In a presidential proclamation released Friday, the White House falsely claimed that the Trump administration “has taken historic action to advance prosperity for the American worker.”
While many of the administration’s actions are historic — the tax cut benefiting corporations and rich people are on track to balloon the deficit to record-setting levels — they do not benefit workers.
Wages are stagnant and remain low. The federal minimum wage has languished at $7.25 for almost a decade now. Even as local governments are trying to pass $15 minimum wage bills, the Republican party continually opposes such measures, in some cases using state-house majorities to impede legislation.
Workers are feeling the pinch in other ways, even with the economy at nearly full employment.
As AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka put it, “It doesn’t matter if unemployment’s at 3.9 percent if their wages are low. They don’t have health care and they can’t afford to send their kids to school.”
Trump’s trade war is hurting farmers and new tariffs are likely to put people out of work in multiple sectors. The administration even pursues petty policies, like restricting rules around H-1B visas or making it harder for workers to recoup lost overtime pay, that harm workers.
He’s even using the tax cuts as an excuse to bring wages down: Just Thursday, the White House proposed a freeze on federal workers’ pay, in the name of “fiscal responsibility,” despite the massive tax cuts recently signed into law.
He has a distinctly anti-union track record: In May, Trump took aim at federal workers’ unions in a series of executive orders that would undermine unions’ power, though a judge recently struck down parts of those orders. And Trump’s Supreme Court appointee Neil Gorsuch dealt a massive blow to public sector unions in his deciding vote in a recent ruling.
But the president already suggested he could reconsider the announcement on federal workers’ wages, after backlash.
“I’m going to be studying the federal workers in Washington that you’ve been reading so much about,” he said. “People don’t want to give them any [pay] increase; they haven’t had one in a long time. I said I’m gonna study that over the weekend.”
So far this weekend, he’s just sending more angry tweets.