I realize this list will be blank for many people. I admit it wasn’t easy to come up with anything myself, but to every cloud there is a silver lining — even if it’s a total freak accident.
So take a minute and check out the three things I’m begrudging grateful to Trump for in the video below. After that, I’ll explain it and talk about what Trump thinks he’s actually done.
Best 100 days EVER
On Saturday, Trump celebrated a date he’s dreaded and whined about for weeks. Compare…
No matter how much I accomplish during the ridiculous standard of the first 100 days, & it has been a lot (including S.C.), media will kill!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) April 21, 2017
Then this: “My fellow Americans, I truly believe that the first 100 days of my administration has been just about the most successful in our country’s history,” Trump said. “Our country is going up, and it’s going up fast.”
The only thing going up fast is his disapproval rating — the highest in history at this point in a presidency. (And by the way, his Twitter following is petering out too. Although he only has a third of the followers Obama does, anyway.)
Yes, the stock market is up. There’s not much evidence it has anything to do with Trump. It also went up like this when Obama was re-elected — from a Dow Jones Industrial Average of 12,600 around Election Day to about 15,000 at the start of May, a 19 percent jump. And it kept climbing throughout his post-recession term.
To compare the same period, it was about 17,900 when Trump won, and it’s about 21,000 now — a 17 percent jump. Not as yuge as Obama’s, and arguably not as meaningful — with Obama four years ago, investors already knew what they were in for.
Jobs? Job growth from the “jobs president” has been meh. This has been the worst quarter for jobs since the start of 2011. I argued he shouldn’t be judged on jobs until the end of summer, but he keeps bragging about how great he is doing, so obviously he thinks it’s a good metric.
We’ve also had 0.3 percent GDP growth since Inauguration Day, the slowest rate in seven years and far short of the 4 percent annual growth Trump promised. That might be a sign consumers aren’t that confident in Trump’s economic policy, or it might be a blip in the data. But it’s definitely not what Trump said.
If he can’t take credit for a great economy, what’s he so proud of? He hasn’t passed any substantive legislation, either, despite promising lots.
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) October 25, 2016
Despite a Republican-dominated Congress, none of these things has happened — Trump hasn’t signed anything since April 19. He’s just repealed lots of Obama regulations. Although thanks to the Internet, you can make up some laws for him.
Trump says his big accomplishment so far is appointing Neil Gorsuch to the Supreme Court, and I’ll be keeping an eye on how that goes for him. But you don’t really get credit for something that only fell into your lap because Republicans stonewalled Obama’s nominee for an unprecedented year, either.
So: Total failure to matter on pretty much all fronts.
Now, where was I? Oh, right, the good things Trump did for me.
1. Exploiting low-salary workers
In the video above, I called this Obama’s “barista rule.” It’s called that because lots of employers, including coffeehouses, are categorizing generally hourly positions as salaried to make people work longer hours for less money. Generally, salaried positions come with more trust, flexibility, and responsibility, but employers can also simply use them to get around paying overtime.
In theory, Obama’s rule would’ve given 4.2 million more Americans access to overtime pay by doubling the eligibility threshold to $47,500. Anyone working on salary under that amount would be entitled to mandatory overtime pay, just like an hourly employee. But at the end of Obama’s administration, a federal judge sided with business groups that had sued and paused implementation of the rule. It was supposed to take effect after the election, but Trump signaled that he wouldn’t defend it in court the way Obama had, effectively killing it without doing anything. (Which is apparently the only way Trump gets things done.)
In practice, the rule would’ve hurt me and probably a lot of other people because employers don’t want to suddenly pay people a lot more money for the work they’re already doing. As an editor, I’m on salary, though not a terribly high one. I was going to be converted to an hourly position at the same pay rate because of the rule. So even though my job involves reading, typing, and talking over email and the phone — things I can literally do anywhere — I would’ve been shackled to the office on a fixed schedule so I can use an old-fashioned time card system.
I was pretty annoyed about the change, and glad when Trump prevented it. It’s admittedly a very privileged problem to have, and I’d rather have the rule in place if it actually would’ve gotten people more money for people who deserved it. But I kind of doubt it would have. It wasn’t very well designed because — here’s a running theme — Obama had to implement it through existing federal regulations, instead of legislation, because a Republican Congress wouldn’t do anything about it.
2. Destroying Obamacare
This one hasn’t actually happened, though Trump promised it and keeps banging his head against that wall.
I hate the way Obamacare was implemented. Democrats rammed it through over Republican opposition and lost some of its key supports in the process. It doesn’t work the way it’s supposed to, a lot of people fall through gaps, and it leaves too much control to people who just don’t care about consumers. And it never got fixed.
So I don’t have health insurance. I’m not eligible for a subsidy because my job offers health plans the federal government considers affordable, but which I don’t. I could technically afford the cheaper of the two for myself and my wife. But it’s a high-deductible plan that puts more of the financial burden of health care on my shoulders, and it’s meant for protecting yourself from a health disaster. Since I’m young and more or less healthy, I don’t consider the “free” preventive care the plan would provide to be worth the cost. I’d rather pay the tax penalty for not having insurance, and I have for the past few years because it’s cheaper.
It keeps going up, though, trying to force people to take the insurance. So if Trump repealed Obamacare, it would personally save me more than $1,000 a year. I don’t want that to happen because it would hurt millions of Americans far more, but if I were a self-centered Trump voter I would consider it a great idea.
Even without legislation, the president has some control over what happens with Obamacare. Trump supposedly told the IRS in February to stop enforcing Obamacare fines by not rejecting tax returns that don’t mention your insurance status. But my tax software asked me anyway, and I didn’t want to tempt fate, especially over money that helps maintain a program a lot of people desperately need.
3. Bashing the media
Trump’s 100 days speech Saturday spent a lot of time talking about how dishonest the media are about his accomplishments.
Throughout the 2016 campaign and the ongoing 2020 campaign there’s been a lot of name-calling. Despite Trump being a brand new president with lots of responsibilities to learn since he’s never held public office before, he’s already filed for reelection and held campaign rally-style events like this one where he slams various groups that don’t support him. We in the media are, variously: fake news, liars, horrible people, no-talent, enemies of the American people, failing, failing piles of garbage, etc.
This one I can unequivocally say is awesome. I’m glad Trump hates us. (Or pretends to.) Journalists don’t like being liked — it gives us a sickening gut feeling that we overlooked some big wrong.
And our readers are glad Trump hates us, too. The New York Times, Donald Trump’s favorite punching bag, reported its paid subscription rate went up tenfold in the three weeks after Election Day. When Trump slammed Vanity Fair, it had its largest subscription-boosting day ever. Even slightly right-leaning papers like The Wall Street Journal are seeing spikes.
In the Trump era of do-nothing-but-pretend-you’re-doing-everything-better-than-everyone-ever, people are hungry for non-alternative facts. So at least on this point, I can unironically say: Thanks, Trump.
Article last modified on May 23, 2017. Published by Debt.com, LLC .