Trump says US, Mexico reach agreement to prevent tariffs (copy)

President Donald Trump waves as he steps off Air Force One after arriving June 7 at Andrews Air Force Base in Maryland.

It's been a while since we took a look at President Donald Trump's promise to make America great again.

I've long maintained that we have been paying too much attention to the tweets and startling falsehoods that emanate from his hands and mouth every day and not enough to the devious work being done by the minions he's put into positions where they can cause havoc with long-established governmental policies.

While Trump hurtles insults at everyone, they serve as an effective smokescreen for underhanded dealings on everything from the environment (the illegal sweetheart deal by the Environmental Protection Agency to allow Foxconn to skip environmental regulations everyone else has to follow, for instance) to consumer protection (the trashing of rules for the payday loan sharks, leaving them free to continue collecting 600-plus percent interest, is but one example).

Last week the New York Times took a look at how, despite all Trump's campaign rhetoric that he would be a champion for American workers and a friend of labor unions, his administration has been anything but.

It has moved to tighten qualifications on who must be paid the minimum wage and who qualifies for overtime. It is asking the Supreme Court to rule that companies can fire workers on the basis of sexual orientation. It has systematically reduced the number of safety inspectors employed by OSHA, so much so that in two instances of lost fingers on production lines, no one showed up to investigate.

When Trump ran for office in 2016, he proclaimed his support to raise the $7.25 minimum wage to $10. There hasn't been a peep — much less a tweet — from him on this issue since. So the $7.25 wage still holds, just as it has here thanks to Wisconsin Republicans.

During the past two-plus years, Trump's labor department has sided with the likes of Uber and other big corporations in their efforts to classify workers as independent contractors, not employees, exempting them from overtime rules and matching Social Security taxes and, of course, prohibiting them from forming unions.

Additionally, Trump's two Supreme Court appointees, Neil Gorsuch and Brett Kavanaugh, are more than zealots on abortion, but continually side with business and corporate interests over union and working people.

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The Times editorially commented that the administration's message to workers is that, sorry, you're on your own.

My comment is that this is how Trump is "making America great again" — and we need to start paying attention.

Dave Zweifel is editor emeritus of The Capital Times. dzweifel@madison.com608-252-6410 and on Twitter @DaveZweifel.  

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