MONTGOMERY VILLAGE, MD., February 28, 2017 – The Trump administration has been very busy meeting on February 23 with some of the nation’s top CEOs including Johnson & Johnson’s chief executive officer, Alex Gorsky, and David Farr, chairman of Emerson Electric. Working in groups of four, the meeting attendees were there to come up with recommendations on deregulation, workforce training, infrastructure, taxes, and trade.
Vice President Mike Pence and White House aides will meet with the individual working groups and compile their recommendations for the president ahead of his meeting with the full group of executives.
The images from these meetings show a room full of suits, many distinguished looking old white men. The President makes his entrance, warmly greeting all. The choreography of the event has nothing to envy from a reality show.
Everything is set up to show how President Trump is working for all of us.
In these meetings, there is usually a public statement by President Trump emphasizing that he is meeting these princes of capitalism to tell them how his administration is and will do good by them.
He tells them how he is getting rid of regulations and will gain tax breaks for them to fatten up their bottom lines. He requests that in return they bring, keep and or return jobs to our country.
This quid pro quo, jobs in exchange for deregulation and tax breaks, is the one purpose of these get-togethers. The other is to show those that voted for him and hopefully others, that he is keeping his promises made during the campaign.
This plays well with those that voted for President Trump. They want, among other things, a business man that can make deals and negotiate mostly high-paying manufacturing jobs.
President Trump and Congress in the meantime have done all the back-end work to prove that they are serious. A flurry of Executive Orders, legislation in progress and a cooperating cabinet have taken care of beginning the dismantling of labor, environmental and financial regulations for this end.
Several plans are also being considered in Congress to reduce corporate taxes.
As is his prerogative, the President has created a cabinet that will support his agenda. Key selections for Labor, Interior, Treasury, Justice and the Environmental Protection Agency guarantee that many regulations will be ignored or marginalized and that no new ones will be published without two previous regulation being shelved.
Enforcement will also be harmed by the freeze in Federal Employment that will affect most civilian Departments and Agencies.
The administration’s policy of renegotiation of trade agreements and a turn to bilateral instead of multilateral agreements provide additional leverage vis-à-vis corporations.
To many, this looks like the perfect storm for a renewal of job creation and economic progress.
Not so fast…
It is very doubtful that in the age of automation, job creation as it occurred in the past will happen. Instead, jobs that can be done by manufacturing robots, store kiosks that replace order takers, even ATMs that dispense hamburgers are now commonplace.
The reduction of taxes for corporations will create a bigger fiscal deficit. Projections that this will be made up by more and better-paid jobs, and resulting increase in fiscal revenue, are at best questionable.
The reduction of environmental regulations could result in a decrease in our quality of life and in an extreme case, a threat to health. It may also leave an environmental chasm for future administrations to deal with.
As for the reduction of economic regulations, it was the liberalization of financial regulations that set up the collapse of 2008. It is doubtful that the Wall Street insiders now in the cabinet will have learned from it or that they will do anything to decrease the bottom line of the companies from which they came and to which they will return.
As for the workers, it is interesting that the person chosen for the Department of Labor has been one of the biggest opponents of the minimal wage and overtime for workers.
So, while it is possible that this administration’s policies and actions will result in gains for the workforce in the US, there is also a possibility that things will not change significantly or that they may get worse.
What about those of us that are not looking for a manufacturing job? The best that we can hope is for these actions to be neutral to our economic well-being.
Mario Salazar, the 21st Century Pacifist, wakes up every morning fearful of more actions that will destroy our way of life. He is in Twitter (@chibcharus), Google+, LinkedIn and Facebook (Mario Salazar).