10 Things Done by Donald Trump in His Presidency that Were Overlooked
10 Things Done by Donald Trump in His Presidency that Were Overlooked
A lot of people will recall President Donald Trump's four-year tenure as a furor of tweets, rallies, and on-air tirades that culminated in a mob uprising and the first-ever second impeachment in history. But, oftentimes gone unreported, Trump and his administration succeeded in altering several aspects of the way Washington functions, POLITICO reported. Trump made significant changes to government policy that may continue long after he leaves office, including changing Obamacare, sexual harassment legislation, defense strategy, and even food security. Many of these were probably overlooked due to the intense media attention of Trump himself, the global pandemic, and other events. Here are 10 policy changes President Trump made that affected people's lives, families, and companies massively.
Trump first intended to repeal Obamacare, but when Congress failed to do so, he resorted to legal action. In 2017, after a GOP replacement plan failed, he was able to partially dismantle the legislation through administrative actions. However, he accidentally ended up contributing billions to federal healthcare subsidies for Americans, when states used something called "silver" plan premiums to bypass the fund cuts. Subsidy costs were skillfully incorporated into health plans, driving up government costs for low-income individuals. Known as "silver-loading," this increased yearly government subsidies by more than $20 billion.
2. Defense Strategy
The Trump administration's 2018 National Defense Strategy is a key departure among a deluge of defense policy documents. It switched the U.S. military's attention from the insurgencies in the Middle East to strategic competition with China and Russia. This change affected worldwide priority areas, technology acquisition, and training. Additionally, the plan changed the Pentagon budget and won backing from both parties in Congress. The allocation of billions to strengthen the U.S. military presence in the Asia-Pacific area has a noteworthy effect on the defensive posture of the country.
The Trump administration's choice to forgo implementing an "emergency temporary standard" throughout the pandemic was a pivotal one for American workers. Despite pressure from labor unions, Democrats, and worker advocacy groups, OSHA refused to adopt a guideline that would have required urgent workplace safety measures in cases involving grave danger. Republicans contended that it would put pressure on businesses affected by the recession. Without it, employers would only adhere to voluntary standards, which would result in erratic safety circumstances. Several large firms received modest fines from OSHA for their indifferent response, even in situations where COVID-19 caused worker fatalities. Workers were not protected since Democratic attempts to impose this requirement in pandemic aid legislation have failed.
4. Religion in schools
Although Trump did not implement comprehensive school choice policies for private and religious schools, Betsy DeVos, the Education Secretary at the time, was a devout Christian who promoted federal backing for religious institutions. Her modifications included protecting faith-based campus organizations, broadening Public Service Loan Forgiveness to include clergy, and streamlining the application process for federal financial aid for members of religious orders. She removed limitations on religious organizations providing publicly financed services in private schools and permitted religiously linked groups to receive federal subsidies for charter schools in the K–12 education sector. Advocates for religious education applauded DeVos's actions because they increased religious freedom and strengthened the line separating church and state.
Proponents of cannabis legalization were worried that Jeff Sessions, Trump's first attorney general nominee, would crack down on marijuana that is regulated by the states. The Cole memo, which deprioritized marijuana enforcement, was overturned by Sessions in 2018. Surprisingly, despite the anti-marijuana rhetoric, the Trump administration did nothing when 18 states—including several that lean conservative—liberalized their marijuana laws between 2016 and 2020. As a result, although being banned at the federal level, cannabis is currently permitted in 36 states in some manner, providing most Americans with legal access. States that have fully legalized marijuana now house more than one-third of all Americans, indicating a major change in marijuana laws under the Trump administration.
6. Food Security
Significant reductions were made to the $60 billion Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), formerly known as food stamps, by the Agriculture Department during the Trump administration. These modifications were made to reduce waste and make internal program savings. One significant action was the Agriculture Department's introduction of a new rule in 2018 to strictly enforce work mandates. Due to this modification, states found it more difficult to obtain waivers from the SNAP employment requirements, particularly for able-bodied people without dependents to support. According to the USDA's evaluations, these changes had significant repercussions, with an estimated 755,000 Americans losing access to essential food assistance.
7. Overtime Pay
Millions of workers lost overtime pay under Trump as a result of a Labor Department decision that weakened an Obama-era rule. Obama's order in 2016 boosted the salary threshold for overtime eligibility to almost $47,000 per year, possibly covering millions. Trump's administration, on the other hand, chose not to defend the regulation in court and instead proposed a more lenient one in 2019, setting the threshold at around $35,000 with no scheduled increases.
As a result, the Trump rule covered only 15% of full-time, paid workers, compared to the Obama rule's potential coverage of twice that number. This rendered at least 8 million workers ineligible for overtime compensation, resulting in a $1 billion yearly salary loss.
8. Climate Change
Trump's efforts to repeal Obama-era methane emission rules not only increased near-term climate change but also harmed the United States' global standing. The Trump administration reduced methane leakage rules at oil and gas operations. Despite significant corporate support for previous measures, Trump's rollbacks contrasted with international efforts to tackle climate change, particularly those of Europe and China. Oil majors such as BP and Shell publicly resisted these reforms, while France forced Engie to reject a contract to import US gas owing to reputational concerns. As a result of Trump's rejection of strong methane rules, Europe went on to take the lead in the global fight against climate change, eroding the United States' position on this crucial subject.
9. Tax Cuts
The $1.5 trillion tax cut package passed by Republicans, aimed at boosting the economy, was Trump's main legislative triumph. The 2017 tax law drastically decreased individual and corporate tax rates, resulting in extensive changes in the tax code affecting a wide range of industries, from small firms to university endowments. While the tax cuts originally boosted economic growth and reduced unemployment before the epidemic, some analysts questioned their long-term viability and link to favorable outcomes. Regardless of their impact, the tax cuts resulted in record deficits and remained unpopular with the general public, as Democrats successfully presented them as largely benefiting the wealthiest. Trump's political advantages were minimal.
10. Sexual Harassment
In the run-up to the #MeToo movement, Trump and the Republicans in Congress repealed provisions intended to protect federal contractor workers from sexual harassment, dubbed the "Blacklist Rule" by business groups. Trump used the Congressional Review Act to abolish an Obama-era regulation in March 2017. This rule demanded businesses bidding on big government contracts to publicly disclose sexual harassment or labor law breaches during the previous three years, to prevent federal funding from being used to promote such corporations. Furthermore, it prohibited corporations with federal contracts worth more than $1 million from requiring private arbitration for sexual harassment and assault accusations, giving employees the ability to suit in court. As a result of Trump's rollback, government contractors with a history of infractions could obtain bids without disclosing their previous violations.
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