Weekend News & Commentary — January 21-22, 2017
Only a few days into the Trump presidency, and speculation is rife: what will the new President do next? In his first few hours in office, President Trump signed an executive order aimed at dismantling the Affordable Care Act — and he is expected to take similar executive action “on a nearly daily basis” for the next month to undo his predecessor’s legacy, The New York Times reports. Undocumented workers will be anxious to see what President Trump does with the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program. His options include a gradual wind-down of the program or even immediate repeal (POLITICO provides a rundown of the potential scenarios). But the President’s tough talk on immigration could have costs. NPR warns that a crackdown on immigrant workers could leave the United States with a farm labor shortage.
In his inaugural address, President Trump painted a bleak picture of the American economy, evoking a landscape of “rusted-out factories scattered like tombstones.” And while this view is not entirely consistent with reality — as The New York Times points out, the United States is now experiencing one of the longest periods of economic growth in its history — the American worker does face challenges ahead. President Trump focused on the effects of foreign trade (“The wealth of our middle class has been ripped from their homes and then redistributed all across the world,” he lamented), but the graver threat to American jobs might be the rise of automation — something that Andy Puzder, Trump’s nominee for Labor Secretary, has publicly supported. Before exiting office, former President Obama warned that technological advancements like the “driverless Uber” could threaten Americans jobs in the near future. Recode has more.
Speaking of Puzder, Trump’s pick for Labor Secretary is under attack from women’s groups, POLITICO reports. The National Women’s Law Center and other groups are pressuring lawmakers in the weeks leading up to Puzder’s confirmation hearing, highlighting the nominee’s less-than-stellar record on women’s issues (including his infamous Carl’s Jr. ads and his work as an anti-abortion lawyer in Missouri). Mounting criticism has sparked rumors that Puzder might back out of the nomination.