From Our Future
This is the tea-leaf administration. So far President-elect Donald Trump doesn't hold press conferences, because apparently it is too much a bother to explain the incoming government's plans to We the People. Everyone understands that Trump "conned" voters and the things Trump said he would do during the campaign bear no relationship whatsoever to what his administration actually will do. And no one -- even the Trump people -- know what they actually will do.
The press is left perching across the street from Trump Tower, spying on who is going in and out to try to figure out who might be in the incoming administration and what they might or might not do. Everyone is left reading tea leaves to try to discern what is coming.
And the tea leaves tell us that working people are in for a hard time.
In 2015 President-"Elect" Donald Trump insisted that American workers' wages are "too high." Now Trump and the entire Republican apparatus are getting ready to use their newly-gained power to do something about it.
Tea-leaf-readers are warning that what we are already seeing and hearing from the Trump crowd should, as Senator Bernie Sanders put it in a Washington Post op-ed titled "Carrier just showed corporations how to beat Donald Trump," should send a shock wave of fear through all workers across the country." Sanders explains, "who would pay for the high cost for tax cuts that go to the richest businessmen in America? The working class of America."
The First Volley: Kill Overtime Rule
Last week a Texas-based federal judge overturned an upcoming Labor Department rule raising the threshold for receiving overtime pay from $23,660 to $47,476. (Like Republican FBI Director Comey, this judge was appointed by President Obama. He was recommended for the bench by Republican Senators John Cornyn and Ted Cruz.) This rule would have raised the pay of millions of American workers, as well as increasing hiring. Reversing this rule is an outrage. (And why did Obama wait seven years to push this rule through? It would have taken effect too late to help workers before the 2016 election.)
This reversal -- killing hopes for a raise for 4.2 million workers -- is only the opening volley of the coming attack on working people.
A Cabinet Full Of Anti-Worker Oligarchs
Other tea leaf signs of a coming anti-worker rampage include Trump's cabinet appointments. The Washington Post notes the oligarchical nature of his appointments, in Donald Trump is assembling the richest administration in modern American history, in which just one of his nominees has 10 times the wealth of "W" Bush's entire cabinet...
"When George W. Bush assembled his first Cabinet in 2001, news reports dubbed them a team of millionaires, and government watchdogs questioned whether they were out of touch with most Americans' problems. Combined, that group had an inflation-adjusted net worth of about $250 million -- which is roughly one-tenth the wealth of Donald Trump's nominee for commerce secretary alone.
"... His announced nominees for top positions include several multimillionaires, an heir to a family mega-fortune and two Forbes-certified billionaires, one of whose family is worth as much as industrial tycoon Andrew Mellon was when he served as treasury secretary nearly a century ago. Rumored candidates for other positions suggest Trump could add more ultra-rich appointees soon."
Business profits are at all-time highs, but businesses claim they can't afford to pay workers more. Business leaders are fighting raising the minimum wage, fighting efforts to restore employee status to workers misclassified as contractors, and fighting Obama's new rule requiring companies to pay overtime for workers who work ... overtime. And Trump is appointing this crowd to run things.
Trump's Treasury Secretary nominee, Steve Mnuchin, is known for running a "foreclosure machine," forcing working people out of their homes. In one case he even tried to take a 90-year-old woman's house because of a 27-cent payment error. No, really, the woman was 27 cents short on a payment so his bank used that as an excuse to try to grab her house. No, really.
Progressive Congress (an inside-outside strategy organization that works closely with the Congressional Progressive Caucus) issued a statement saying that Trump's Treasury Secretary nominee "is a slap in the face to workers everywhere." The statement concludes...