Donald Trump’s New Economic Agenda: More Food Poisoning, More Government Subsidies of Low-Wage Employers

food

Donald Trump unveiled a new economic agenda today, marking his third attempt at a tax plan in less than a year. But this was more than just taxes—it’s an “agenda” that aspires to serve a bunch of conservative masters while never once aspiring to coherence.

It must be said, though, that Trump’s conservative masters are pretty happy with the plan. The Wall Street Journal has gone gaga over it, running an editorial from Michael Saltsman titled “Don’t Raise the Minimum Wage: Trump Has a Better Plan.” That better plan? It’s to increase the Earned Income Tax Credit, which basically would pay out based on how much or how little a taxpayer earns. According to Saltsman, this is a pro-business idea. Which is true, but artificially so. By not raising the minimum wage and offering a higher EITC in its place, government is basically subsidizing low-income employers. (Nick Hanauer wrote about this at length back in May.) So much for small government. So much for the free market.

Anyway, as I just told you yesterday, proponents of trickle down economics employ three major tactics to ensure that the top one percent benefits from inequality:

1. Tax cuts for the rich.

2. Deregulation for the powerful.

3. Wage suppression for everyone else.

You’ll see these three tactics throughout Trump’s economic agenda. Especially the deregulation bit. Here’s the part of the plan that’s getting the most attention right now:

Specific regulations to be eliminated include: …The FDA Food Police, which dictate how the federal government expects farmers to produce fruits and vegetables and even dictates the nutritional content of dog food. The rules govern the soil farmers use, farm and food production hygiene, food packaging, food temperatures, and even what animals may roam which fields and when. It also greatly increased inspections of food “facilities,” and levies new taxes to pay for this inspection overkill.

Yeah, you read that right. Donald Trump wants to save government money by cutting the regulations that keep our food safe to eat. If you’ve listened to the interview with food safety super-lawyer Bill Marler in our podcast on paid sick leave, you know that this is a terrible idea. Even with the regulatory framework that we already enjoy, there have been way too many produce-based salmonella and listeria outbreaks in the last few years.

The other regulations Trump wants to cut involve environmental protections and regulations on the energy industry, which would likely mean more fracking, less safety in our oil extraction methods, and more environmental mayhem. Combine that with artificially low wages supported by government and a tax plan that benefits the super-rich Trump family with an end to the estate tax and a dramatic lowering of corporate tax rates and you’ve got a plan to turn America into a theme park: Trickle Down Land, where the one percent thrives in luxury and everyone else has to fend for themselves.

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Paul Constant
Paul Constant has written about politics, books, and film for Newsweek, The Progressive, the Utne Reader, and alternative weeklies around the country.