Pu's News: Trump's Tasks

Donald Trump is going to be the next president of the United States. You may hate it, you may fear it, you may complain about it, but it is done.

For average news consumers, Donald Trump did not seem to have anything come out of his campaign except controversy after controversy. But, as it turns out, Donald Trump does have policies, and we need to understand them to understand the next four years.

The Trump campaign released the “First 100 Days” plan back in October, and many of Trump’s policies have been thoroughly examined. 

His plans cover things like mass deportations of undocumented immigrants, re-starting the Keystone Pipeline, banning refugees from Middle Eastern nations, repealing the Affordable Care Act, and appointing a new conservative Supreme Court Justice.

Some of these proposals seem cut-and-dry, but some of them are a little bit more confusing or need some more explaining. Pu’s News has your back.

Propose a constitutional amendment to impose term limits on all members of congress

First off, the president cannot propose a constitutional amendment. Only Congress can do that.  After that, it needs to be approved with a two-thirds majority vote.

After it has been approved by Congress, it goes to all the state governors. Then the governors must send the amendment to their state legislatures. 38 state legislatures need to approve the amendment before it becomes part of the constitution.

The president actually has no part in the ratification process. At best, they can sign the amendment as witnesses. Presidents have no authority over signing the constitutional amendment into law. 

Will Congress work to pass a constitutional amendment that goes against its direct interests? Maybe… maybe not.

Put into place a hiring freeze on all federal employees (exempting military, public safety, public health)

The federal workforce adds up to some 1.8 million permanent employees. 15% of the federal workforce is based in the Washington area, and the rest are spread out across the rest of the nation. The idea is that if a freeze is in place, the federal workforce will shrink due to people quitting their jobs, retiring, or taking buyouts.

This idea has been proposed several times in budget plans by GOP legislators as a method to cut costs, but Trump proposes it as a tactic to clean up corruption in the Federal employee pool. Federal worker unions say it will have “a severe negative impact… on services.”

A requirement that for every new federal regulation, two existing regulations must be eliminated.

The Congressional Budget Office tracks “major rulings” on federal regulations, which are rules that result in an annual economic loss of 100 million dollars or more. According to a report in 2015, Obama has issued “82 major rules per year on average over the past five years” making a total of 410 rulings from 2010 to 2015.

There have been significantly more minor federal regulations passed in that time span, but the vague wording and the high elimination rate of federal regulations of Trump's policy may result in a staggering amount of regulations being cut from the Federal Register.

Federal regulations, by their definition, are put in place to protect consumers and voters and put a damper on negative externalities, which is a fancy-pants way of describing a negative effect of an economic activity, like pollution. Elimination of frivolous regulations may be a good thing, but rampant discarding of regulations could lead to negative impacts on American society.

Cancel billions in payments to U.N. climate change programs and use the money to fix America’s water and environmental infrastructure.

The United Nations Green Climate Fund was created under the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change. It hopes to raise 100 billion dollars by 2020. Several months ago, the Obama administration sent 500 million dollars to the fund in an effort to fight climate change. Obama had hoped to send 3 billion dollars to the fund.

What will canceling the fund do?

The Green Climate Fund hopes to help fund developing nations adapt and mitigate effects of the changing climate. If the United States withdraws, climate change programs like the Green Climate Fund could be in serious jeopardy. If the United States withdraws, others may see the world’s most powerful country repudiate climate change mitigation, and they may follow.

Label China to be a currency manipulator

Trump embraces an issue popular with many lawmakers and domestic manufacturers, who argue China artificially depresses the value of its currency to reduce the price of its exports and to make imports more expensive. So, he vows to label China as a currency manipulator.

What will that do? Well, nothing. Foreign Policy noted that in 2012 after Mitt Romney wanted to label China as a currency manipulator, the US and China would negotiate the proper exchange rate. They already do. FP also notes that just because you label a nation to be a currency manipulator doesn’t mean any action will be taken.

Policies like the ones are really emblematic of a larger Trump presidency. They may sound good, but are functionally meaningless. Policies like these echo a larger, broader complaint by the American people, but remain devoid of substance.

It is really emblematic of a Trump administration.

Donald Trump is going to be your next president. You may hate him, you may fear him, you may complain about him. But in an election cycle largely bereft of substance, you should know what he stands for.