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Book Review: 'Crippled America'

Updated on January 25, 2018
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Tamara Wilhite is a technical writer, industrial engineer, mother of 2, and a published sci-fi and horror author.


“Crippled America” by Donald Trump is essentially an outline of Trump’s policy plans if he wins the 2016 Presidential race, as well as mixing in personal history and experience. What are the pros and cons of the book “Crippled America”?

Who would want to read this book by Donald Trump instead of his prior business books or other books on the Presidential candidate?

Points in Favor of Crippled America

This book gives the detailed policy plans that don’t fit in a ten second sound bite. For example, he describes how he favors shutting down federal control of education by tying funds to adoption of Common Core, diversity mandates and bureaucratic rules and restoring local control. He wants to repeal Obamacare and remove the barriers to insurance companies competing across state lines, so that competition reduces prices while improving service.

He is right to point out the personal attacks on him instead of the true issue stances that attract people to Trump, such as his hard line on illegal immigration and demand that countries like China give American firms equal access to their market if we let them have open access to ours. Trump is right when criticizing Secretary of State Kerry’s deal selling out to Iran with a deal that gives them billions in “aid”, permission to separate more nuclear material, provide its own samples for testing and schedule for inspections and call that a deal, when we didn’t even demand that they release four political prisoners like Saeed Abedini, a Persian American Christian pastor incarcerated since 2012.

He brings up the media’s focus on gotcha questions for cool sound bites instead of substance and policy views. This matter was demonstrated beyond a doubt in 2015 Republican debates where the first question asked was if Trump was a caricature of himself.

Trump’s book brought up the fact that there were probably Middle Easterners coming across the Mexican border. As if to prove him right, on 11/18/2015, eight Syrians were arrested at the Texas border near Laredo, and that was on top of five more arrested in Honduras with fake passports the same day. To top it off, these Syrians were arrested trying to cross the U.S. southern border days after the Paris attacks. In this regard, “Crippled America” was proven right within months.

Trump’s book “Crippled America” brings up the legal and historical basis of his views that reporters don’t bother to address, such as the fact that the birthright citizenship was intended to ensure the children of slaves would be recognized as citizens under the 14th Amendment and no one after that point and that even subsequent cases only extended citizenship to those in the country legally, never illegally. He also points out the immorality of granting amnesty and citizenship to those who come illegally or overstay a legal visa while neglecting to make things easier for those who wait years to come here legally and spend thousands of dollars on legal fees to stay while staying within the law.

Every other nation on the planet basis its immigration policy on what is best for its nation – including Mexico. It is then hypocritical for other nations to say the US can’t refuse illegal immigrants, whether criminals or simply unskilled labor that depresses the wages of those here legally as well as natives.

The book brings up the contradiction between government statistics as reported and real world results. For example, the unemployment rate is officially around five percent in 2015 but the workforce participation rate is ten points lower than it was prior to the 2007 recession, reflecting workforce participation rates of the 1970s. The only explanation for this is that many have dropped out of the workforce, given up looking for work, either relying on welfare or family if not working under the table. He also discusses the facts that belie the officially rosy picture while the nation has remained in zero to one percent growth from 2008 to 2015.

Trump addresses how he achieved his success, but doesn't always address how he used political and financial means to achieve it.
Trump addresses how he achieved his success, but doesn't always address how he used political and financial means to achieve it. | Source

Points Against Crippled America

Trump taps directly into the vein the fear that America is falling behind, and then hammers this throughout the book. Citing his lawsuits to fly large American flags reiterates this point, but becomes excessive.

His view is to operate from a view of strength, which requires a strong military. He suggests charging other nations for acting as the world’s policeman, such as defending Europe and the Middle East at our expense for their security. His controversial suggestion is taking part of the oil from Saudi Arabia and Iraq without even being paid on oil. And we spent two trillion defending Iraq, throwing out Saddam and trying to bring democracy there. We spent money to rescue Kuwait from Iraq’s invasion in the 1990s, and after spending billions to recover the country, we got nothing. We defend South Korea’s border but they don’t compensate us for it. We’ve defended Japan for years, without compensation. Furthermore, he says we shouldn’t be involved in a nation unless it is a direct threat to the nation and its interests, as well as a clear plan and permission to follow it to win and exit strategy. Either completely wipe out threats like ISIS or don’t go in at all. However, if we don’t plan on dedicating boots on the ground to wiping out threats abroad, the military build up he advocates is excessive.

He talks quite a bit about his opinions, his refusal to apologize for his opinions (though he shouldn’t be pushed to do so when liberals aren’t) and his anger and calling to help the nation recover. Reiterating his anger at various topics may reconnect him with some readers but it isn’t conveyed by the reader in the audio book version.

He points out the problems we have with government subsidies and biases toward industries and particular firms. It is crony capitalism at the expense of everyone else. He does not admit his own abuses of eminent domain.

Observations about Crippled America by Trump

Donald Trump did the introduction of the audio book himself but had someone else read the rest. In my opinion, it would have been better for him to do the entire audio book himself or intersperse it with more of his own voice.

Trump explains his previously contradictory support for single payer (government run) health care in the past and his repeal and replace of Obamacare with a private market insurance network today. He explains how he supported single payer health care for those who couldn’t afford it otherwise when it wasn’t nearly as complicated, bureaucratic or regulated.

He also explains how he had always been an unapologetic nationalist and conservative (financially) as the Democratic party moved left, which is how he could have been a Democrat years ago and a Republican party candidate in 2015.

The 2015 Trump book states that we should dramatically reduce regulation at all level, from the 1000 page bills that make it impossible to know what the rules are, much less how to follow them. The proposed dramatic slashing of regulation would reduce administrative costs and stop the departure of doctors tired of fighting red tape, as well as reduce medical expenditures due to administrative overhead and legal costs. However, he never advocated single payer government run health care for everyone, mandating government health care for everyone, only as a last resort. He describes it as “single payer may have been possible in the past when things were simpler, but not today”.


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