Staff file photo by Erin O. Smith / A Volkswagen employee wipes down the sides of cars as they pass her on the assembly line at the Volkswagen Assembly Plant in 2017.

Poll finds Americans see doom

If you're worried about the future of America and your future in it, you're not alone.

A Pew Research Center study published Thursday is full of sobering poll results that underscore the level of unease in our country and help explain why every two years brings another change election.

The comprehensive poll paints a grim picture of Americans who worry about what our country will be like in 2050. They see a country declining in stature on the world stage, a widening wealth gap, growing political polarization. They also fear health care will be less affordable, public education will be lower in quality and retiring will be harder. And that's just for starters.

* Seven in 10 are dissatisfied with the way things are going in the country right now.

* 62 percent expect the lower class will increase as a relative share of the U.S. population.

* 37 percent of currently employed Americans see automation as a direct threat to their current occupation.

* 42 percent expect to receive no Social Security benefits when they retire, and another 42 percent anticipate reduced benefits.

* 73 percent expect the gap between the rich and the poor will grow.

* 54 percent say the U.S. economy as a whole will be weaker, and 63 percent worry the national debt will continue to grow.

* Six in 10 think the environmental condition of the planet will worsen, and two in three predict a major worldwide energy crisis will hamper our economy.

It seems people see through Trump's claims of "a great economy."


Trump's misguided budget

The Union of Concerned Scientists is helping shed light on Donald Trump's proposed budget for 2020, which the president calls a "Budget for a Better America."

The UCS asks: Better for whom?

The budget calls for dramatic increases in new defense spending — $750 billion — along with $8.6 billion for the president's vanity wall along the border with Mexico.

His proposed cuts are even worse, slashing programs that provide health care, food and housing assistance, as well as critical science agencies and programs throughout the government.

One critical science program, the Department of Energy's Advanced Research Projects Agency-Energy, our nation's flagship research and development program for innovative clean energy technologies, is eliminated completely.

Never mind that since 2009, 136 projects in the Advanced Research Projects Agency have attracted more than $2.6 billion in private sector follow-on funding. This translates to jobs

"President Trump may call his proposal a "Budget for Better America" but his insistence on slashing science-based programs and clean energy game-changers demonstrates anything but," said the UCS in a statement.


Trump can't bury McCain grudge

What more proof do Americans — especially Republicans — need other than Donald Trump's recent comments about the late Sen. John McCain to know that our president is too out of touch with common sense to walk and chew gum at the same time?

The president spent quite a lot of time last week at a Trump vanity rally in Lima, Ohio, disparaging McCain, a Vietnam war hero who died of brain cancer seven months ago. What's more, the president relived his dislike for the former Navy pilot who spent more than five years as a prisoner of war in front of the workers at the Lima Army Tank Plant.

McCain's plane was shot down during a mission, and he declined offers of preferential release as long as other POWs were held. The Lima workers and residents tend to favor veterans and the military. And Trump is a man who never served a day military service.

Sen. Johnny Isakson, R-Ga., joined the handful of Republican lawmakers who spoke out about the Trump's outrageous comments and behavior. The nation and McCain's family "deserves better," Isakson said, calling Trump's remarks "deplorable."

"I don't care if he's the president of the United States, owns all the real estate in New York or is building the greatest immigration system in the world," Isakson said.


Car cost worries and the GOP

Maybe the straw to break the Republicans' support will be President Trump's threatened auto imports tariffs, which are expected to dramatically raise the price of cars for Americans.

Trump told Fox News on Friday that he doesn't see car imports as a national security threat, even though he has threatened using national security justifications to slap tariffs on foreign automobiles and auto parts.

What's more, the Trump administration continues to keep secret the report he received last month from the Commerce Department about using the Cold War-era national security risk provision to impose those threatened auto import tariffs.

Even GOP members of Congress have pushed back this time, but Trump has until the middle of May to decide.