The U.S. seems more divided than ever over attitudes toward President Trump. Most Americans are either anti-Trump, pro-Trump or silent on their opinion to avoid arguments.
Mr. Trump is controversial and highly unpredictable. His tweets can appear at any time and his political statements and tweets are not diplomatic. But even those people who are strongly anti-Trump will admit that he is doing exactly what he promised during his campaign. He hasn’t succeeded in everything he’s attempted to do, but he seems to be determined to undo many of the policies and philosophies of the Obama administration.
Major media in the U.S. attack Trump on a daily basis. Nothing seems to be too minor to criticize, from his eating habits (always insisting on 2 scoops of ice cream for dessert, eating cheeseburgers and junk food at night, etc.) to the amount of time he spends playing golf. Of course the investigation of possible Russian collusion or obstruction of justice investigation by the special counsel Robert Mueller also gets a lot of attention with Trump opponents trying to bring criminal charges or impeach him.
But for the average business person, Trump seems to be making improvements on a daily basis to make it easier for businesses to grow and create new jobs. He’s also been effective in reducing useless government regulations and restoring reason to how government agencies operate.
The most famous example of support for business and working people is the successful passage of the Tax Reform Act. This new law, passed in December, 2017, cuts the corporate tax rate from 36% to 21%. The average worker has already experienced benefits from this action, with many companies providing bonuses and wage increases already. At least 300 companies have announced tax reform bonuses, pay raises, or 401(k) hikes, according to a running list compiled by Americans for Tax Reform.
It’s estimated that 90% of workers should see an increase in net pay beginning February, 2018 when the new tax tables are implemented.
Since the unemployment rate in the U.S. is at an historically low level (4.1% vs. 4.7% in 2017), the added demand for workers should result in higher salaries and better opportunities. The Labor Department announced Feb 2, 2018 that wages rose at the fastest pace in more than eight years, evidence of a consistently healthy job market.
Trump’s policies are also restoring reason to the National Labor Relations Board. Under President Obama, the NLRB was used as a political weapon to pressure companies to accept unionization or to alter their business practices to embrace more government control. Some of the NLRB decisions over the past 8 years defy logic – for example:
1) Employers’ Employee Handbooks were attacked by the Obama NLRB to reduce the strength of confidentiality provisions, the use of mandatory employee arbitration agreements and application of non-disparagement clauses. The overall goal of the NLRB was to reduce employer rights and to give employees more options to file lawsuits. Employees could post damaging information about their companies on social media and to interpret their handbooks in any way that would benefit their own employment with the excuse that it supported their rights to collective bargaining. The Trump NLRB is taking steps to reverse these positions.
2) The Obama NLRB also took steps to make it easier for unions to win representation elections. In cases where employees in general did not support a union, the NLRB made it easy for union to create “micro units” so a union could target small groups, organize them and later try to organize the larger organization. In 2014, the NLRB found that employees in a separate cosmetics and fragrance department in a single Macy’s department store could form their own union.
The Trump Department of Labor in general has been less aggressive in other issues as well, including not forcing a higher federal minimum wage and more generous overtime provisions for employees who are currently considered not eligible for overtime. Overall the Trump administration has made it a priority to reduce government regulations and to create more business-friendly environment that will improve the wages and conditions of U.S. workers.
2018 will be a huge year for determining the future of the Trump agenda.
Immigration and national infrastructure, along with the outcome of the Russian investigation, should be the big topics of the year. Congressional elections will be held in November and it’s not clear whether Trump will keep the Republican majorities in the House and Senate.
It’s impossible to predict how these issues will be settled but for now it appears that the Trump doctrine is promoting massive change in the U.S. Ultimately it’s up to the voters in the Fall to determine whether this change is positive or must be stopped.