An Imaginary Thank-You Note to President Trump

Hi, Mr. Trump -

This letter won’t win me a seat at the popular Facebook table of kindness and compassion and tolerance (funny, right?), but I take that as a compliment. I should say that the title won’t win me a seat, because the kids won’t read the letter anyway. The title is all they need for the hatred.

Anyway, sir, I admit that I didn’t vote for you. I didn’t vote at all. I will never vote for a Clinton, and I just wasn’t sure enough about you to go to the poll. I think all presidents over hundreds of years have done and said both bad and good things. People act like these are new and desperate times, but really, nothing is new, except that now it seems to be super cool to be unkind and intolerant online. The unkind and intolerant don’t see it that way, of course. They see anybody standing up for the shrinking middle class or above as an evil enemy that must be destroyed - physically, mentally, emotionally, you name it - while we pay their bills. I’ve always thought that the primary way you could show kindness and compassion was to show respect and civility, but people don’t seem to want to understand or admit that. I’m also convinced that all the nastiness on social media could be curbed if people were working and otherwise occupied. I think this would give them the opportunity to see what it’s like to be middle class in 2018. As you know, it’s no picnic.

I’m on the fence about a lot of issues, but I have landed on the side of the fiscal conservatives since I was young. My father always said that if folks were working, things were better, so in spite of all the tax credit woes these days, we need businesses to stay in business. Well, those of us who work do. Which leads me to the crux of this tiny letter of gratitude.

I have worked just about every weekday, and some weekends, since 1983. I have paid my taxes (including a few cases of penalties and interest) to my government to help those who cannot help themselves and to make our American lives more comfortable. The only forms of assistance I have ever received are three short stints with unemployment while I looked for work. Since 2002, I have worked as a contractor. I paid cash for some things due to a higher contracted salary for which I am grateful, and I made payments on others. This single mother qualified for no assistance for her son’s college education, and, again, paid for that in cash when possible and in payments when it wasn’t. Working as a contractor also means that I have paid for my own health insurance (until last year when I started working as an employee at a job I just left to return to contracting).

All was fine until this week when I went online to purchase a new medical insurance policy and discovered that the insurance I knew is no more. Now policies are either “medical packages” or “major medical plans”. The Affordable Care Act Marketplace also offers major medical plans that anyone can purchase, as you know. If you’re middle class, you are so lucky, so you get to pay full retail price. Since 2014, there’s a tax penalty for anyone who doesn’t have the full retail price version of insurance. Not just one of the more affordable “medical packages”, but full major medical plans. I doubt President Obama saw the effects coming, or maybe he just knew he could pass the problems onto the next guy (like all presidents do, I get it, when I left my job, I left some work for the next gal), but while the ACA is wonderful for some, it is an impossibility for those of us with middle-class incomes. The real winners here are the poor, forlorn, down-on-their-luck insurance companies who said, “You’re allowing people to pay to be uninsured? We’ll see this loss, and raise our prices four-fold.”

So, what I learned was that for me to be insured in this country in 2018, I would now have to pay for a major medical plan costing ~$700 a month. Me. One person. Not a family. Just me.

I worked through Clinton’s NAFTA, but I think this ACA Tax Penalty repercussion is the biggest fuck you to middle-class working people of my lifetime, thus far. Companies are going to do what they’re going to do, always have and always will, but the middle-class’s collective voice is shrinking. We’ve kept and continue to keep this country afloat and now add this to our load?

Then, a friend gave me the news that this tax penalty goes away in 2019. (I’m late, I know, I’m sorry, I’ve been working.) You repealed it. Now, I can purchase one of the more affordable “medical packages” and avoid the penalty!! You are responsible for the skip in my step today thinking about this example of common sense and sanity.

So, sir, I thank you.

And, might I add that while I do sometimes think you are a little loopy, I say what president hasn’t been? I admire your “damn the torpedoes” approach to life, and I’m sorry for all the nastiness your family has to deal with every day from the social media and news outlet (remember those? when news was actually news? ah, good times) lunchroom tables of tolerance and kindness and compassion.

I appreciate you today. Again, thank you, sir. Carry on.


Karen Rutherford