YOU MAY RECALL that I told you in my Nov. 4, 2016 post, “As election day nears,” that word leaking out among union people revealed that, while Hillary Clinton campaign signs adorned the walls of union halls, many were privately planning to vote for Donald Trump. With wins in the highly union states of Pennsylvania, Ohio, Michigan and Wisconsin, one can assume that was true.
AND ON HIS FIRST BUSINESS DAY in the White House, President Trump hosted a meeting of construction and building trades union leaders and rank-and-file members to outline his interest in infrastructure improvements. “We have a common bond with the president,” said Sean McGarvey, president of North America’s Building Trades Unions, an umbrella group. “We come from the same industry. He understands the value of driving development, moving people to the middle class.” While the meeting was a smart move on the part of the president, he will have to confront unions on the Davis-Bacon Act, which requires the federal government to pay contractors and subcontractors locally prevailing wages as determined by the Labor Department. Conservative legislators contend that the act inflates the cost of infrastructure projects.
HE ALSO MET WITH BUSINESS CEO’S AND AUTO COMPANY HEADS to give them a preview of his plan to cut taxes and regulations in an effort to give them an incentive to expand their operations in the U.S. and create more jobs. I expect the president to relax those radical miles-per-gallon café standards of the Obama administration once Scott Pruitt, his new EPA administrator, is confirmed.
FOR THE SECOND DAY IN A ROW, members of the leftist media asked White House Spokesman Sean Spicer if the president was going to meet with the Black Caucus. While he again politely responded that the president would be meeting with a number of groups in the days ahead, he did not commit to meeting with the Black Caucus. Why should he? Many of them, led by Rep. John Lewis, consider the president illegitimate and boycotted his Inaugural Address. Let them stew awhile.
PRESIDENT TRUMP APPROVED the go-ahead to resume construction of the Keystone XL and Dakota Access pipelines. Before the Keystone work can begin, TransCanada Corporation must reapply with the U.S. Government, which I assume they have had ready with Trump’s presidential victory, as he voiced his approval of the pipeline during his campaign. It should be easy for the president to instruct the U. S. Corps of Engineers to reverse its decision on the Dakota pipeline. Trump is also requiring U.S. steel to be used in the pipeline.
ANOTHER OIL TANKER TRUCK ACCIDENT in Ohio, the third in a week, gives us more evidence that more oil spills are attributed to tanker truck and rail tanker accidents than from pipelines. Pipeline supporters show that it’s simply cheaper to transport by pipeline than by rail or truck, while reminding us of the Quebec train wreck that also killed 47 people. A train of 100 cars carries about 3 million gallons and takes more than three days to travel from Alberta, Canada to the Gulf Coast, while Keystone will carry about 35 million gallons per day at a cost of one-third that of rail transport. With a single truck carrying just 9,000 gallons, the math tells us that a million and a half trucks would be needed to replace movement by Keystone.
TRUMP’S SUPREME COURT PICK IS EXPECTED within a week. Neil Gorsuch, the 49-year old judge of the U.S. Tenth Circuit Court in Denver, is being talked about as the president’s choice.
SO FAR, the president’s emphasis has been on the economy and jobs, the number one concern of Americans, but I expect Secretary of Defense James Mattis has the joint chiefs and Pentagon brass working on a strategy to defeat ISIS for President Trump. Don’t expect the president to telegraph his plan, and don’t be surprised if they meet soon to discuss options.
DID YOU KNOW WE ARE AT NEAR FULL EMPLOYMENT? Fox News Channel’s liberal contributor Juan Williams said so on “The Five” today. Wrong! We have some 90 million willing and able people unemployed and our “real” unemployment rate (U-6) is at about 10 per cent.
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