While we were blinded by the reality TV-style of showmanship exhibited by President Donald Trump, his minions were busy. Behind the scenes, they have been destroying everything they could touch.
The entirety of the list is too vast for this article, but we’ll touch on some of the most egregious. POLITICO did a fantastic job chronicling 138 changes that will be affecting American citizens post-Trump.
If you’re working in an industry that has habitually mislabeled employees as independent contractors, you lose. The Obama administration filed clarifications on the interpretation of the Fair Labor Standards Act. They specifically addressed and enforced the classification of “Independent Contractor.”
Employers used this as a loophole to misidentify employees as independent contractors. The mislabeling allowed employers to avoid paying payroll taxes, offering health insurance, and other benefits. Under Trump, Labor Secretary Alexander Acosta withdrew the guidance document. This sends a clear message to employers that the guidance specified under former President Barack Obama will not be enforced.
No one in the field of education rejoiced when Trump selected Betsy DeVos to the position of Education Secretary. People in Michigan fought against DeVos for years to keep her from privatizing public education. Amid protests, the Senate approved her to serve. Her initial visits to public schools were met with very strong protests. Trump had to authorize a security force to travel with her, even though protesters were not physically threatening.
Primary among the devastation wrought by DeVos is the failure to enact the “defense to repayment” policy announced by Obama in October 2016. The policy would have allowed defrauded student loan borrowers to have their federal student loans canceled.
This would have affected schools like Trump University and the University of Phoenix and other for-profit schools. Such “schools” charged outrageous tuition and returned nothing of value to defrauded students. The rule would have taken effect on July 1, 2017.
DeVos announced she was delaying the implementation of the rule indefinitely. Although she has claimed that her department will re-write the rule, there is little hope that defrauded students will ever see relief from their debt. This is a huge win for for-profit colleges and a huge loss for students.
Another Obama-era rule that is under attack by DeVos is the “gainful employment” rule. The rule required that colleges and universities meet certain standards in order to qualify to receive federal student loan dollars. It will take DeVos a bit longer to abolish this one. The rule was finalized in 2014 and has already been in effect. Rescinding it will require taking steps through a full rulemaking process.
Nevada May Become A Nuclear Wasteland
There has been a decades-long debate going on about storing of spent nuclear fuel. Talk of placing a long-term storage facility inside Nevada’s Yucca Mountain has been reawakened. Energy Secretary Rick Perry intends to reinstate the Office of Civilian Radioactive Management.
Democrats fight the facility under the leadership of Harry Reid (D-Nev.). Little hope of fighting this remains. Trump’s budget included $120 million dedicated to beginning the licensing process for the Yucca facility. The Nuclear Regulatory Commission began taking steps to restart the process as early as May 2018. When faced with backlash over the decision, Perry backtracked somewhat, saying that:
“…No decision has been made at this time with respect to the timing or the location, for that matter, of waste storage.”
Perry’s reassurance means nothing. Real estate markets in Nevada are about to take a huge hit. The Office of Civilian Radioactive Management will reopen at some point in the fiscal year 2018. Let the fight begin!
The Damage Has Been Done
The complete list of deregulation and damage caused by Trump and his minions is vast. Every day that he spends continuing his war against the citizens of the United States will take years to fix. In 21 short days, it will have been one year. The current level of damage caused during that year will take 15 years or longer to repair.
Your vote is important. Please use it and urge others to make the effort.
This video from former Labor Secretary Robert Reich more accurately describes the past year:
Instead of running the country, Trump has spent the past year lobbing insults, throwing tantrums, and getting even. So who's really running the country? Leadership on the environment is now coming from California and other states. Leadership on civil rights is coming from the federal courts. And most of the rest of leadership in America is now coming from the grassroots. What do you think?
Posted by Robert Reich on Saturday, December 30, 2017
Featured image from YouTube video.