This post was originally released as a press statement on December 14 in response to President Donald Trump’s speech on deregulation and his administration’s Fall 2017 Unified Agenda.
Starting on Day One, the Trump administration has perpetrated an all-out assault on essential public safeguards for health, safety, the environment, and American families’ financial security, and today, the president took the time to revel in all the damage he has overseen. The administration’s anti-safeguard agenda for the coming year promises more of the same.
For the president, this is about helping big-monied interests make more money. For everyday Americans, it’s about making sure our kids can breathe clean air and drink clean water, saving for retirement, keeping workplaces safe, protecting our natural treasures, and warding off the worst effects of climate change.
In his remarks today, President Trump included a lot of numbers. Here are some numbers he conveniently left out. Twenty-five percent. That’s the increased likelihood of birth defects for babies born near fracking sites, as revealed in research published just yesterday. Or how about 20? That was the number of children shot to death at Sandy Hook Elementary School on this day five years ago. Included among the Trump administration’s assault on our safeguards were the elimination of common-sense measures to address just these kinds of threats of harm to public health, safety, environmental protection, and individual financial security.
Make no mistake, the Trump administration’s anti-safeguards agenda rests on the same “Reverse Robin Hood” logic at the heart of the conservatives’ disastrous tax reform plan. CEOs have already made it abundantly clear that any money being put back into their pockets – whether from historic tax cuts or from avoiding the minor inconvenience of running their businesses without unduly harming the public interest – will not be invested in new job creation or innovation. And as with tax reform, the administration is ramming through these policy changes with scant regard for due process in open defiance of the public will. The public is rightly rejecting the conservative tax plan, and they should be equally outraged by this attack on their well-being to benefit politically powerful industries.
The greatest damage from the Trump administration’s assault on our safeguards will be the hardest to quantify. Concrete efforts to roll back existing regulations – such as the Clean Power Plan – are likely to fail. But where the administration is likely to have its biggest effect is what it doesn’t do. It’s hard to put this damage in numbers, but four years of zero progress on protecting the public interest will be costly. And the damage that results – children suffering from permanent health problems due to birth defects or another catastrophic mass shooting that could have been prevented but wasn’t – will not be undone.