Monday, April 24, 2017

You Think Trump And The GOP Have No Accomplishments So Far? You Are Wrong


Do you respect the 62,984,825 voters (46.1%) who were ultimately responsible-- no matter Putin's and Comey's interference or Clinton's unsuitability-- for putting Trump into the White House? Earlier this morning we looked at how proud they still are for having backed Trump; no buyers' remorse there. But there should be-- lots and lots of it... at there there should be if the support for Trump was rational and based on something beyond racism, xenophobia, anger and blind hatred. 62,984,825 of them. Jesus! The Economic Policy Institute makes the clear case that the Trump Regime in its first 100 days has been working to shift power away from working people and towards corporations and the 1%, more a traditional Republican agenda than a Bannon-like nationalist agenda. If the Regime has been accomplishing anything at all for the Trump voters to think about-- if they were capable of actual thought-- it would be how the Trumpists have undercut wages and embarked on the destruction of protections for working people and consumers. Below are Trump's and the GOP's 10 ten achievements; how many of the 62,984,825 voters wanted this agenda?
1- Protecting Wall Street profits that siphon billions of dollars from retirement savers. At President Trump’s behest, the Department of Labor has delayed a rule requiring that financial professionals recommend retirement investment products that serve their clients’ best interests. The “fiduciary rule” aims to stop the losses savers incur when steered into products that earn advisers commissions and fees. The rule was supposed to go into effect April 10. For every seven days that the rule is delayed, retirement savers lose $431 million over the next 30 years. The 60-day delay will cost workers saving for retirement $3.7 billion over 30 years.

2- Letting employers hide fatal injuries that happen on their watch. The Senate approved a resolution making it harder to hold employers accountable when they subject workers to dangerous conditions. The March 22 resolution blocks a rule requiring that employers keep accurate logs of workplace injuries and illnesses for five years. This time frame captures not just individual injuries but track records of unsafe conditions. President Trump said he would sign the resolution. If he does, employers can fail to maintain-- or falsify-- their injury and illness logs, making them less likely to suffer the consequences when workers are injured or killed. Blocking this rule also means that employers, OSHA, and workers cannot use what they learn from past mistakes to prevent future tragedies. If the rule is overturned, more workers will be injured, and responsible employers will be penalized.

3- Allowing potentially billions of taxpayer dollars to go to private contractors who violate health and safety protections or fail to pay workers. The federal government pays contractors hundreds of billions of dollars every year to do everything from manufacturing military aircraft to serving food in our national parks. The Fair Pay and Safe Workplaces rule required that companies vying for these lucrative contracts disclose previous workplace violations, and that those violations be considered when awarding federal contracts. The rule was needed, as major federal contractors were found to be regularly engaging in illegal practices that harm workers financially and endanger their health and safety. On March 27, President Trump killed this rule by signing a congressional resolution blocking it. This will hurt workers and contractors who play by the rules, while benefitting only those contractors with records of cutting corners.

4- Undermining important regulations that protect workers and consumers. On January 30, President Trump issued an executive order mandating that for every new regulation issued, at least two prior regulations be identified for elimination. This “2-for-1” executive order requires federal agencies to assess whether a regulation is worthwhile based solely on costs-- regardless of the benefits of the regulation. For example, an EPA regulation issued in 2015 that prevents dumping toxic pollutants into streams and wetlands could certainly represent a higher cost to companies that will need to take additional steps to properly dispose of their waste. But the obvious benefits-- keeping toxic waste out of our major water resources-- far outweighs the costs to businesses. (The Trump administration has already ordered the EPA to rescind or revise this rule.) This emphasis on costs threatens regulations that protect workers, consumers, and the environment.

5- Allowing employers to penalize employees who don’t want to reveal their private medical information. In March, the Republican chairwoman of the House Committee on Education and the Workforce introduced a bill that would allow employers to penalize employees who opt not to share private genetic or medical information with their bosses. North Carolina Rep. Virginia Foxx’s pleasantly named Preserving Employee Wellness Programs Act (H.R. 1313) claims to promote innovative employee wellness programs and a healthy workforce. But it actually takes aim at the Equal Opportunity Commission’s efforts to ensure that “employers can only obtain or request protected genetic and medical information when the employee voluntarily provides it.” The bill would allow penalties of up to thousands of dollars a year for employees who choose not to share this information through employee wellness programs, clearly coercing them into divulging. Nearly 70 consumer, health, and medical advocacy organizations signed a recent letter opposing this invasive bill.

6- Gutting the strength of labor organizing by forcing unions to represent and protect non-dues-paying workers. In February, Reps. Joe Wilson (R-S.C.) and Steve King (R-Iowa) introduced a bill to bar unions from requiring the workers they represent to pay the equivalent of union dues. The bill would establish a federal “right-to-work” law, which is a deceptive name for legislation that forces unions to drain their resources representing non-dues-paying workers. The law would not make life better for hard-working Americans. “Right to work” laws are already on the books in 27 states and the results are clear: lower wages and less bargaining power for working people. Wages are 3.1 percent lower in so-called “right-to-work” states, for union and nonunion workers alike, even after accounting for differences in cost of living, demographics, and workforce characteristics. Rather than further degrading the power of working-class Americans to bargain for decent wages and benefits, Congress and the president should be addressing wage stagnation and inequality.

7- Cutting pay for construction workers on federally funded infrastructure projects. On January 30, Rep. Steve King (R-Iowa) and Sen. Mike Lee (R-Utah) introduced the Davis-Bacon Repeal Act. The Davis-Bacon act requires that construction workers engaged in federally funded construction projects be paid no less than the local prevailing wage. Careful research has shown that the act protects both the living standards of construction workers and the competitiveness of local construction firms bidding against transient contractors who might win federal contracts by using less-skilled workers. Repealing Davis-Bacon would save taxpayers money purely by taking a chunk of construction workers’ wages. It would not actually make projects to build roads and schools and other public goods more efficient.

8- Putting the brakes on overtime pay for the middle class. The administration has made no move to support a 2016 rule that would extend overtime pay protections to millions of workers. Under the Fair Labor Standards Act, most salaried workers making less than a given annual salary are automatically entitled to overtime pay if they work more than 40 hours per week. The threshold aims to protect low- and moderate-earning salaried workers from being required to work excessive hours without compensation. Over the years, the threshold has been eroded by inflation, and the current threshold of $23,660 is below the poverty line for a family of four. In 2016, the Department of Labor raised the threshold to $47,476. While this rule is on hold under a court order, the administration has made its priorities clear. President Trump’s first nominee for Secretary of Labor, Andrew Puzder, opposed the rule. And after Puzder withdrew from consideration for the post, in his confirmation hearing the new nominee, Alexander Acosta, declined to assert support for the rule or even the department’s authority to raise the threshold. Raising the overtime salary threshold would directly benefit a broad range of working people, including 4.2 million parents and 7.3 million children.

9- Slashing the budget for the Department of Labor, hindering its ability to enforce wage theft and worker safety laws or provide job training programs. The “skinny budget” released by the White House on March 16 includes a 21 percent cut to the Department of Labor’s budget. Indifference or worse about the plight of U.S. workers is the message sent by cutting a fifth of the budget of the key agency that protects workers from being killed or injured on the job, safeguards workers’ pay and benefits, and provides displaced workers with job training and unemployment benefits.

10- Declining to raise the minimum wage and lift pay for low-wage workers. As of January 1, 29 states and the District of Columbia have a minimum wage that is higher than the federal minimum wage. In 2017 alone, minimum wage increases in 19 states will provide over $4.2 billion in additional wages to nearly 4.3 million affected workers in 2017 and will make a real, although modest, difference in the lives of workers and their families. But the federal minimum wage of $7.25 has not been raised since 2009 and is worth 25 percent less than its peak value in 1968. This decline in purchasing power means low-wage workers have to work longer hours just to achieve the standard of living that was considered the bare minimum almost half a century ago. On the campaign trail, President Trump spoke favorably of raising the federal minimum wage. It’s time to see bold action on this sentiment that could lift pay for the bottom quarter or more of the workforce.


At 3:47 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

These are GOP money shots we all should have seen coming. A lot of the EOs they repealed were only signed by obamanation in his last quarter. Up until then he was too terrified of upsetting donors and any undecided fascist R voters.

Should note that $hillbillary would have been no friend to labor nor the middle either. But her servicing of the money might have been expected to be more subtle... maybe an under-cover handy instead of the public fellatio by the Rs.

At 4:40 PM, Anonymous Hone said...

The Republicans, with the help of many Democrats, i.e., Blue Dogs and New Dems, have been whittling away this stuff for many years. The people do the voting but our representatives are representing the people less and less. Complacency and stupidity have set in.

Gaius exposed the possibility that eventually this discrepancy may be so huge that the "legal" government may not represent the people at all. We seem to be getting closer to this catastrophe. Trump voters, over 60 million of them, have no freaking clue. Deplorables have become the enemy of democracy. They do not grasp that the ruination will be disastrous for them, as well as the rest of us.

At 2:58 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

The election was lost when HRC used the term "deplorables." In so doing, she irreversibly alienated the very Herr Hair supporters*** she needed to flip and whom Sanders would have respectfully (at least, non-insultingly) addressed as persons with legitimate grievances against established government and, thus, easily won their votes ... and the election.

Succumbing to the political party tribalism is the primary, and extremely effective, way to self- NEUTRALIZE (as is intended, duh!) the true irrepressible populism that will provide the only way to dismantle the corporate state.

John Puma
*** and probably also a couple million “Democrats” who would otherwise voted for her.

At 7:23 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

One simile I created that I particularly liked in contrasting the GOP and the Est. Dems(please forgive the crudeness)to explain the difference between GOP and the Est. Dems was that the GOP will bash you on the head and take you behind the alley and gangr**e you, while the est. Dems will slip a r**fie in your drink escort you upstairs and then gangr**e you. Again please forgive the crudeness, it was very difficult to properly express the depths of utter contempt and betrayal for and of the general populace that exists within our upper echelons of power.

At 11:14 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

It's rapidly coming to the Rs will kill you, steal your wallet and gang-rape your corpse while the democraps will still roofie you, take your wallet and gang-rape you. If you wake up early, they'll tell you how much you enjoyed it.

And we still believe them.


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