had compromising material on Trump, including evidence of lewd acts, such as paying prostitutes to urinate on a bed President Obama and Michelle Obama used. (He also conflated Buzzfeed’s shoddy journalism with a report on allegations from CNN.)
Trump conceded that the hacking of the Democratic National Committee and Hillary Clinton’s campaign chair John Podesta may have been Russia, but he added China and other countries hack U.S. institutions and organizations and that he would make cybersecurity one of his priorities.
Trump also said he would support fully repealing and replacing the Affordable Care Act or “Obamacare” as soon as he enters office and his choice for Health and Human Services secretary, Tom Price, is confirmed.
No precise details were offered as to how the ACA would be replaced, though Trump claimed throughout the presidential campaign that he favored changing the law to let health insurance companies compete across state lines.
He also went after the drug companies and said he would lower costs by negotiating drug prices saying, “Pharma has a lot of lobbies, a lot of lobbyists, a lot of power. And there’s very little bidding on drugs. We’re the largest buyer of drugs in the world. And yet we don’t bid properly. We’re going to start bidding. We’re going to save billions of dollars over a period of time.”
Another major topic was the border wall, which Trump again insisted would be paid for by Mexico. He said to speed the process US taxpayers would cover the costs upfront and later be reimbursed by Mexico.
Finally, Trump said he was consulting with the Federalist Society, fmr. Senator Jim DeMint, and others, on who his nominee to the Supreme Court would be to replace the late Justice Antonin Scalia. Trump plans to offer a nominee within two weeks after his inauguration.