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September 2019, Week 1

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 		 [The long-term goals of Trump and his Congressional allies are to
destroy the labor movement, wreck the federal government, and end
Social Security.] [https://portside.org/] 

 ON THIS LABOR DAY, TRUMP HITS THE TRIFECTA: HIS STEALTH MOVE TO
UNDERMINE WORKERS, SOCIAL SECURITY, AND OUR GOVERNMENT  
[https://portside.org/2019-09-02/labor-day-trump-hits-trifecta-his-stealth-move-undermine-workers-social-security-and-our]


 

 Nancy Altman 
 August 30, 2019
Independent Media Institute
[https://independentmediainstitute.org/economy-for-all/] 

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	* [https://portside.org/node/20885/printable/print]

 _ The long-term goals of Trump and his Congressional allies are to
destroy the labor movement, wreck the federal government, and end
Social Security. _ 

 Signs on the ground during a rally of federal employees to protest
proposed cuts in federal funding in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, on 22
June 2017., Tom Mihalek/Reuters 

 

Labor Day is a holiday designed to honor America’s workers. Instead,
Donald Trump continues to attack them. Indeed, his administration is
in the midst of a stealth effort that not only attacks workers but
also our earned Social Security benefits and our federal government.
The long-term goals of Trump and his Congressional allies are to
destroy the labor movement, wreck the federal government, and end
Social Security.

That may sound hyperbolic, but it is not. Trump’s latest stealth
attack is not only anti-union, it will eventually make it so difficult
to access Social Security benefits that some beneficiaries
(particularly those attempting to qualify for their earned Social
Security disability benefits) never receive them at all. Others will
eventually claim their benefits, but only after an unnecessarily
burdensome process of visiting field offices that are rarely open and
have hours-long lines when they are. 

For Republicans, that’s all according to plan. Trump and his
Congressional allies are intentionally breaking our government so they
can turn around and say that it doesn’t work.

Trump’s war on workers is extremely well documented
[https://www.nytimes.com/2019/06/03/opinion/trump-worker-safety-osha.html].
It is perhaps best illustrated by his anti-worker nominees to be
Secretary of Labor, a pack of wolves in the hen house. The first
nominee
[https://www.nytimes.com/2017/01/15/us/politics/andrew-puzder-labor-secretary.html]
was guilty of scores of labor law violations and forced to pay
millions of dollars in settlements to workers he cheated. He was
ultimately rejected because even many Republicans decided that they
couldn’t vote for an ethically challenged
[https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/get-there/wp/2017/02/01/labor-nominee-andrew-puzder-is-facing-complications-with-selling-company-stock/]
nominee who was also an accused domestic abuser
[https://www.politico.com/story/2017/03/andrew-puzder-labor-abuse-allegations-235895].


Trump’s second anti-worker nominee
[https://www.thenation.com/article/trumps-labor-nominee-alexander-acosta-is-more-dangerous-than-you-think/]
was Alex Acosta, best known for his sweetheart deal with the
billionaire pedophile Jeffrey Epstein. His current acting Secretary of
Labor
[https://www.nytimes.com/2019/07/16/business/economy/patrick-pizzella-labor-department.html]
is, if anything, more anti-worker than the first two. And his newest
nominee for the job
[https://www.forbes.com/sites/pedrodacosta/2019/07/22/trump-ramps-up-assault-on-workers-rights-with-scalia-nomination-to-department-of-labor/#35a9b4615dd0]
has spent his career defending businesses seeking to roll back labor
protections.

Trump’s war on the federal government is also well-documented
[https://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/global-opinions/the-trump-white-house-is-destroying-our-civil-service/2018/08/03/1aad229e-969c-11e8-810c-5fa705927d54_story.html].
His administration is upending the lives
[https://www.huffpost.com/entry/trump-federal-workers-relocation_n_5d166993e4b07f6ca57d12c8?guccounter=1]
of career civil servants by telling those based in Washington to move
to the Midwest and those based around the country to relocate to
Washington. Just before the beginning of the school year, these
workers have been given virtually no time to decide if they will
relocate or resign. This is having the desired effect: Most are
quitting
[https://www.kansascity.com/news/politics-government/article232730352.html].


The Trump Administration’s actions are intended to shrink government
to the size where they can, in the words of Republican activist Grover
Norquist, “drown it in the bathtub.” 

Trump’s hostility
[https://www.huffpost.com/entry/five-ways-donald-trump-has-jeopardized-his-promise_b_59049fe7e4b084f59b49f96a]
to Social Security and Medicare is equally clear. He recently floated
a proposal
[https://thehill.com/blogs/congress-blog/politics/458280-trumps-latest-plan-to-undermine-social-security]
to reduce Social Security’s funding. Days later, he gloated over his
intentions
[https://www.vanityfair.com/news/2019/08/donald-trump-republicans-federal-deficit]
to cut Medicare as a “fun second-term project.” 

The American people did not vote for these benefit cuts. In fact,
Trump ran on a promise
[https://medium.com/senator-bernie-sanders/14-times-donald-trump-promised-not-to-cut-social-security-medicare-and-medicaid-99beefa9f584]
to protect Social Security and Medicare. This was a shrewd political
strategy, given that voters of all political stripes strongly value
our Social Security and strongly oppose
[http://www.people-press.org/2016/03/31/campaign-exposes-fissures-over-issues-values-and-how-life-has-changed-in-the-u-s/]
cutting its modest but vital benefits. They strongly value our
Medicare, as well. But as with his promise to raise taxes on the rich,
to provide quality health care for everyone, even to act presidential,
Trump has done the exact opposite now that he’s in the White House.

Despite their claims, the GOP elite’s hostility to Social Security
and Medicare — indeed, to anything the government does to help us
improve our lives — doesn’t have anything to do with the debt or
deficit. It has everything to do with the donor class trying to avoid
paying their fair share toward the common good.

Yet because Social Security and Medicare are so popular, Republicans
know that direct benefit cuts will be impossible to pass into law, as
long as all of us pay attention. That is why Trump and his
Congressional allies are conducting a stealth war, using guerilla
warfare tactics against our earned benefits. 

One of their most nefarious tactics is undercutting the Social
Security Administration (SSA), the agency charged with ensuring that
workers receive their earned Social Security benefits in a timely and
stress-free manner. SSA has suffered
[https://socialsecurityworks.org/wp-content/uploads/2017/03/Continued-Cuts-to-Social-Security-Services-Harm-All-Americans_FINAL.pdf]
nearly a decade of budget cuts from Congressional Republicans. These
cuts have resulted in office closures, staff reductions, and a
years-long wait for disability hearings.

Attacks on SSA don’t just hurt the agency and its 60,000 workers.
They hurt all Americans by making it increasingly difficult to collect
the Social Security benefits we earn with every paycheck. That’s why
all of us should fight to defend it.

At SSA and across the federal government, the Trump Administration is
playing hardball. It has issued anti-worker executive orders. It has
failed to negotiate in good faith
[https://www.govexec.com/management/2019/07/administrative-law-judge-union-accuses-social-security-bad-faith-bargaining/158257/]
with those representing federal workers. And recently, the Trump
administration launched a new assault. It arbitrarily and unilaterally
sought to impose a new contract
[https://www.theguardian.com/us-news/2019/jul/03/social-security-agency-union-contract-trump-administration?CMP=Share_iOSApp_Other]
on SSA workers. That imposed contract would effectively destroy the
ability of the workers’ union to represent them.

The Trump Administration’s goal is to make conditions at SSA so
intolerable that demoralized workers will quit in droves, taking
essential institutional knowledge with them. This will directly affect
the hundreds of millions of us who call SSA or visit a local field
office regarding our earned Social Security benefits.

Federal workers are fighting back
[https://www.govexec.com/management/2019/08/new-lawsuit-argues-impasses-panels-recent-decisions-are-illegitimate/159254/]
in the courts. Their Democratic allies in Congress are seeking to come
to their aid, but they do not control the White House and Senate. The
only way to protect the hard-working civil servants at the Social
Security Administration, and thereby protect our Social Security and
Medicare, is to make Donald Trump a one-term president.

_Nancy J. Altman is a writing fellow for Economy for All
[https://independentmediainstitute.org/economy-for-all/], a project of
the Independent Media Institute. She has a 40-year background in the
areas of Social Security and private pensions. She is president of
Social Security Works and chair of the Strengthen Social Security
coalition. Her latest book is The Truth About Social Security
[https://smile.amazon.com/Truth-about-Social-Security-Misunderstandings/dp/1947492160/?tag=alternorg08-20].
She is also the author of The Battle for Social Security
[https://smile.amazon.com/Battle-Social-Security-Vision-Gamble/dp/0471771724/?tag=alternorg08-20]
and co-author of Social Security Works!
[https://smile.amazon.com/Social-Security-Works-Isn%C2%92t-Expanding/dp/1620970376/?tag=alternorg08-20]_

_This article was produced by __Economy for All
[https://independentmediainstitute.org/economy-for-all/], a project of
the Independent Media Institute._

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