GM workers are on strike for better pay, greater profit sharing and the end to lower pay and benefits for temp worker jobs. GM is trying to move towards cleaner, less polluting and higher gas efficiency motor vehicles. President Trump is revoking California’s waiver for cleaner air, less polluting vehicles and pursuing anti-trust actions against those car manufacturers working with California towards less pollution, fewer greenhouse gases and higher gas mileage.
It looks as if Iran was responsible either directly or indirectly for the attack on Saudi oil production. This took out 5% of the world’s oil production and will probably next lead to gas shortages and price hikes around the world. We’ll see what happens soon.
The Constitution prohibits Presidential emoluments from foreign governments, from the US government or state governments. (Article 1, Section 9, Clause 8 and Article 2, Section 1, Clause 8) The purpose is to prevent government corruption. The prohibition against emoluments applies to other top government officials like members of Congress, Cabinet members and ambassadors, etc. “Black’s Law Dictionary defines an “emolument” as an “advantage, profit, or gain received as a result of one’s employment or one’s holding of office”. https://fas.org/sgp/crs/misc/IF11086.pdf
America’s democracy depends on truth, law and civility. As American lawyers, we stand up for those values when they are attacked. Our national political leaders must tell the truth, so the American people know what the facts are to evaluate proposed public policies and politicians’ behavior to hold their politicians accountable. Adherence to the Constitution, laws and fundamental, American democratic principles and norms is essential to the fair and effective functioning of our government. It enables the people’s elected legislators to determine the rules under which we live and to prevent abuse by any official. Civil treatment of all people by government officials is essential to the American creed that “all men are created equal,” the core American belief in the dignity of each person.
The Trump Administration has alienated many of our most important and long standing allies in Europe, has further destabilized the Middle East and has cozied up to dictators in Russia and North Korea. The President has ruined long-standing trade relationships and alliances and weakened important advances in international law, such as the Climate Change Agreement and Nuclear Non-Proliferation Agreements with Russia and Iran. It will take some time and much effort for the next President to repair the damages he has wrought in such a short time in office.
Labor and capital are two sides of the same coin – a productive economy or a failed economy. Right now trade unions represent only 10% of American workers, down from over 1/3rd in the 50’s, and only about 6% of private sector employees. The union movement is weak, as we have entered a new Gilded Age of great and rising inequality in our society. We need to rebuild it.
When the next President takes office in 2021, the US economy, the federal budget and the vulnerable people and regions of America could be in dire straits. We know that the US will be running annual budget deficits of $1 trillion or more. We may be in a recession, its length or depth unknown; we don’t know whether it will hit the financial markets, the housing markets, manufacturing, agriculture energy or the service sector or all of the above. We may still be in a trade war with China, hiking the costs of many consumer goods by 15-25%. The lower income half of all Americans have still not fully recovered economically from the Great Recession, and younger generations are mired in student debt and unable to afford their first family home. The depth of economic distress in regions like the Appalachians and the Mississippi Delta may be continuing unabated or worsening. Manufacturing may still be in recession, and American farmers may still be in dire straits due to the trade war with China. Our allies and trusted trading partners may be few and highly alienated. Our trade deficit may be large and growing. Alternatively, the trade war may be over and the economy could be improving; let’s hope for the latter, but at least contemplate and be prepared for the former.
Immigrants built our nation; they contribute enormously to our economic successes. They are young, hard working, entrepreneurial, talented and immensely grateful for the opportunities to live in the US. They bring great value to our nation ranging from our nation’s farms to Silicon Valley.
President Trump has made his tough stance on legal immigration and undocumented immigrants the hallmark of his administration from his first speech calling Mexican immigrants rapists and murders, through the caged and separated children at the border to the most recent refusal to acknowledge citizenship for the children born abroad to naturalized citizen American service persons and diplomats who are serving their nation overseas. His get tough at the border policies have for the most part been failing and the numbers of people seeking asylum and being detained at the Southern US border have been increasing to their highest levels since 2000 on his watch.