Opinion

Pro-business Department of Labor needed in difficult times

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(Photo by ALEX EDELMAN/AFP via Getty Images)

Op-ed views and opinions expressed are solely those of the author.

The economy needs a boost and pro-business policies coming from the Trump Administration that will help get the economy humming again. President Donald J. Trump has recently issued a number of executive orders that will help stem the bleeding of the economy, yet more needs to be done by his administration to continue pro-business policies. America needs to get people back to work so the economy can soar the way it did earlier this year.

The statistics relating to economic growth are showing some big problems. While relief for struggling Americans is necessary, one must ask the questions “to what extent?” and “at what cost?” The New York Times reported on July 30, 2020, “the coronavirus pandemic’s toll on the nation’s economy became emphatically clearer Thursday as the government detailed the most devastating three-month collapse on record, which wiped away nearly five years of growth.” The Times reports that “gross domestic product, the broadest measure of goods and services produced, fell 9.5 percent in the second quarter of the year as consumers cut back spending, businesses pared investments and global trade dried up, the Commerce Department said.” If you annualize that number it would be 32.9% for the year and that was mitigated by the PPP program.

While America’s growth numbers are falling, the unemployment numbers are also cause for concern. According to the Department of Labor (DOL), the U.S. has experienced 19 weeks of unemployment claims exceeding one million applicants. These numbers are unprecedented, and the coronavirus pandemic has caused the dual problems of negative growth and high unemployment numbers. It was in February of this year that the President could boast that his Administration “created 5.3 million new jobs,” and “added 600,000 new manufacturing jobs.” The U.S. can get back to those great days with pro-business policies coming from the Departments of Commerce, Treasury and Labor. 

While the President understands the urgency of this economic crisis stemming from the pandemic, he still took measures to send monetary relief to millions of suffering Americans and signed executive orders providing other forms of relief as well. One of the executive orders which the President issued is a Memorandum for the Secretary of Labor that orders Secretary Eugene Scalia to authorize “the Other Needs Assistance Program for Major Disaster Declarations Related to Coronavirus Disease 2019” using “the Robert T. Stafford Disaster Relief and Emergency Assistance Act, 42 U.S.C. 5121-5207 (the “Stafford Act”)” as legal authority to provide a new round of unemployment assistance. This will help get people the aid they need while the economy grows in a way to get the unemployed back to work.

Another executive order penned by President Trump is a Memorandum for the Secretary of the Treasury that orders Secretary Steven Mnuchin to defer collection of the payroll tax as a means to encourage workers to work more hours. The two other executive orders relate to providing aid to renters and homeowners, and another on student loans. While these actions may be bold, the Trump Administration is attempting to restart the economy in the wake of the shutdown caused by the coronavirus pandemic. Politicians who are criticizing the President for singing these executive orders are also the ones who were in favor of the Obama Administration’s bypassing of Congress for the purpose of deferring allocated funds to the Affordable Care Act.

On the topic of the Obama Administration: in its waning hours, The Department of Labor filed a number of lawsuits against several government-contracted tech companies for the purpose of harassment by falsely accusing them of discrimination. These rouge lawsuits filed by an obscure agency against tech companies like Google and Oracle by the Office of Federal Contract Compliance Programs (OFCCP) are not supported by existing law.

The Chamber of Commerce issued a report on why this agency was acting in a manner that was harassing businesses with lawsuits, again not authorized by existing law. According to The Wall Street Journal Editorial Board in an editorial published on February 13, 2019, the lawsuit against Oracle was based on statistical analysis and the “department didn’t review worker applications or performance reviews to see if pay and hiring discrepancies could be explained by merit.” The DOL never compared the duties, skills and responsibilities of similarly situated employees at Oracle as required by law. In other words, they relied on statistics, rather than to do a real investigation to find employees to document and show actual discriminatory actions.

The OFCCP is still controlled by the objectives and policies of the Obama Administration, and the Trump Administration must reform the agency to its original basis of promoting fairness with regard to hiring and promotion of employees. Allowing what is essentially a form of legal activism to harass businesses and extort cash for perceived discrimination, runs contrary to free markets and the Trump Administration’s push to expand economic growth.

During this time when the economy needs a federal government with no agencies pumping the brakes on the economy, it is time for every corner of the Trump Administration to work towards the goal of getting the economy back to pre-coronavirus levels.

Morgan Anderson

Morgan Anderson worked most recently on a congressional campaign in Utah and has been deeply involved in advocacy work regarding the Middle East.
Morgan Anderson

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