ISSN 2330-717X

Robert Reich: Donald Trump Has Betrayed The Working Class – OpEd


Start with his new tax law–one of the very few laws he actually got through the Republican Congress. Trump said it would likely give every American worker a wage increase of $4,000, but the typical worker’s wages have gone nowhere, which is one reason Republicans have stopped campaigning on the tax law.

Now, Trump wants to use executive action to cut taxes on the rich by an additional $100 billion.

If that weren’t enough, Trump has cut the pay of average workers. His Labor Department repealed overtime protections, at an estimated cost to workers of $1.2 billion in lost wages each year.

Trump and the Republican Congress repealed a rule that required federal contractors with long histories of wage theft, safety violations, and employment discrimination to mend their ways in order to receive any new federal contracts. Now, they can continue to get federal contracts and still shaft their workers.

Trump has also considered cutting back child labor protections in hazardous jobs. His other regulatory rollbacks would expose working families to pollutants in drinking water and reverse decades of work to finally ban asbestos.

Trump’s pick for the Supreme Court, Brett Kavanaugh, has even argued that the government has no authority to protect the health and safety of workers in sports and entertainment, even though the government has long regulated safety in the entertainment industry.

Oh, and remember Trump’s promise to replace the Affordable Care Act with something better? Well, you can forget that one, too. Instead, Trump has done everything he can to undercut the Act, resulting in an anticipated near 20% increase in health insurance premiums, and the biggest burden falling on working families who earn too much to be eligible for subsidies.

As a result of Trump’s undermining of the Affordable Care Act, the number of Americans without health insurance rose by more than 3 million in 2017, after years of declines following the implementation of the Act.

Trump’s most recent budget proposal skewers working people with a proposed $763 billion cut in Medicaid and other health programs, $494 billion of cuts in Medicare, and major cuts in education and nutrition over the next 10 years.

Trump has betrayed the working class – but he still claims he’s on their side. That’s one of his biggest lies of all.

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Robert Reich

Robert B. Reich is Chancellor's Professor of Public Policy at the University of California at Berkeley and Senior Fellow at the Blum Center for Developing Economies. He served as Secretary of Labor in the Clinton administration, for which Time Magazine named him one of the ten most effective cabinet secretaries of the twentieth century. He has written fifteen books, including the best sellers "Aftershock", "The Work of Nations," and"Beyond Outrage," and, his most recent, "The Common Good," which is available in bookstores now. He is also a founding editor of the American Prospect magazine, chairman of Common Cause, a member of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, and co-creator of the award-winning documentary, "Inequality For All." He's co-creator of the Netflix original documentary "Saving Capitalism," which is streaming now.

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