Latest posts by David McDonald (see all)
- A Global Convergence: My First Book - December 12, 2017
- The Real Reason Why Latin America And Africa Have Failed To Develop Adequately - November 5, 2017
- How Steve Jobs Laid The Framework For Apple - August 28, 2017
From cutting off immigration access into America from nine Middle Eastern nations, to further supporting a proposed ‘border wall’ along the US-Mexico border; Trump’s actions as President thus far should be a sign of what’s to come: capitalist exclusivity.
During his campaign, Trump made it clear that he was going to “get things done” as President, and he is staying true to many of his prior claims made during his candidacy. Let’s see how.
Friday, January 20th
Executive Order 13765: Minimizing the Economic Burden of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act Pending Repeal.
Before we get into any specifics, An Executive Order(EO) are legally binding orders given by the President, acting as the head of the Executive Branch, to Federal Administrative Agencies. Executive Orders are generally used to direct federal agencies and officials in their execution of congressionally established laws or policies.
Trump’s first executive order was as much a messaging document as a policy-making one, emphasizing Trump administration to seek the repeal of the health insurance law known as Obamacare. While the order was vague about what specific measures the administration will take — using the phrase “to the maximum extent permitted by law” three times — it suggests that federal agencies give states, insurance companies, and consumers the maximum amount of flexibility in complying with the law.
Obamacare has been scrutinized by many for bringing higher taxes, complicated enrollment, and issuing fines for citizens without health care insurance. Whether Trump’s proposed health care system will actually fix these faults is a topic for another day.
Monday, January 23
Presidential Memorandum: Withdrawal of the United States From the Trans-Pacific Partnership Negotiations and Agreement
The Trans-Pacific Partnership, or TPP, was a 12-member trade pact of countries along the Pacific Rim. Trump’s directive made it 11, formally withdrawing from the trade agreement. While the Obama-negotiated agreement was unlikely to be ratified by Congress anyway, the memorandum also set forth a Trump administration policy of negotiating future trade deals one by one, instead of regional, multi-national agreements.
However, the decision to withdraw from the TPP signifies Trump’s majority focus on growing American stability, rather than relying on trade agreements to boost economic activity. Trump wants to drastically improve US exports by bringing back manufacturing jobs, increasing import tariffs, and securing American jobs.
If he were to stay in the Trans-Pacific Partnership, and if this deal were to go through, it would be much easier for member nations such as Malaysia, Japan, China, Peru, Mexico, and Chile, to “steal” US manufacturing jobs because it is cheaper to manufacture goods overseas than it is to produce on home soil.
Personally, I think this is a great move by Trump; with growing economic contenders such as the BRICS nations, it is in America’s best interest to secure domestic jobs and focus on exports, which will in turn, lessen their $445 billion budget deficit.
Presidential Memorandum: Mexico City Policy
The Mexico City Policy, known to critics as the global gag rule, was a Reagan-Bush policy that restricted the use of foreign aid money to support family planning organizations that promote abortion. Trump’s memorandum reinstated that policy, which had been rescinded by Obama, but also vastly expanded it: The restriction now applies not just to the State Department and U.S. Agency for International Development, but now all federal funding. And the ban applies to all global health aid, not just family planning.
Presidential Memorandum: Hiring Freeze
Most recent presidents have instituted some kind of hiring freeze, often just long enough for the president’s new cabinet members to be confirmed so they can make their own hiring decisions. While Trump makes an exception for the military, it also forbids contracting to circumvent the ban. The order calls for a long-term plan to reduce the federal workforce within 90 days.
Tuesday, January 24
Presidential Memorandum: Construction of the Keystone XL Pipeline
The Obama administration scuttled the proposed 1,179-mile cross-border pipeline from Alberta to Nebraska, which Republicans had supported as a job-booster. Trump invited pipeline company, Transcanada, “to promptly resubmit its application,” and ordered the secretary of State to make a decision within 60 days, fast-tracking existing procedural requirements.
Environmentalists are outraged by this decision, but should not be surprised, considering Trump made it clear that he wanted to tap into the near “$50 trillion in un-tapped oil resources within North America” during his presidency. In terms of the Keystone XL Pipeline actually bringing jobs back to America, is this really the case?
Trump, himself, said the pipeline will create “28,000 jobs. Great construction jobs,” but if you have paid attention to any of his speeches or interviews, the man likes to pull numbers out of his you know what, because it makes him look smarter and more credible than what he really is.
According to official estimates, constructing the pipeline will generate far fewer construction jobs than that.
A State Department report on the pipeline that was issued under the Obama administration found that there would be 3,900 direct construction jobs if it was built over one year, or 1,950 if the work was spread over two years.
Once the pipeline opens it would require only 35 full-time permanent jobs to run it, and 15 full-time temporary jobs, according to the state department report, a far cry from 28,000. TransCanada, the company seeking to build the pipeline, does not dispute those numbers.
The company and other supporters argue that the pipeline would create jobs indirectly for companies that sell products and services used to build the pipeline. The State Department report estimates that there would be a total of 42,000 indirect jobs created, with a total of $2 billion in wages. That comes to an average of about about $47,000 in wages per job.
TransCanada also pointed out that there would be benefits beyond the jobs and wages, including “significant property tax revenues, as well as sales and use and other tax revenues, to counties and states along the proposed project route.”
Just like any large economic move such as a cross-country pipeline, there are pros and cons. Yes, there will be jobs created for a two-year span, and yes, there will be sufficient property tax revenue for those living nearby the pipeline, but this does not discourage the fact that pipelines do leak, and they will harm the environment.
Those in opposition to this will argue that oil pipelines are the most environmental way to transport oil – they are right – but pipelines are not perfect, they will leak, they will cause environmental damage, but they will also bring in a lot of revenue to the companies involved, which will in turn, lower domestic oil prices and help out the average US citizen.
Presidential Memorandum: Construction of the Dakota Access Pipeline
A separate order applied to the Dakota Access Pipeline, a 1,172-mile pipeline from North Dakota to Illinois. That project has been the subject of heated protests by American Indian groups and environmentalists. Because the pipeline crosses waterways, it needs approval from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, and Trump ordered the Army to “review and approve in an expedited manner” the permit.
Construction on the pipeline is about 85 percent complete and it has, indeed, put people to work. Yet it is not clear how many new jobs have been created since the jobs are spread out over 1,000 miles. Rural towns along the pipeline’s corridor have reported a boost in hotel and campground occupancy rates as the contractors move through. That, in turn, generates sales and lodging tax revenues for the local governments. The boost, however, won’t last. In a few months, when (and if) construction is complete, the workers and their spending money will depart. The finished pipeline will require just 40 permanent maintenance and operational jobs along its entire stretch.
Once oil is flowing, property tax revenues—an estimated total of $55 million annually—will kick in.
While it’s a big chunk of change, the impacts will be diffused, shared by four states. North Dakota and South Dakota are expected to receive about $13 million each, divided between several counties, a drop in the budget bucket. (Colorado generates nearly $20 million per month from taxes and fees on marijuana.) That said, it might be enough to buy the county sheriffs some more military gear from the Pentagon in order to squelch the next pipeline protest. It will not, however, cover the costs of such squelching: The current law enforcement effort has reportedly cost $15 million so far.
The fact is pipelines, like transmission lines, don’t have a major economic impact except when they’re built. They otherwise go mostly unnoticed until they spill, burst, or explode.
Presidential Memorandum: Construction of American Pipelines
Trump asked the secretary of Commerce to review ways to mandate the use of American-made steel in pipeline projects. for all new, expanded or retrofitted pipelines in the United States. The plan is due in six months.
Executive Order 13766: Expediting Environmental Reviews and Approvals for High Priority Infrastructure Projects
The order sets up a new system to fast-track infrastructure projects. Under the executive order, any governor or cabinet secretary can ask for a project to be designated as high-priority. If the chairman of the White House Council on Environmental Quality approves, the project will go to the front of the line for any agency required to review and approve the project.
Presidential Memorandum: Streamlining Permitting and Reducing Regulatory Burdens for Domestic Manufacturing
Under this order, the secretary of Commerce will launch a review of manufacturing regulations with the goal of streamlining those rules. The secretary will seek input on the issue over the next 60 days, with a report to Trump containing specific proposals 60 days after that.
Wednesday, January 25
Proclamation 9571: National School Choice Week, 2017
Trump proclaimed the week of Jan, 22 as National School Choice week. Though the proclamation was entirely ceremonial, Trump is the first president ever to proclaim this week, which is sponsored by a coalition of charter, magnet, private, online and home schools.
Trump’s focus on education should be noted by the media but obviously isn’t, as it is shadowed by his obsession with homeland security and terrorist threats. However, when that all calms down, I think people will thank Trump for his commitments to education. Not included in this list is his plans to…
- Immediately add an additional federal investment of $20 billion towards school choice. This will be done by reprioritizing existing federal dollars.
- Give states the option to allow these funds to follow the student to the public or private school they attend. Distribution of this grant will favor states that have private school choice, magnet schools and charter laws, encouraging them to participate.
- Establish the national goal of providing school choice to every one of the 11 million school aged children living in poverty.
- If the states collectively contribute another $110 billion of their own education budgets toward school choice, on top of the $20 billion in federal dollars, that could provide $12,000 in school choice funds to every K-12 student who today lives in poverty.
- Work with Congress on reforms to ensure universities are making a good faith effort to reduce the cost of college and student debt in exchange for the federal tax breaks and tax dollars.
- Ensure that the opportunity to attend a two or four-year college, or to pursue a trade or a skill set through vocational and technical education, will be easier to access, pay for, and finish.
It should be noted that for any nation to succeed, it must have a strong education system. Trump fully understands this, and he is working on implementing policies that will aim to help America’s education system continue to prosper.
Executive Order 13767: Border Security and Immigration Enforcement Improvements
This is the “build the wall” executive order, directing the Customs and Border Patrol to “secure the southern border of the United States through the immediate construction of a physical wall on the southern border.” The order also directs the hiring of 5,000 more border patrol officers. The order does not specify how the wall would be paid for, but does request a report on all U.S. foreign aid to Mexico over the last five years.
Executive Order 13768: Enhancing Public Safety in the Interior of the United States
Complementing the border wall, this executive order applies to immigration enforcement in the interior, and specifically targets so-called “sanctuary cities” by cutting off their federal funding. The order also expands the enforcement priorities in order to give immigration officers almost unlimited discretion in instituting deportation proceedings, to include any non-citizen not yet charged a crime but who, in the judgment of an immigration officer, poses a risk to public safety or national security.
Friday, January 27
Executive Order: Protecting the Nation From Foreign Terrorist Entry Into The United States
This is perhaps Trump’s most controversial executive order to date, leading to weekend protests at international airports across the country. Trump promised to keep “radical Islamic terrorists” out of the country, largely though a ban on entry from seven countries for 90 days. Those countries (Iran, Iraq, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria and Yemen) are all majority Muslim, and the order allows an exception for religious minorities, which Trump said was to protect Christians there. The order was subject to immediate action in three federal courts in the 48 hours after its signing, in order to protect people who were caught in legal limbo when they arrived at U.S. airports.The decision to ban muslims from entering the country has sparked a flame among the Trump opposition. His decisions have led him to be labelled as “racist” and overly aggressive with his policies.
National Security Presidential Memorandum 1: Rebuilding the U.S. Armed Forces
The presidential national security memorandum — a first-of-its-kind presidential directive — calls for a 30-day review of military readiness. It requires the the Pentagon and Office of Management and Budget to come up with a plan to bolster the military, and calls for an examination of the nation’s nuclear arsenal and missile-defense capabilities.
Saturday, January 28
Executive Order: Ethics Commitments by Executive Branch Employees
In one sense, Trump’s executive order on administration ethics goes further than any similar order in history, imposing a lifetime ban on administration officials lobbying foreign governments, and a five-year ban on other types of lobbying. But that ban covers only people who were lobbyists before they joined the administration, leaving a loophole for non-lobbyists, ethics experts said.
National Security Presidential Memorandum 2: Organization of the National Security Council and the Homeland Security Council
Every modern president signs an order early in his term reorganizing the National Security Council. Trump’s order most notably added his chief political strategist, Stephen Bannon, to sit on the influential Principals Committee.
National Security Presidential Memorandum 3: Plan to Defeat the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria
This memorandum calls for the Secretary of Defense, in consultation with other national security officials, to develop a plan within 30 days to defeat the Islamic State. The plan should include “recommended changes to any United States rules of engagement” as well as any diplomatic, financial or cyber measures that the Trump administration can take.
Monday, January 30
Executive Order: Reducing Regulation and Controlling Regulatory Costs
Trump’s so-called “one in, two out” executive order would require agencies to rescind two existing regulations for every one new regulation — and that the regulatory costs of those new regulations balance out. The order would also tighten the president’s grip on the regulatory process by giving each agency an annual quota of regulations through the federal budgeting process.
Trump hasn’t shocked me one bit with his actions during his first weeks as President. He is acting on many of the things he said he would accomplish during his campaign, and it perplexes me as to why people are surprised that any of this is happening. He said he would build a border wall and he is dead-set on doing it; he said he would ban illegal immigrants, and he has just imposed a 120-day immigration ban on the countries that are supposedly bringing in most of these immigrants.
Protests in the streets will not stop Trump from doing what he thinks is best for America.
Personally, I agree with some of Trump’s policies, but again, my scrutiny of his leadership comes with how he handles decisions, rather than the decisions he actually makes.
However, his ability to shake up the status-quo and force people to question their beliefs is something I admire, and frankly, something I think America desperately needs.
So, what do you think about Donald Trump’s policies?