By Alan Zibel, Public Citizen
Given the scandal-plagued Trump administration’s failure to advance its priorities in Congress, it is tempting to conclude that Donald Trump is not accomplishing anything of significance.
In fact, he is delivering giveaway after giveaway to industry.
Six months after Trump’s inauguration, it has become clear that President Trump takes a far different view of corporate America than candidate Trump.
During the campaign, Trump directed nearly as much venom toward major U.S. corporations as toward his opponents. He savaged Wall Street, badgered companies for manufacturing products outside of the United States and threatened them with onerous penalties. He promised to let the federal government negotiate prices on prescription drugs purchased through Medicare, later accusing the pharmaceutical industry of “getting away with murder.” Trump singled out lobbyists who do the bidding for corporations in promising to “drain the swamp.”
Now, Trump’s anti-industry bluster has largely dissipated, as detailed in our new report, “Trump’s Corporate Con Job,” which details 11 sectors benefiting from the Trump administration’s policies. They are:
- Autos: At the behest of the automakers, Trump has postponed a decision on whether to enact previously planned increases to fuel efficiency standards. These Obama-era rules would raise the average vehicle’s official gas mileage to more than 50 miles per gallon by 2025.
- Chemicals: Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Scott Pruitt has overturned staff experts’ recommendation to bar a dangerous insecticide and watered down a key bipartisan toxic substances law.
- Defense: After the election, Trump criticized Lockheed Martin’s F-35 and Boeing Co.’s plans for a new Air Force One as glaring examples of government waste. He then proposed a budget plan that would enrich those same contractors with an increase to military spending of $54 billion.
- Education: Trump’s U.S. Department of Education is working to roll back rules established during the Obama administration that aim to protect students from predatory private colleges and student lenders.
- Energy: The Trump administration is delaying, weakening or repealing numerous clean air rules or policies that benefit public health and the Earth’s climate. Trump is favoring fossil fuel-based energy producers over the fast-growing and clean renewable energy sector.
- Financial Services: With bankers and bank industry lawyers now controlling policy and regulation, Trump has begun dismantling the guardrails that are meant to protect the public from Wall Street. He has reversed course on his promise to reestablish the separation between commercial and investment banking known as Glass-Steagall.
- Food: Since the election, Trump has catered to the demands of corporate food producers and agribusiness at the expense of food safety and children’s nutrition.
- Pharmaceuticals: After casting himself as an opponent of pharmaceutical industry greed during the campaign, Trump has fully caved in to the industry. The White House is now working to reduce patient protections and strengthen the industry’s monopoly power.
- Prisons: Trump’s extreme anti-immigration rhetoric on the campaign trail was music to the ears of the for-profit prison industry, which now has been rewarded with policies that would increase the number of incarcerated people and permit for-profit companies to house federal prisoners.
- Telecom: Trump signed legislation that permitted the telecom industry to sell consumers private internet browsing data. His Federal Communications Commission has proposed ending net neutrality protections approved in 2015 that bar internet providers from blocking or slowing internet traffic, a measure taken to prevent larger internet providers from steering customers to their own sites.
- Wealthy People: In his campaign, Trump promised to significantly reduce taxes on lower- and middle-income Americans, and to ask the wealthy to pay more. But an initial tax proposal from Trump would deliver massive benefits to the wealthy.
Candidate Trump promised to fix a rigged economic and political system. But President Trump has turned control of government over to the corporate elites he denounced during the campaign. At Public Citizen, we will keep shining a light on Trump’s brazen bait-and-switch scheme.
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