Donald Trump fulfilled another campaign promise Tuesday by bringing back all the jobs from Mexico and China. So, fine, he didn’t actually bring a single job back, but he signed an executive order that’s intended to give the appearance that some jobs may, someday, come back, and that is exactly the same thing, now isn’t it? At the Wisconsin headquarters of toolmaker Snap-On, Trump proudly remembered to sign the order before leaving this time, and said the order
declares that the policy of our government is to aggressively promote and use American-made goods and to ensure that American labor is hired to do the job.
We’re going to do everything in our power to make sure more products are stamped with those wonderful words “Made in the USA” […] For too long we’ve watched as our factories have been closed and our jobs have been sent to faraway lands.
Trump made no announcement as to whether he would shift manufacturing of Trump-branded crap to American factories; he may just be waiting to let other companies have first swing at bringing the jobs back.
The executive order doesn’t really change anything in American trade policy; rather it calls for stricter enforcement of existing rules:
H-2B program that lets Trump hire foreign workers for his stupid resort, because what, you expect him to sign something that would cost him money? Also, no crackdown on the H-2A visa program, which Eric Trump uses to bring in grape pickers for the Trump Winery
The executive order directs federal agencies to crack down on fraud and abuse in the H-1B visa program, which is heavily used by technology companies. And it directs the federal government to fully enforce federal guidelines prioritizing the use of American firms and goods in federal projects.
But maybe the order will bring some jobs back. The important thing is that it sounds like he’s bringing jobs back, which damn well ought to be good enough. As the San Diego Union-Tribune points out, the EO is long on rhetoric about Buying and Hiring American, but seriously short on tangible steps that will do that. It calls for a “review” of NAFTA, but doesn’t make any changes to the trade agreement. It targets “abuse” in the H-1B visa program without making any substantive changes in how the program will be administered. And it directs the secretary of Commerce to ensure that infrastructure projects use American materials and workers without giving much direction than that. Vox notes that one of the most likely results of the order will be to make transportation and infrastructure projects more expensive. Maybe after trump tackles repealing Obamacare and passing a tax cut for the rich, he’ll get around to funding some infrastructure projects.
So hooray! Trump has signed another executive order that does almost nothing, but will be very popular with people who don’t pay too much attention. The winning just doesn’t stop, does it?
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