President Trump spent his first full workweek day in office doing what he does best – malarkey. He met with business leaders (which on the surface I applaud – more about that later). Then he signed some executive orders all of which were either meaningless or harmful (even though I agree with him on the substance of one – more about that later also). Let’s explore.
The photo-op portion of the meeting with business leaders was mainly a rhetoric session. (Do you have any idea how difficult has been to avoid non-PG rated words this far?). The tales coming out of the closed door part of the session is that it started off with a 10 minute monologue by Trump repeating debunked lies about ineligible voters. When will he realize that the American public doesn’t care about his extremely fragile ego? The idea of the President sitting down with business leaders is something I endorse; I’d just like to see an honest exchange that had a chance of being productive.
Later in the day Trump signed three executive orders. One of them is my main focus today. First allow me to briefly cover the other two. One prohibited foreign NGO’s that receive American financial aid from providing or even discussing abortion. This policy started under Ronald Reagan. Every subsequent Republican President has signed such an order and every subsequent Democrat has repealed it. It makes for nice window dressing but really doesn’t accomplish much except disadvantage a few poor women in foreign countries. Interestingly it was signed as Trump was surrounded by men. Is it just me or do you think perhaps women might be interested in that issue? Who handled that photo-op? I’m sure Kellyanne Conway and/or Cathy McMorris Roger would have posed for a picture if asked.
Another executive order pulled America out of the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP). The TPP was one of the few things I disagreed with President Obama on. Like many other progressives, I feared for the loss of American jobs and Obama simply never sold the deal to me. Here’s the thing: America is not involved in the TPP and never was going to be. Obama couldn’t get the needed Democratic support to get congressional approval and gave up any hope of getting it after November’s results. While Trump’s executive order played well only with the ignorant it was meaningless.
Here is the big one: the executive order placing a hiring freeze on federal government jobs. It has conditions and exception that need to be looked at! Chief of Staff Reince Priebus made a big deal of announcing that the hiring freeze did not include the military. When we think of the military we think of active service, in uniform personnel. This exception not only referred to them but any and all civilian positions working for the military. That is a sleight of hand but it is not the parts of the executive order that bother me.
First I have a problem with anything across the board. In order for the government to efficiently serve the people it needs employees to do the work. It is only the non-military civil service positions that are frozen. What it says is we are simply not going to hire worker bees. Perhaps I’m being cynical but I find it interesting that most civil serpents are represented by labor unions. I think that had a lot to do with it. For some historical background the number of federal government employees during the Obama administration actually plateaued. This is a fact as opposed to the alternate fact that is part of right wing mythology. For a little more history that number increased under Reagan.
Now here is the real rub: political appointees were not at all affected by the hiring freeze. Trump is free to appoint his cronies who will for the most part be unproductive (if not counterproductive) but hiring a clerk to actually do some work is forbidden.
Trump is trying to portray himself as a jobs President. Trump’s Senior Advisor Steve Bannon tries to hide his right wing extremist politics under the cloak of being a jobs guy. Yet this executive order stifled an opportunity for job growth and endangered the nation in the process.
This is in line with other Trump lies about saving or creating jobs. The number of jobs saved at the Carrier plant in Indianapolis has long been under dispute. Trump’s number is certainly erroneous. Many of those that were saved – at great expense to the taxpayers of Indiana – were only temporarily saved with the “ransom” being used to develop technology to replace those very workers.
Trump also likes to brag about the Ford jobs he saved in Michigan. The truth is that plant was never closing in the first place. He actually saved zero jobs in that case.
The bottom line is that Trump’s federal government isn’t hiring unless you happen to be a political crony and then you might get basically a do nothing job. We need jobs not malarkey Mr. President!
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