Thursday, September 21, 2017

Reason #5701 - #5710 That Trump Was Elected

Trump is making tons of progress while the media ignore it
. . . But this column is not about baneful Democrats, bashful Republicans, media dust-ups, the latest Hollywood lefty threatening to leave the country, or even the president's disinclination for politics-as-usual.

Rather, I offer an inventory of under-analyzed, unilateral U-turns undertaken during the initial stages of the Trump administration.

Illegal Immigration – Too much back and forth analysis regarding the long-promised "wall" has diverted attention from the fundamental issue: how best to restore security to our southern border. Yet, illegal border crossings are down dramatically. It appears that jawboning from the president and improved morale among border patrol officers has made a difference. Who would have thought human traffickers watch "Hannity"?

Legal Immigration – The often-vilified H1B visa program for skilled foreign workers was set up in order to fill positions left unfilled by American workers. The program has grown over the years (driven by support from U.S. technology companies) but now faces renewed scrutiny from a Trump administration serious about enforcement of our immigration laws. Recent media reports reflect an uptick in government requests for supporting documentation, especially for entry level wage applicants. All of which comports with the administration's focus on how illegal, low-skilled workers undermine U.S. labor markets.

Ballot Security – Republican-supported ballot security initiatives have sprung up around the country to much progressive angst. The most popular measure is "voter photo ID" – a ballot security measure that had been a favorite target of progressives (especially Obama's Department of Justice). Still, Democratic resistance, to what should be no-brainer measures, is ongoing. Seems that few on the left care to recognize how easy it is to obtain photo identification in today's world (just go to any DMV) or how many of our modern institutions require photo identification be supplied upon request. Fortunately, it appears that progressives' "racist" indictment against verifiable photo identification measures is losing steam. It's about time.

Housing - The Obama-era Department of Housing and Urban Development was deeply interested in pre-empting local zoning ordinances. The narrative is familiar: pick any subdivision where racial housing patterns are not to the federal government's liking, accuse the locals of discriminatory zoning practices, then negotiate a "settlement" that mandates the construction of new low-cost housing units even where there is no evidence of discrimination and the challenged local zoning laws are shown to be race-neutral. This mindset is a major departure from the notion that people should be free to live where they can afford to live. It is expected that Ben Carson's HUD will re-establish this view. Score one for common sense, restored.

Environment – In no particular order, the Trump administration has begun dismantling Obama's Clean Power Plan, reversed controversial federal monument land set-asides, withdrawn from the Paris Climate Accord, expedited pipeline construction, and championed American exports of liquefied natural gas. Trump is the anti-Obama in many respects, none more so than when it comes to energy exploration and independence.

Labor Relations – The Obama-era National Labor Relations Board had employers in its crosshairs for eight long years. That body sought to extend joint employer status to independent contractors (and franchisors), expand mandatory dues schemes, mandate disclosure demands on business owners, coerce workers into supporting union-organized elections, and double the weekly threshold for salaried workers to be exempt from overtime (a rule recently overturned by a federal judge and one that Obama's Labor Department admitted would require 2.5 million hours of additional paperwork alone). Today, Obama's job-killing machine is in the process of being shut down by a new Trump-designated Republican majority – yet another reason why employers are feeling more confident about the future these days.

Net Neutrality – Trump's new Federal Communications Commission chairman, Ajit Pai, is looking to overturn the Obama FCC's finding that the internet is more telecommunications service than information service. Few issues distinguish economic free marketers from centralized regulators more than this one. And a large segment of the public is paying close attention: the FCC received 21 million comments on Pai's proposal to reverse the Obama FCC's heavy-handed approach to telecom service. There is now solid evidence that reclassification has negatively impacted broadband build-out. Maybe, just maybe, freedom will win another round here, too.

Israel – The Jewish State again has a reliable friend in the Oval Office. The timing is perfect, as a historic coalition of the U.S., Israel, and leading Sunni Muslim allies bands together to oppose a terror-enabling Iranian regime and its chief sponsor, Russia. Out of sight and out of mind is the Obama administration's strong animus toward Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and his Likud Party. No wonder the Israeli prime minister seemed almost giddy during his initial sit-down with Trump. A bit of icing on the cake: Trump's rescission of Obama's last-second $221 million gift to the PLO.

Title IX – Obama's Department of Education used the law to significantly narrow due process rights for those accused of sexual harassment or sexual assault on campus. The changes included "guidance" requiring the lowering of a complainant's burden of proof from "clear and convincing" to a "preponderance of the evidence" standard. Of greater concern to some is the practice of discouraging accused students from cross examination of their accuser (in order to prevent the trauma of confrontation). The reliably left-leaning American Bar Association has raised concerns regarding the new, lower burden of proof, while many observers have serious concerns with a process that seeks to limit cross examination rights in these often emotional cases. Note also that dozens of wrongfully-accused students have successfully brought suit against their colleges over the past few years. New Education Secretary Betsy DeVos has promised to level the playing field – to the shock and dismay of progressive activists.

Cuba – Fewer American resources are going to prop up Raul Castro's despotic regime. The president's reversal of the Obama administration's liberalized business and tourism guidelines may have upset American businesses seeking new markets, but, in classic Trump verbiage, "This was a bad deal." In fact, in classic Obama terms, it was a one-way deal – no repatriation of wanted criminals, no relief for imprisoned human rights dissidents or persecuted prisoners of faith, no progress toward compensation for (long) aggrieved private property owners. Political note: those who perpetrated the notion that Obama's outreach would be a political winner for Hillary Clinton among Floridians of Cuban descent should check voter totals from Little Havana from Election Day.
A good start.

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