Every other Thursday, the Equal Voice News digest, “Making It in Trump’s America: People, Policy & Poverty,” will track the latest from the Trump administration and whether its policies are creating poverty or prosperity. We’ll have reports from families and grassroots organizations working on those issues around the country. Here’s our latest:
White House Talks, Workers and Families Walk After 100 Days
On April 29, President Donald Trump marked his first 100 days in office with a lot of sound and fury. But, what did it really signify?
The outlook for his key campaign promises, including his plan for a massive infrastructure investment and a border wall, remains cloudy at best. Even repealing Obamacare faces a stormy future in the U.S. Senate. The White House can point to its flurry of executive orders, new Supreme Court Justice, and burgeoning effort to roll back regulations.
When it comes to jobs, though, there has been more fury than anything else.
Two days after Trump’s 100th day, workers and families took to the streets in annual May Day celebrations and protests around the country, May Day protests put spotlight on tech’s other immigrant workers. (CNN)
Here is a taste from Northern California:
“Yesterday, tech industry janitors, security officers, and cafeteria workers took to the streets, joining thousands for May Day in Silicon Valley. Together we marched through San Jose, tearing down symbolic walls of oppression and saying it’s time to build bridges, not walls,” Derecka Mehrens, co-founder of Silicon Valley Rising wrote.
- Trump’s Efforts Won’t Bring Back Coal, New Report Claims. (Bloomberg BNA). Background from May 3, 2016: “Power Failure: Appalachia Plans for Life Beyond Coal.”
- A future of shrinking jobs: Most workers today are underpaid, and it gets worse (Salon)
Looking for Jobs? Look to States and Communities
News on jobs and pay is a lot more positive if we turn our attention to action in some local communities.
In Arizona, raising the minimum wage appears to be a good idea: “Employment at Arizona restaurants, bars surges after minimum-wage increase,” The Arizona Daily Star reports. In Congress, many Democrats agree. “Bernie Sanders and Democrats Are Introducing A New $15 Minimum Wage Bill,” according to the Huffington Post.
Out in the West, in Nevada, “Minimum Wage Remains Hot Topic in Nevada Legislature,” KTVN reports.
In the South, “New Orleans City Hall custodians will get ‘living wage’; union wants back pay,” The Times-Picayune found.
Repeal-and-Replace Moves, but How Far?
Meanwhile, the soap opera that is repeal-and-replace of Obamacare continues…in the Senate, since House Republicans finally passed their plan, (The Associated Press).
Want to know why it’s been so hard? Here’s one idea: Maybe “the Affordable Care Act has actually helped a lot of people…” a Post opinion piece suggests.
In Alabama, it’s helped Hank Adcock, a farmer and his family.
Families USA has a few other reasons.
“Despite today’s wheeling and dealing, the GOP repeal bill still drops the coverage guarantee for people with pre-existing conditions, strips coverage from millions, and drives up costs for millions more. A measly $8 billion handout isn’t going to change that. The bill also decimates Medicaid – more than $800 billion in cuts,” the group’s executive director, Frederick Isasi, said in a statement earlier this week.
On the topic of health care and ideas. If hospitals are struggling to fill lower level jobs here is “A new idea for filling hard-to-fill health-care jobs: Ex-offenders,” The Washington Post reports.
Want to Help Poor Families? Offer Them Preschool and Training.
Speaking of good ideas, a particularly compelling one is pairing high-quality preschool for kids with effective job training for their parents, “A Path Out Of Poverty: Career Training + Quality Head Start.” (NPR)
What We’re Reading
The administration is making noise about law and order. The Brennan Center reviewed what they are actually doing in “Criminal Justice in President Trump’s First 100 Days.”
It’s not going well, they found.
“So far, many of the administration’s actions are symbolic. But they evidence a clear return to the discredited “tough on crime” rhetoric of the 1990s… Trump’s turn also directly contradicts the emerging consensus among conservatives, progressives, law enforcement, and researchers that the country’s incarceration rate is too high, and that our over-reliance on prison is not the best way to address crime. As crime remains near historic lows – despite local, isolated increases – these proposed changes are, ultimately, solutions in search of a problem.
Check it out.
(Sources: Jobs With Justice digest, Associated Press, news outlets, and, of course, our neighbors. Paul Nyhan is the senior writer for Equal Voice News, which is published by Marguerite Casey Foundation. Ebony Slaughter-Johhnson, an Equal Voice News contributor, provided research assistance with this digest.)