Thursday, January 04, 2018

More Trump Gifts To His Base: A Lump of Coal For Christmas

Coal miners were extensively used in Trump's campaign speeches.  They may or may not have voted for him, but coal mining is what Trump promised to resuscitate in the US:

President Donald Trump spent much of his campaign promising to bring back coal, an industry that he said then-President Barack Obama had demoralized with too many regulations. So in July when Trump declared at a rally that he had created 45,000 coal jobs since the start of his presidency, many coal miners rejoiced.

The only problem seems to be that number was nowhere close to true. In fact, since the beginning of Trump's presidency, just 1,200 coal-mining jobs have been created, according to monthly reports by the Bureau of Labor Statistics. In fact, the 1,200 coal jobs during Trump's presidency thus far are just 100 more than were created between August and December 2016 under President Obama.

Place all that against this news:  Coal mining deaths are higher in 2017 than in 2016, and the Trump administration is considering these regulatory changes:

Last month the Trump administration brought up for review standards implemented by Barack Obama’s administration that lowered the allowable limits for miners’ exposure to coal dust. MSHA indicated it is reconsidering rules meant to protect underground miners from breathing coal and rock dust — the cause of black lung — and diesel exhaust, which can cause cancer.
So if the coal miners got a lump of coal in their stockings this Christmas, who is it who received real presents? 

The wealthiest one percent of Americans and corporations*. 

Corporations are now people (thanks, Citizens United), and it is the mining corporations which benefit from relaxed health regulations, just as it is the industries which benefit from a rollback of disability rights or from reduced use of fines  to stop negligent nursing homes from harming their residents.

All that red regulatory tape that has now been cut just may have held together the health and well-being of some workers and consumers.  But they are not Trump's real base.

* As was made very clear with the enormous tax "relief" the richest among us got from the Republican's tax "reform."