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Fri Oct 16, 2020, 07:13 PM

50 reasons the Trump administration is bad for workers

President Trump has said he would ‘protect’ and ‘fight for’ workers. Instead, his administration has systematically done the opposite.

. . .

Here are 50 ways the Trump administration has failed workers, starting with recent actions (or inactions) and extending back to the beginning of Trump’s presidency.

1. It has failed to support adequate fiscal stimulus during the coronavirus pandemic
In March 2020, Congress passed the CARES Act, which included a temporary $600 increase in weekly unemployment insurance (UI) benefits and $150 billion in aid to state and local governments. However, once the relief measures ran out, the Trump administration vehemently opposed the extension of the $600 increase of UI benefits4 and additional aid to state and local governments.5 The lack of fiscal relief will cost millions of jobs, including 5.3 million jobs due to insufficient federal aid to state and local governments6 and 5.1 million jobs due to the expiration of the $600 boost in UI.7

2. It has diminished the integrity and accuracy of the 2020 U.S. Census
In 2019, the Trump administration proposed adding an untested citizenship question to the 2020 Census questionnaire, which would have depressed response rates, cost taxpayers more money, and diminished the accuracy of the 2020 Census.8 The proposal was ultimately blocked by the Supreme Court.9 In August 2020, the Trump administration announced that counting efforts for the 2020 Census would end a month early, despite significant delays caused by the coronavirus pandemic.10 These actions by the Trump administration will diminish the integrity and accuracy of the 2020 Census, which plays a central role in allocating political representation and federal government resources across states and localities.

3. It stopped funding for Social Security
Under the guise of pandemic relief, President Trump signed an executive order suspending funding for Social Security.11 Specifically, the executive order allows employers to defer withholding and paying the 6.2% employee share of the Social Security payroll tax for workers making less than $2,000 per week. This poorly targeted tax deferral increases the disposable income of higher earners more and does nothing for unemployed workers.12 Only Congress has the authority to cut taxes—meaning affected workers may owe double taxes next year under the executive order. President Trump has said that he would like to permanently end payroll contributions to Social Security, but he has not offered a realistic plan to replace the lost revenue.13 Meanwhile, the Senate Republican leadership has tried to attach to a pandemic relief bill a fast-track, closed-door process that would make it easier to cut Social Security benefits.14

4. It dismantled fiduciary protections for retirement savers
The Trump Department of Labor (DOL) scrapped an Obama administration rule preventing conflicts of interest in investment advice offered to retirement savers, proposing to replace it with a misleading “best interest” standard based on vague and unenforceable language in an SEC rule.15 At the same time, the Trump administration reinstated a narrow definition of investment advice covered under a fiduciary standard that excludes most of the harmful “advice” offered to small savers.16 Dismantling fiduciary protections allows brokers and other salespeople to offer what appears to be expert advice while steering savers to higher-cost and lower-quality investments.17

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