Ignore the tweets. Here’s 10 ways Trump just benefited your business.
(This post originally appeared on The Washington Post)
Think about this: while you and I and the rest of the American public have been caught up in Donald Trump’s tweeting and Comey and Russia and all the other craziness, his administration has been busy behind the scenes doing many things that would be upsetting many more people – if we all weren’t so distracted.
If it’s a strategy, it’s not a bad one. Particularly because those very actions are intended to benefit business persons like me.
- For example, on Jan. 30, the president signed an order directing departments and agencies to cut two regulations for every one created and to offset new spending caused by regulations with an equal decrease in costs. On Feb. 24, he ordered every agency to have a person (a Regulatory Reform Officer) review and make recommendations for modifying regulations.
- Then there’s the environment. On March 28, the president directed the Environment Protection Agency to review former President Obama’s Clean Power Plan with the eye of reducing the regulatory burden on the oil, natural gas, coal and nuclear energy industries. Just recently, he pulled out of the Paris Climate Treaty. His position – like many others in business – is that less regulations mean that these industries can produce less expensive energy to help power the economy and create jobs.
- The administration is quietly gearing up for trade fights – maybe even a trade war. The “Omnibus Report on Significant Trade Deficits” order signed on March 31 (with more teeth added by the “Addressing Trade Agreement Violation and Abuses” order on April 29) directed the Commerce Department to look at all trade practices with the aim of challenging those countries that are deemed to be treating the U.S. unfairly. Sure, there are American companies that could suffer. But how many times must I hear complaints from my clients about other nations that dump products, manipulate currencies, steal intellectual property and give lucrative contracts to others in their country in lieu of Americans?
While the media has been distracted with Ivanka and Jared, Michael Flynn, Sean Spicer, Kathy Griffin, SNL, wire-tapping, manly handshakes and “covfefe,” Trump’s administration has continued to churn out order after order that benefits businesses. More examples:
- His “Buy American, Hire American” order (April 18) gives priority to U.S. companies that hire non-immigrants and make goods domestically.
- The “Promoting Agriculture and Rural Prosperity in America” order (April 25) created a task force to come up with ways to reduce regulations that will help farmers grow.
- The “Implementing an America-First Offshore Energy Strategy” (April 28) reverses a ban on arctic leasing and opens up oil and gas drilling opportunities for energy companies.
- The “Promoting Free Speech and Religious Liberty” (May 4) directive allows some businesses to not comply with the Affordable Care Act.
- Trump’s Labor Department is already making moves to rescind the “persuader rule” which forces labor lawyers to publicly divulge when they are hired by companies in labor disputes. It also is moving to roll back other rules that increased the regulatory oversight of franchise and contractor businesses.
- The Labor Department will also unlikely pursue a significant increase in overtime pay that was to take effect last year – an order currently stuck in the courts.
- That same department is currently in the process of disbanding a division that polices discrimination among federal contractors and may fold the Federal Contract Compliance program into another government agency.
Yes, many of these actions could unwind rules that protect workers, product safety, our health and the environment. They could mean the loss of protected federal lands and wildlife and the prospect of increased global warming, rising oceans and ozone depletion. We risk upsetting our allies, creating uncertainty in markets and compromising our national security. I’m aware and concerned of these potential problems. So are my clients. There are always new problems.
Trump’s belief is that by creating a business-friendly environment, the private sector will have the freedom to grow the economy, create jobs, build wealth – and along with some assistance from the government – innovate ways to solve these problems. No one really knows for sure. But he’s certainly giving the business community a chance to prove him right – and his tweets are providing him cover to accomplish that objective.