WASHINGTON – Speaking to the AFL-CIO Executive Council this past Thursday, Sen. Elizabeth Warren, D.-Mass., said “… there are many millions of people who did not vote for Donald Trump because of the bigotry and hate that fueled his campaign rallies. They voted for him despite the hate. They voted for him out of frustration and anger – and also out of hope that he would bring change.
“If Trump is ready to go on rebuilding economic security for millions of Americans,” Warren concluded, “then count me in.”
Warren and Sen. Bernie Sanders, D.-Vt., have both said that if President-elect Trump works to fulfill his promise to create an economy that benefits working people, they will work with him.
They have also said that if Trump goes back on his promises to working people, they will fight him tooth and nail.
In a New York Times Op-ed, Sanders said “… millions of people who voted for Mr. Trump did so because they are sick and tired of the economic, political and media status quo. I will keep an open mind to see what ideas Mr. Trump offers and when and how we can work together.”
However, Sanders stressed, “To the degree that [Trump] pursues racist, sexist, xenophobic and anti-environment policies, we will vigorously oppose him.”
The olive branch, if any, offered by Sanders and Warren may soon wither. So far, every idea offered by Trump’s presidential transition team reinforces the fact that he has no intention of changing the right wing policies that for years has benefitted billionaires like himself at the expense of workers.
In fact, he plans to strengthen those policies.
His transition website gives some indication of the path Trump will follow as president.
For starters, there is no mention of unions, a sign that Trump will attempt to do to all workers what he’s tried to do to his own employees – rob them of the right to bargain collectively.
On the other hand, Trump’s website does mention the Dodd-Frank Act. It says the Trump Administration intends to dismantle it. Dodd-Frank prevents banks from using the savings of working people to invest in risky speculations. The law was passed to prevent another Great Recession, such as the one we suffered in 2008. Without it, our nation could very well be on its way to another crash.
Furthermore, according to the Washington Post’s Paul Waldman, “President-elect Donald J. Trump, who campaigned against the corrupt power of special interests, is filling his transition team with some of the very sort of people who he has complained have too much clout in Washington: corporate consultants and lobbyists.”
Waldman says Trump transition team members include “corporate lobbyists representing such clients as Altria, Visa, Coca-Cola, General Electric, Verizon, HSBC, Pfizer, Dow Chemical, and Duke Energy.”
If you’re a working person “who thinks Trump is going to upend things on your behalf or in order to serve your interests,” Waldman writes, “guess what: you got suckered.”
Waldman’s point is illustrated by the fact that the top one percent of wage earners would receive tax cuts averaging 5.1 percent of their income, while low- and middle-income families would see tax cuts averaging between 1.3 and 1.7 percent.
Furthermore, according to Citizens for Tax Justice , taxes for some middle- and low-income families’ taxes would go up because the bottom income tax rate would increase from 10 to 12 percent under the plan, or because their taxable income might increase.
It gets worse.
Trump has promised to repeal the Affordable Care Act and his plans target Medicaid for major cuts, which would mean millions of Americans would be without health care.
And Josh Bivens, research and policy director at the Economic Policy Institute told James Dennin of the .Mic news service that there are many indications Trump plans to de-fund the Department of Labor and kill the new rule that extends overtime coverage to millions of workers and is scheduled to go into effect next month.
Another of Trump’s anti-working families plans, according to Dennin, is to weaken or eliminating the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB), “the agency tasked with protecting Americans from financial scams, like when Wells Fargo got customers to pay for accounts they didn’t ask for.”
The bureau was the brainchild of Sen. Warren, who fought long and hard to bring it into existence.
At the AFL-CIO Executive Council meeting, Warren said, “If Trump and the Republican Party try to turn loose the big banks” by gutting the Dodd-Frank Act or eliminating the CFPB, “Then we will fight them every step of the way.”
At that same meeting, AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka said, “For too long, the political elites have embraced economic policies that hold down wages, increase inequality [and] diminish opportunity … Voters in both the primary and general election have delivered a clear message: enough.”
Trumka concluded by stressing, “Our beliefs should not be dependent on who is in office. Fairness, dignity and equality are things we’ve always fought for. Therefore, the work of the labor movement continues with fresh urgency.”