Trump’s first few days in office have been eventful, but not in any way to help real Americans. When it comes to jobs, he’s still just talk. Facing the recent tornado devastation, he’s been even less.
There’s certainly been a lot to read about the last few days. On Monday, Trump held a series of meetings with business leaders and CEOs, the leaders of the big three automakers, and members and leaders of many American unions. He asked the CEOs and business leaders to come up with ideas on policies that would help them grow and hire more workers, even though all through the campaign he claimed that his experience as just such a business leader meant that he already knew what policies would help them grow and hire more workers. He told the big three automakers that he wanted them to build more factories in the States and said he would impose a 35% tariff on all goods imported from overseas, although it was unclear how the goods his own companies make overseas would be exempted. He asked the union leaders for their ideas, although if he wanted to know what unions want for workers, he could just ask his nominee for Secretary of Labor, Andy Puzder, CEO of a fast-food chain, exactly what he’s been fighting against his whole life, because in every case, whether it be higher wages, overtime, paid time off, health insurance benefits or worker protections, the unions have been for it, while Puzder, Trump and the rest of the GOP has been against it.
In each of those meetings, he reiterated promises he made during the campaign to bring jobs back to America, but put off taking any actions on those promises until an unspecified later date. However, since he was sworn in, he’s still managed to find time to get a couple of things done.
No time for jobs, but he did find time to sign an executive order reinstating the Mexico City rule, which rescinds financial aid for medical organizations that provide health care to poor women in developing countries if they even mention the existence of abortions, a move that according to some charity organizations will lead to over 20,000 maternal deaths, and ironically, millions of abortions.
No time for jobs, but he did find time to sign an executive order against the enforcement of Affordable Care Act regulations, and while it’s not clear what this order will achieve, it’s a move that will continue the process of dismantling ObamaCare, reducing taxes for people who make over $200,000 while making the rank and file American’s health care less comprehensive and more expensive.
No time for jobs, but he did find time to order multiple federal agencies to stop communicating with the public, including bans on social media posts, news releases, market research releases, fact sheets, external correspondence, a move the EPA said had a “chilling” effect on its staff.
No time for jobs, but he did find time to send a few people over to Voice of America, our international news agency long devoted to spreading US democratic ideals throughout the globe. Voice of America HAD been run independently by a board of directors, but due to a change made by Congress two weeks ago, will now see its board eliminated and control given to one man, appointed by Trump. Given Trump’s admiration for Russian dictator Vladimir Putin, it’s only a matter of time until he turns VOA into the new RT, the Russian propaganda station which is suddenly gaining traction with right wing US readers too.
No time for jobs, but he did find time to declare a federal “hiring freeze,” claiming there’s been an explosion of growth in the federal workforce. This is a lie, the federal workforce as a percentage of total workforce has shrunk steadily since WWII, a trend that continued under President Obama. Shortly before the hiring freeze, the GOP House passed a rule allowing them to cut federal worker’s individual pay to as little as $1 if they so choose. No word how this “hiring freeze” will affect the 3,000 WH administration positions that Trump has to fill, but it has appeared until now that if he wants to break his own rules, nobody will stop him. Truthfully there’s enough exceptions in the order that anyone Trump wants to can break it. But it’s a nice talking point, and all this keeps the agencies unsure of their future staffing and ability to run their programs, and feeling like they can’t anger the President lest they not get to hire the people they need, or find their staff with their pay severely reduced.
No time for jobs, but he did find time yet again to talk about how he is so much more popular than people say he is, really he is, he says! In fact, he says, he’s so popular he didn’t even lose the popular vote, just that some 3-5 million undocumented immigrants voted illegally. The claim was backed by his press secretary, which made it official White House policy in the eyes of observers. (Interesting how that works now. I guess otherwise it would just be the unsubstantiated ramblings and ravings of The President.) This is obviously absurd, the type of thing I wrote about the other day, more myth-making for his loyal following. After all, this would be the most massive case of voter fraud in US history by a long shot and would have to be investigated, yet no hint of an intention to do so has been given. Also, it seems likely that if Dems had wanted to commit voter fraud, they would have done so in a swing state that may have helped to win the election. Finally, 3-5 million people is a lot of people. If they all went out to vote illegally we probably would have noticed. After all, somewhere between 3-5 million people marched on Saturday, and I’m sure a lot of you noticed that.
There were a few actions taken that the Trump administration says were taken to create jobs, but in both cases, it’s under debate that US workers will be helped in any way.
There were executive orders signed to allow the Dakota Access Pipeline and the Keystone XL pipelines to go forward. Advocates of these projects say they will create jobs in the US and move us toward energy independence, but most of these jobs are temporary construction jobs. After they’re built, both pipelines will only create about 75 permanent jobs for maintenance and operation (that’s 35 for Keystone and 40 for DAPL), and they’re not expected to spur domestic oil production enough to measurably offset our dependence on other sources. Keystone won’t even carry American oil. Trump has said publicly that he wants these built with American steel, which would make them different from several buildings that Trump has built with Chinese steel or Mafia concrete. However, somehow, he forgot to include that detail in the executive orders. Also missing from the order was any concern for the indigenous people occupying the tribal land that DAPL wants to bulldoze, many of whom have been assaulted by law enforcement and corporate interests during their stand, or for the environmental concerns thrown into sharp relief by the spill of over 50,000 gallons of oil from a Canadian pipeline into Aboriginal lands just a few days ago.
There was an executive order signed scrapping the Trans-Pacific partnership, a trade deal that was criticized by all of the candidates. Trump is a vocal critic of multilateral trade deals and has vowed to scrap all of them. While it’s true that some of these deals have reduced some types of low-wage positions in the US, they’ve been to some degree beneficial to American workers as well, by raising average wages and making goods cheaper and easier to afford, leaving more money in a worker’s pocket to save, or as more likely the case, spend somewhere else, further benefiting the economy as a whole. Where we’ve failed – and this has been a failure of both parties, but especially the GOP, which refuses to spend on programs that benefit low-income and unemployed people – is in providing the people who have lost their low wage, low skilled manufacturing job with a new and better opportunity. Simply scrapping a trade deal doesn’t fix that problem, and while it may preserve some existing low-wage jobs in garment manufacturing and similar industries, for now, in the long run these isolationist trade policies will only hurt America’s ability to grow as an economy and her ability to remain a leader in the global marketplace. They will cost us international standing. Some say they are the kinds of policies that led us to the Great Depression, mass worldwide unemployment, the rise of fascism, and World War II, and that even if they don’t do that again, they will leave the whole world poorer. It’s unclear if that world includes Trump right now. He claimed to have sold his stock in the company building DAPL a few months back, but, somehow, no one has seen the financial disclosure forms that would prove that is true.
In addition to ignoring jobs, Trump is determined to ignore natural disasters too. The rash of tornadoes across the South has left 20 people dead and hundreds of homes destroyed. Devastated state and local officials have been begging the Trump administration for help. Silence.
Finally, since that wraps it up for jobs, he managed to get a couple of the Swamp Things confirmed. Mike Pompeo will be head of the CIA, he’s long advocated for increased and comprehensive domestic surveillance including social media and personal communication, so watch the naked selfies. Nikki Haley will be UN Ambassador, she has no qualifications for that job, but Trump doesn’t really want us in the United Nations, so incompetence would be a plus. Rex Tillerson was approved by committee for Secretary of State, paving the way for his full confirmation by the Senate. Rex used to run Exxon Mobil, and was given the Russian Order of Friendship by Vladimir Putin, and it’s said the two are close. Tillerson lobbied against sanctions against Russia while he ran Exxon Mobil, and lied about it at his confirmation hearings. No wonder he did, though. Exxon lost over $1billion because of those sanctions and stands to make hundreds of millions if they are lifted. Tillerson, who lobbied against the sanctions in the first place, told the Senators in his hearing that he now opposes lifting the sanctions, probably because that’s what they wanted to hear. Trump, naturally, has suggested lifting the sanctions. Gee. I wonder how they’ll decide.
Well, I think that’s everything! If you made it this far, thanks for reading. I have one more really depressing and scary thing to add. Word is that Trump will begin issuing orders tomorrow to ban refugees and Muslim immigrants from certain countries. The administration will need a scapegoat. Observers of authoritarian regimes expect the anti-Muslim and refugee rhetoric and hate to be amped up, and think it’s likely there will be some sort of violence or some sort of incident, something they can blame on the evil Radical Islamic Terrorists in order to get you excited and thrilled about losing more of our freedom, more of what makes our country just and good, not in the interest of really helping anyone. Not making our country better, or safer. Just Great.
Please Pay Attention. Thanks again.