A society that does not protect its children, by definition, is doomed. Yet the Trump Administration, across the board, has shown it is perfectly willing to sacrifice the health and well-being of children to allow its corporate underwriters to make an even bigger profit.
WC offers four specific examples.
The World Health Organization (WHO) proposed a resolution extolling the virtues of breast-feeding babies. Based on decades of research, the resolution proposed said that a mother’s milk is healthiest for children and countries should strive to limit the inaccurate or misleading marketing of breast milk substitutes. The Trump Administration caused the U.S. to kill the resolution, because it might cut sales by infant formula manufacturers. They tried lobbying, and when that failed they tried blackmail. Ecuador, for example, reports it was threatened with a cutoff of military aid and trade tariffs if it didn’t play ball. More money for baby formula makers; more danger and health risk for babies.1
There’s nothing seriously wrong with the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA), but the Trump Administration is seeking to renegotiate it. The U.S. has been pushing for language that would limit the ability of Canada, Mexico and the United States to put warning labels on junk food and sugary beverages. Junk food and sugary drinks are inarguably bad for kids. But if you warn consumers it’s bad for you, it might depress sales of Coca-Cola™, and we can’t have that. Kids lose; Coke wins.
Also at WHO, the U.S. succeeded in removing statements supporting soda taxes from a document that advises countries grappling with soaring rates of obesity. There is very strong medical evidence linking excessive consumption for sugar with obesity and Type II diabetes. A soda tax might help with treatment. But it might also cut Pepsi’s™ profits, and we can’t have that.2 What would the shareholders think?
And then there’s the utterly immoral business of separating undocumented immigrants from their children. It’s increasingly clear that the Trump Administration made no meaningful, consistent effort to track where parents and kidnapped children were placed so that they might some day be re-united. But there’s no hurry. All those private adoption and foster home agencies are making of lots of money holding the kids. The Trump Administration wouldn’t want to interfere with that. Why one of those agencies, Bethany Christian Services, is housing 81 of those kidnapped kids, and charging the U.S. $700.00 per day per kid. Trump’s own Secretary of Education, Betsy DeVos, has family ties to Bethany.
Now this is admittedly an incomplete list of the ways the Trump Administration has hurt kids. The grotesque and increasing damage to the Affordable Care Act and half a dozen other measures will, too. But what these four have in common is that they are motivated in whole or in large part by greed, by profit and the decision to put profit ahead of kids’ safety and well-being. And that’s disgusting.
- The U.S. effort was unsuccessful. The Russians pushed the resolution through. So the U.S. looks bad, Russians look good, and an Obama-supported initiative gets trashed. How does this make America great? ↩
- These arguments rank with the ones that Big Tobacco used to make about regulation and disclosure of tobacco hazards: it might hurt profits, it might hurt jobs. Despicable. ↩