CAP Action Memo: Trump’s Reckless Pandemic Response Puts Iowa Health, Jobs, and Social Security at Risk
Iowa unemployment when Trump took office: 3.4 percent
Iowa unemployment now: 6 percent
Washington, D.C. — Today, President Donald Trump will arrive near Des Moines, Iowa, to hold a rally in an airplane hanger at Des Moines International Airport. His event will be the fourth of seven scheduled in-person rallies following the revelation of his COVID-19 diagnosis on October 2. Rather than quarantine for the two-week period recommended by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Trump instead has continued to minimize the pandemic and put Americans at risk by holding four in-person rallies this week—after hosting an in-person event this past weekend. After risking the health of Secret Service members to take a joyride outside Walter Reed medical center, he told the country not to let the virus “dominate your lives” despite the more than 214,000 lives lost due to his failed pandemic response and lying to the American people about the true danger of the virus since February. Now, Trump falsely claims to be immune to the virus despite failing to disclose when he last tested negative or other basic health details.
With Iowa passing more than 100,000 confirmed coronavirus cases and 1,400 dead, Trump’s recklessness and lies put Iowa at risk. In the first 2020 presidential debate, Trump claimed that there has been “no negative effect” from his rallies. However, at least two have been linked to surges in cases: His rally in Tulsa was tied to a record increase in COVID-19 cases in Oklahoma as well as the death of Herman Cain, while his rally in Bemidji, Minnesota, has been linked to 16 people infected with COVID-19, two of whom have been hospitalized.
As a result of Trump’s failure to control the virus, the unemployment rate in Iowa was still at 6 percent in August, compared with 3.4 percent when the Trump presidency began. In the absence of federal leadership or any national testing plan, the virus continues to spread, and uncertainty has created wildly unstable economic conditions in the state. Amid this economic instability, Trump cut federal unemployment insurance by $300, leaving Iowa single-parent families with one child on a modest budget facing a shortfall of $1,587 per month, according to a recent Center for American Progress analysis. As of October 8, more than 58,419 Iowans are still receiving some type of unemployment benefits. In total, 76,500 fewer Iowans were employed in August compared with February—a 4.9 percent decline.
Instead of leading the country out of the pandemic, Trump has continued his longtime assault on Social Security by calling for the termination of a large portion of its dedicated funding source—payroll taxes. Trump’s proposal, according to Social Security Chief Actuary Stephen Goss, would wipe out the Social Security trust funds by 2023. More than 657,019 Iowa residents, or 20.8 percent of the state’s population, are Social Security beneficiaries. Meanwhile, Trump has continued his longtime assault on the Affordable Care Act (ACA). After revealing a panicked health care executive order that does nothing to protect preexisting conditions, Trump maintained his commitment to striking down the ACA in court. If the Trump-backed lawsuit to repeal the ACA succeeds, 187,000 state residents could lose health coverage and 1.3 million Iowans with preexisting conditions could face higher premiums or be barred from coverage during the pandemic.
Learn more about how the Trump administration’s policies have hurt and put Iowa families at risk below.
Claim: “Those with pre-existing conditions will always get the quality coverage they need.” – Donald Trump, September 24, 2016
Reality: The Trump administration is trying to repeal the ACA through the courts with no replacement. If successful, the Trump administration will strip coverage from millions of Americans, raise premiums, and end protections for people with preexisting conditions. In Iowa:
- 1.3 million residents with preexisting conditions would lose protections if the Trump-backed lawsuit to repeal the ACA succeeds.
- 227,000 residents could lose coverage if the ACA is repealed.
Profits and wages
Claim: “I will be the greatest jobs President that God ever created. … [O]ur poorer citizens will get new jobs and higher pay and new hope for their life.” – Donald Trump, October 5, 2016
Reality: President Trump promised voters that he would prioritize the interests of the middle class. Instead, he’s prioritized the wealthiest Americans and corporations.
- President Trump has the worst jobs record in history and is the only president to have lost net jobs on his watch.
- Trump blocked a federal minimum wage increase for Iowa workers. 538,000 state workers were denied a pay increase, resulting in $1.6 billion in lost wages.
Claim: “No one will gain more from these proposals than low- and middle-income Americans.” – Donald Trump, August 8, 2016
Reality: 83 percent of the Trump administration’s $2 trillion tax cut goes to big corporations and the rich. Many Iowa families are getting stuck with the bill.
- 68,890 Iowa families paid more in taxes last year due to the Trump administration’s tax bill.
- For the 2019 tax year, the average tax cut for the wealthiest 1 percent of Iowa earners was $35,090. The average tax cut for the middle 20 percent was $710.
Claim: “We’re going to negotiate trade deals to help our farms, help them export their goods and make money doing it.” – Donald Trump in Des Moines, September 13, 2016
Reality: Trump’s erratic trade policies have pushed farm debt to record levels this year, with the Farm Bureau projecting it to increase to $434 billion.
- Iowa farm bankruptcies doubled from 2018 to 2019 after Trump’s trade policies went into effect.
- 14 million acres of Iowa farmland were destroyed by the August derecho, and 100,000 acres of farmland were underwater after last year’s flooding. More frequent extreme weather events, from derechos to floods, are devastating farms in Iowa as the president refuses to take meaningful action to address climate change.
For more information on this topic or to speak with an expert, please contact Zahir Rasheed at firstname.lastname@example.org.