Trump’s EPA destroys his justification for slashing California fuel economy standards

It seems like it would be a Herculean task to convince the American people that it is in their best interests to spend more of their hard-earned wages on fuel to go to work, school, the doctor, and the local grocer. Obviously, no sane American thinks it is a good idea to purposely spend more on fuel than is necessary, but that kind of thinking is not going to create more wealth for the fossil fuel industry; higher fuel efficiency is anathema to big oil.

So Trump, in a continuing effort to sate the greed of big oil, is now proposing all manner of bovine excrement reasons to put a stop to higher fuel-economy standards for motor vehicles; and he claims he has scientific and expert proof to justify his crusade.

In an effort to stop Obama-era fuel economy standards, Trump has come up with some seriously bizarre arguments for why Americans will welcome paying more to drive. It was almost incomprehensible that the meathead administration claimed that lower gas mileage was Trump’s way of protecting the lives of Americans. The assertion was a typically unbelievable Trump contention in technologically advanced  21stCentury America: If fuel economy is poor, then the people could not afford to drive and would just stay home and off the roads. The administration’s reasoning was that being economically forced to spend less time on the road would reduce Americans’ chances of getting in a car accident. The claim might have made sense if America was the size of Vermont and had a robust mass transit system, but mass transit, like environmental protections, is as terrifying to the oil industry as higher-fuel economy vehicles.

The administration also claimed it had Americans’ well-being in mind in promoting the safety advantages of driving heavier cars as another justification for Trump’s campaign to slash fuel efficiency standards by about 25 percent.

Trump’s plan to aid big oil was alleged to be supported by data based on computer modeling the Department of Transportation and EPA said  justified slashing fuel economy standards. However, it was just revealed that back in June “senior officials at the Environmental Protection Agency privately warned [the data] is flawed and unsupportable.” After a month of peddling fake news with fake data about why Americans will have to buy more gas and drive heavier, less fuel-efficient vehicles; the “private warning” became public courtesy of “newly released agency documents.”

Despite senior officials’ warnings, the special interests running Trump’s EPA made clear when it first unveiled the proposal that Trump is resolved to freeze mileage targets for six years. That intention is precisely “the alternative the senior EPA officials found the  least supportable.” Indeed, even automobile manufacturers were concerned that Trump is overreaching and creating uncertainty and distress in the industry. Car makers may not like working to achieve higher fuel efficiency, but they damn sure know the consumers want and will continue buying higher-mileage vehicles.

It is no joke. Trump’s EPA is promoting an archaic idea to frighten Americans to convince them that California’s fuel efficiency targets have to be drastically weakened to prevent more Americans from dying. It is noteworthy that 17 other states have joined a California-led coalition suing to block Trump’s gift to big oil because it includes revoking “the authority California and other states were granted under the Clean Air Act to pursue clean air targets” – something that actually protects citizens’ health. Now California and its cohort states have Trump’s EPA warnings to justify their battle to provide their residents something every American alive likely believes is not insane – higher fuel efficiency automobiles and cleaner air due to less carbon emissions.

As a smattering of outlets, primarily those concerned with the environment, have noted, the revelations from EPA officials will be “a potent weapon in the legal arsenal of California and the states allied with it suing the Trump administration.” As noted in the L.A. Times, Trump proceeded with an insane plan after his EPA officials “raised multiple red flags in June about Trump’s assertion that higher fuel efficiency targets will result in a surge of traffic deaths.”

A month after those “official warnings,” Trump released a plan that is “grounded in several assumptions experts cautioned were indefensible,” and in fact “would be detrimental to safety, rather than beneficial.” The proposal would force Americans to buy more gasoline, and suffer the adverse health effects of higher carbon emissions that are the result of burning more gasoline. (author bold)

The director of the Safe Climate Campaign and affiliate with the Center for Auto Safety, Dan Becker, addressed Trump’s intent to sell more gasoline by contradicting his assertion that higher fuel economy standards contribute to higher traffic fatalities. Mr. Becker said:

Fatalities have declined while fuel economy standards have become more stringent since they first took effect in the 1970’s. The reason is better technology and design, not the changing weight of vehicles.”

Senator Thomas R. Carper (D-DE) is the ranking member of the Senate Committee on Environment and Public Works and he stated the obvious:

“As if it isn’t bad enough that the Trump administration’s proposal deals a major blow to American consumers, automakers and equipment manufacturers, and the environment, today we obtained even more evidence that it’s based on bogus science and fundamentally flawed assumptions.

The administration’s own EPA itemized its technical concerns about the plan’s baseless claims, but the White House seems to have willfully ignored much of it and chose instead to release a deeply flawed proposed rule that almost certainly will be struck down in court. The facts might be inconvenient for the Trump administration, but this White House cannot simply dismiss the clear science, especially against the advice of its own experts.”

Mr. Becker is right, of course, except the part about the White House not dismissing “the clear science” or “the advice of its own experts.” Trump doesn’t accept scientific evidence about anything, and as far as following, or even considering, the advice of his own experts, remember that he was advised against withdrawing from the Trans Pacific Partnership, the Paris Climate Accord, and the Iran Nuclear agreement, as well as imposing tariffs on America’s allies.

Although the recently revealed “warnings” from Trump’s own EPA dealt primarily with the insanity of imposing rules to sell more gasoline, the devastating impact on the environment of burning more fossil fuels cannot be ignored or understated. States like California and its partners pursuing higher mileage standards are not on a crusade to hurt big oil or create problems for the auto industry; they are attempting to protect their residents from the dire health effects of purposely increasing carbon emissions.

Of course Trump could not possibly care less about the health of Californians or any American alive now or the foreseeable future. It is worth mentioning again that even before his drive to force Americans to buy more gas due to reduced fuel efficiency, his EPA actions thus far will, “under the most conservative estimate, cost the lives of over 80 000 US residents per decade and lead to respiratory problems for many more than 1 million people.”

The only good news out of this story is that although legal experts claimed the Trump crusade would be difficult to defend in court, it will be even more of a task to defend an action his own experts claim is “unsupportable, indefensible, and detrimental to safety, rather than beneficial.” The bad news is that Trump is as opposed to experts as he is determined to decimate the environment no matter how many Americans he kills in the process – a fact that became evident to many Americans shortly after his poorly attended inauguration.

Trump will have blood on his hands by eliminating California’s emissions waiver

It is no secret that Republicans despise California because the majority of its people hold beliefs contrary to everything conservatives love. It is particularly true that Trump hates California whether it is because the state’s economy is humming along after the people voted to raise taxes, or because the majority of the people recognize that Trump is a worthless charlatan, or because the people love and desire clean air and water enough to support environmental regulations.

There is not much Trump can do about the majority of Californians detesting him on general principles, something he knew before his poorly attended inauguration. But he and Republicans have punished the people for raising taxes by eliminating their ability to deduct them on their federal income tax returns.

Now Trump is preparing to punish Californians’ health and welfare, and their economic lives,  by revoking the Golden State’s authority to set its own vehicle emission and fuel efficiency standards; actions that would provide no benefits whatsoever for the people. It is just one reason why the majority of Californians abhor Trump.

There are a couple of reasons Trump is punishing Californians this time; likely one reason is to repay the oil industry for its electoral support. The oil industry does oppose environmental regulations nearly as much as they hate the idea of higher fuel efficiency standards. There is also the issue of California refusing to force its law enforcement agencies to become de facto ICE and Border Patrol agents. Trump’s obsession with eliminating anything beneficial to the American people that occurred during a real President, Barack Obama’s tenure in the White House is also a contributing factor in his decision to inflict serious harm on Californians.

The rumors thus far are that Trump is going use the EPA to bring a screeching halt California’s ability to set its own fuel efficiency standards, and put the brakes on the state’s ability to regulate greenhouse gas emissions from automobiles in place under the Clean Air Act (CLA). In 2009, California earned a waiver under the CLA allowing it to set emissions standards for cars and trucks that exceed those of the federal government. States’ rights Republicans opposed the waiver because the Koch brothers oppose the concept of emissions standards as a matter of course.

The idea of putting a halt to higher fuel efficiency standards will impact more than just Californians because Trump, like the oil industry, wants all Americans to buy more fuel; Trump’s assault on fuel efficiency will be a nationwide affair. Although the economic injury of paying more for transportation is not necessarily life threatening, but ending California’s ability to set higher car and truck emission standards is.

According to the World Health Organization, California’s San Joaquin valley, a region known as “America’s salad bowl,” has the worst air pollution in the entirety of the United States. That pollution in and around fertile farmland providing much of the country’s, and the world’s, fruits, nuts and vegetables is also the cause of higher rates of cancer, asthma, and several hundred premature deaths every year.

The World Health Organization also reported that in 2012 alone, “premature deaths from air pollution” was responsible for over 7 million deaths worldwide. The number of premature deaths in the San Joaquin portion of the “Great Central Valley” number several hundred every year and that is in spite of what Republicans claim are devastating air quality regulations that include vehicle emission standards. Those mortality numbers will only increase with Trump’s deregulatory crusade, but those deaths and health issues mean nothing to Trump, Republicans, and the oil industry.

Anyone who has spent any time in the San Joaquin valley can attest to the effects of pollution caused primarily from oil drilling, traffic and farming; most recently car and truck tailpipe emissions have been identified as the leading cause of pollution with oil drilling overtaking the damage from agricultural chemical pollutants.

It is true that California has a robust air quality resources agency, but “regional” air pollution control districts in “the valley” districts represented by Republicans Devin Nunes, House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy, and special interest puppet Jeff Denham play according to special interest rules.

Those Republican-dominated regional “air quality representatives” pander to businesses vehemently opposed to clean air and water regulations. This author can attest that those local air quality representatives lie like Trump by asserting that state and federal environmental protections are “highly destructive” and are killing off “family” businesses responsible for pollution.

For example, during an editorial board meeting a few years ago at a McClatchy newspaper serving the San Joaquin Valley, the Republican from the local air resources board complained bitterly that California emission standards were destroying too many “family businesses” up and down the valley; particularly the southern part of the valley. After a brief but heated exchange with this author, the air quality representative conceded that the “family businesses” were really oil drilling and refining operations run by some of the nation’s largest oil companies. As an aside, the Koch brothers contribute more to Republican candidates for state offices, including local air quality boards, in California than any other state. The Kochs are also responsible for all manner of “ballot initiatives” seeking to eliminate the Golden State’s environmental protections.

As the director of Sierra Club California, Kathryn Phillips, rightly noted: “They are conspiring to change the [air quality] standards so things don’t look as dirty as they are.”

The only glimmer of hope Californians have to cling to is, according to Dan Sperling of the California Air Resources Board, “We have the law on our side, as well as the people of the country and the people of the world.”

An attorney for Earthjustice, Paul Cort, concurred with Mr. Sperling:

California has done the math, and it’s concluded that the only way to meet both its greenhouse gas goals and its ozone targets is to move away from fossil fuel-based transportation. The law is very clear about California’s authority to set these standards, and for the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to try to narrow it now means they have an uphill battle.”

Whether Trump likes it or not, Californians are like most Americans who want vehicles with higher fuel efficiency as much as they want clean air. The latter is an honest-to-dog existential issue and the former is economic. The only people in America that lust for lower fuel efficiency vehicles are the Koch brothers and their dirty oil industry cohorts. They are also the primary drivers of the conservative anti-environmental movement condoning higher cancer rates, respiratory problems, birth defects, and premature deaths if it increases their profits. Of course Trump is as inhumane as the Koch brothers and he hates California, but this atrocity is as much about reversing another good thing President Obama provided the people as it is Trump’s flagrant disregard for human life.

There is little doubt that Trump will publicly revel in aiding the fossil fuel industry with what is being touted as a major deregulatory action, with the value-added treat of punishing Californians. The real question is whether he will celebrate publicly that his obsession with eliminating President Barack Obama’s life- and environment-saving actions means he will have California residents’ blood on his hands.

 

California Bill Bans Employers From Firing Women Who Use Birth Control

Trump’s election was wildly celebrated by evangelical fanatics across the nation, and that cheering was certainly related to their potent new weapon in the Republican war on women. Having an anti-women’s rights and misogynist in the Oval Office is a serious threat to women at the federal level, but possibly more so at the state level. Women who are unfortunate enough to live in GOP controlled states are in serious trouble because with an anti-women’s rights administration appointing an anti-women’s rights religious attorney general, it is  certain the DOJ will always support anti-women legislation. Women who live in solidly red states are in the deepest  trouble, but only if they object to religious Republicans aiding evangelicals’ efforts to control their reproductive health choices.

Women in California are a governor’s signature away from receiving a lifeline in the form of legislation that forbids religious employers from forcing women to sign religious “statements of faith” or “codes of conduct” in order to keep their employment. The legislation also prohibits employers from retaliating against a [female] worker for making reproductive health decisions contrary to religious employers’ objects to. The truth is that the religious fanatics generally object to women making any reproductive health decisions that prevent them from becoming perpetual birth machines.

The legislation, AB 569 (Discrimination: Reproductive Health), was introduced by Assemblywoman Lorena Gonzalez Fletcher (D-San Diego) who said religious employers have been regularly discriminating against female workers’ based on their reproductive health-care decisions in California. The legislation was sponsored by NARAL, Pro-Choice California, and California Latinas for Reproductive Justice, and sixteen faith-based groups signed a letter supporting the anti-discrimination legislation.

The legislation simply “protects workers from discrimination or retaliation for using any medications, medical service, or device related to reproductive health.” The legislation is particularly necessary now because a few months ago Trump signed an executive order  greatly “expanding religious imposition” authority while surrounded by that misogynistic group of Catholic nuns still furious that the Affordable Care Act contained contraception coverage; coverage they still assert is a violation of their religious freedom to control women’s reproductive health.

The bill’s sponsor said the legislation was necessary to stop religious employers from “infringing on a woman’s right to make personal decisions about birth control and pregnancy.” Religious employers, and not just “church-affiliated” organizations, are not shy about their intent to control women’s reproductive choices.

It is important to remember that the private company Hobby Lobby is not a “religious organization” or “church-affiliated.” And yet they convinced the conservative wing of the Supreme Court that contraceptives, including birth control pills, are “abortifacients” and tantamount to having an abortion. The Court’s “religious imposition” ruling was founded on Hobby Lobby’s owners’ “religious belief” that contraceptives are abortions, and since that was “their heartfelt religious belief,” they won the legal right to deny women’s access to contraceptives.

Ms. Gonzalez Fletcher wasn’t stretching the truth when she said religious employers discriminate against women’s healthcare decision. For example, a San Diego Christian College required a financial aid specialist to sign a document pledging to not to have premarital sex, and then fired her for “becoming pregnant” and using her “pledge” as proof she violated the employer’s religious code. In liberal San Francisco the Archbishop attempted to force teachers to sign a “code of conduct” pledging they would refrain from using birth control or attempting to conceive by artificial insemination; fortunately for female teachers in San Francisco the attempt failed, but the attempt should have incited a massive outrage. Instead, California Democrats had to pass legislation making those attempts illegal.

The bill’s sponsor said in a statement:

Women in this country have been fired for getting pregnant while unmarried, for using in-vitro fertilization and for other personal reasons related to their own reproductive health. No woman should ever lose a job for exercising her right to decide when, how, or whether to have a family.”

Sadly, the minority religious fanatics running the United States vehemently disagree with the legislation and one of the bill’s primary opponents is a revolting religious outfit, the California Family Council; It is the policy arm of the Family Research Council and its president was livid that pro-life employers may be prohibited from literally forcing their religious beliefs down their employees throats. Seriously, the California Family Council president, Jonathan Keller said:

“Every organization that promotes a pro-life message must be able to require its employees to practice what they [the employers] preach. It is unconscionable for any politician to attempt to abridge this sacrosanct religious liberty by inserting themselves into the employee-employer relationship.”

Keller, like his dirty theocratic ilk, firmly believes that evangelicals’ “sacrosanct religious liberty” includes controlling women by way of controlling their reproductive health. That bizarro-world version of “religious liberty” is fervently embraced by Catholic organizations and they present a monumental threat to women’s ‘personal liberty” to decide when, how, and if they give birth.

Over the last few years Catholic organizations have been buying up hospitals, clinics, medical networks, and physicians groups  and demanding absolute fealty to the Catholic Hospitals Association rules and regulations regarding women’s reproductive health choices. After coming under Catholic ownership, those physicians, hospitals, clinics etc. are required to abide by the United. States Conference of Catholic Bishops’ Ethical and Religious Directives for Catholic Health Care Services (ERDs). The Vatican-inspired ERDs strictly forbid abortions, even in the case of rape or incest,  and forbid access to contraceptives, sterilization procedures, in vitro fertilization or the use of sperm or egg donors.

If California Governor Jerry Brown signs AB-569, women will have a measure of protection from religious employers who believe infringing on a woman’s right to make personal reproductive decisions is just part of their “sacrosanct religious liberty.”

This dirty religious imposition situation is not going to get any better for women  and California women may want to put any wild celebrations on hold. No doubt if Governor Brown signs AB-569 there will be a flurry of church-funded lawsuits to protect employers’ right to impose their religion on their employees to control their reproductive lives. What should give every American pause is that in 21st Century America a state legislature has to pass legislation banning employers from attempting to control a woman’s reproductive life. It should also leave Americans asking what kind of leaders advocate allowing a fanatical religious sect to control women under the aegis of the federal government that is not the Taliban.

h/t Rewire

California Is Emerging As A Global Leader Against Climate Change and Trump

 

 

Now that the imbecile Donald Trump embarrassed Americans while in Europe and gave every indication he would single-handedly make America’s word worth less than dirt, a story that was sparsely reported last week is increasingly important; for the entire world’s population. Anyone who hasn’t been comatose over the past year-and-a-half likely knows that Trump and his administration are climate deniers; Trump says global climate change is a Chinese hoax. But while Trump refused to join leaders of the G7 nations in pledging to go forward with the Paris Climate Accord, California is “becoming a global force” to battle climate change, and Trump.

Last month in San Francisco environmental ministers of Canada and Mexico signed a global pact drafted largely by California to reduce greenhouse pollution responsible for climate change. Next month, California’s governor, Jerry Brown, will be heading to China to meet with climate leaders as part of a “global” campaign to curb global warming.

Besides becoming America’s “de facto” negotiator with the rest of the world on the environment, the Golden State is preparing to wage war against Trump and his attempt to abolish California’s environmental standards and pollution rules because Republicans detest “states’ rights;” particularly if they conflict with the oil industry. That being the case, California has “a battery of state lawyers” preparing to do battle and thwart “any attempt by Trump and Republicans to weaken California’s automobile pollution emission standards.” In fact, as the New York Times reported,

The state is pushing back on everything from White House efforts to roll back pollution rules on tailpipes and smokestacks, to plans to withdraw or weaken the United States’ commitments under the Paris climate change accord.”

Governor Jerry Brown said regarding California’s new role as surrogate for an America with an environmental conscience:

I want to do everything we can to keep America on track, keep the world on track, and lead in all the ways California has. We’re looking to do everything we can to advance our program, regardless of whatever happens in Washington.”

California’s efforts are not going unnoticed around the globe, either. One Nobel Laureate in science who advises several nations on climate change policy, Mario Molina, said:

With Trump indicating that he will withdraw from climate change leadership, the rest of the global community is looking to California, as one of the world’s largest economies, to take the lead. California demonstrates to the world that you can have a strong climate policy without hurting your economy.”

It is noteworthy that California is the 6th largest economy in the world and has led the nation, and often the world, in protecting the environment and its citizens’ health while its economy continues to flourish; the New York Times rightly labeled California an “economic powerhouse.” And it is worth repeating, the state has provided a model for other states, and the nation, that very robust environmental protections and regulations have had the opposite economic effects than the doom and gloom, job-killing devastation claimed by Trump and Republicans. California’s annual economic output is approximately $2.4 trillion indeed making one American state a global economic powerhouse and one progressive state the world’s leaders want to work with; especially to save the planet’s environment.

Although California is under Democratic control, its environmental efforts cross party lines and that includes Herculean climate efforts by former governor, Republican Arnold Schwarzenegger. Although Mr. Schwarzenegger’s economic expertise is often criticized, during his eight-year tenure he did lead the state in developing the most aggressive pollution-control programs in the nation; he has also taken a leading role as one of Trump’s biggest Republican critics on his lack of a climate policy.

Mr. Schwarzenegger wasn’t the first Republican governor to champion a cleaner environment and strong pollution regulations. For well over three decades the Golden State “has been at the vanguard of environmental policy, passing ambitious, first-in-the-nation measures on pollution control and conservation that have often served as models for national and even international environmental law.” That model is what Trump and his climate-denying cohort want to put an immediate end to.

Trump has already made moves to reduce federal auto emission standards that were influenced by California’s tougher standards because when automakers met with Trump, they complained bitterly that federal standards forced them to build expensive electric vehicles that consumers do not want. This battle is also going to center around concerns that Trump will direct the E.P.A will revoke a waiver issued by Republican President Richard Nixon allowing California to “set fuel economy standards exceeding federal requirements.” Doubtless the auto makers and oil industry contend that drivers also do not want automobiles that get better mileage; they also desperately want to “stop the spread of electric cars.”

California is not intimidated by Trump and is preparing for a legal challenge according to the state’s attorney general Xavier Becerra. “You have to be concerned when anybody talks about going backward. In this case we think we have a strong case to be made based on the facts and the history.”

The state’s Senate leader, Kevin de Leon, is also not intimidated by the Trump and earlier this month introduced legislation that accelerates, rather than retrench, the state’s efforts to reduce carbon emissions. The legislation requires that by 2045 100 percent of “retail electricity in the state comes from renewable sources.” Mr. de Leon said “it is important that we send a signal to the rest of the world” at a time of what he explained “was blowback from Washington” with an idiot anti-environment administration reverting to policies that helped create global climate change.

As Arnold Schwarzenegger said, everything about Trump is taking the nation backwards and his non-existent climate polices are “a threat to the planet.” Arnold continued,

Saying you’ll bring coal plants back is the past. It’s like saying you’ll bring Blockbuster back, which is the past. Horses and buggies, which is the past. Pagers back, which is the past.”

As the data show, Arnold reminded the Trump and his fellow Republicans that California is the shining example of a state that can adopt and implement “aggressive environmental policies without hurting the economy. We’re outdoing the rest of the country on G.D.P.”

Of course Trump and his anti-environment cohort will never cite California’s success and instead have attempted to frame the issue as California attempting to control the rest of the nation and the world. Trump’s bible-thumping E.P.A. chief, Scott Pruitt, a champion of state’s rights when it comes to gun proliferation and imposing religious laws,  said Governor Brown is “is being the aggressor” with strong state environmental regulations. And he said that Trump’s anti-environmental regulations effort is solely meant “to lift the oppressive yoke of federal regulations and return authority to the states;” but only if the oil and automobile industry approve.

At a time when the rest of the world is shaking their collective heads at the anti-science climate denying moron in the White House, and reaffirming their commitment to move forward in the collective fight to slow the advance of anthropogenic climate change, they can no longer look to America for leadership; a role California is already fulfilling.

Trump Signs Bill Killing Program Helping Retirees Avoid Poverty

One of the issues with the seemingly non-stop scandal stories and self-inflicted crises coming out of the White House is that Republicans in Congress can pass legislation under cover of Trump’s increasing number of screw ups. It was hardly reported that while nearly all media attention was focused on Trump’s obstruction of justice this week, he signed a Republican “resolution”  created to kill states’ ability to help workers save for their retirement.

What immediately comes to mind is; why on Earth are Republicans and Trump killing provisions that have no impact on the federal government, and why are they violating their storied support of “states’ rights?” The answer is more complex than simply stating Republicans are against American retirees’ well-being in their sunset years, but it is glaringly obvious the impetus for the nasty action was abolishing an Obama-era  provision that benefitted low-wage working people to enrich the financial services industry.

Republicans used the Congressional Review Act that allows the majority party in power to pass resolutions without risking Democratic opposition or media coverage as it progressed through the Senate. Joint Resolution 66 was signed by Trump late Wednesday evening and abolishes states’ rights to “create programs addressing the coming retirement crisis.

That crisis President Obama attempted to address is due to the growing income inequality that has steadily increased since Reagan due to more working Americans earning low wages according to the will of corporate America. Those low wages have resulted in fewer Americans able to live day-to-day, much less save even a penny for their retirement. That “fewer Americans” amounts nearly half the workforce in the United States. It is a travesty that in the richest nation in the history of the world a stunning 40-million households have “absolutely no retirement savings” and it portends a significant percentage of the population living out their golden years in dire poverty; something Republicans have no problem with and just acted to ensure reaches fruition. Add to that horrid statistic Republicans’ intent to decimate both Social Security and Medicare to sate the greed of the Koch brothers and wealthy elite leads one to defy any conservative asshole to argue that Republicans don’t hate the elderly.

One state’s Democrats took advantage of the Obama-era provision and sought to help California’s low wage workers by developing a “landmark new experiment in nest-egg building” known as “California Secure Choice.” The new retirement program sought to protect employees, primarily over 7.5 million California  low wage employees, who were not offered any retirement savings plans through their employer; nationwide such a program would help nearly half the workforce and prevent about 40 million households from being poverty-stricken during their retirement.

The law that Governor Jerry Brown signed last September was set to go into effect in 2019. At least that was the scheduled date until the U.S. Chamber of Commerce and “mutual funds industryconvinced Republicans that even one state-run retirement system would be unbearable competition the free market-loving Republicans couldn’t allow; even though the California plan was specifically designed to “fill in the gaps where retirement plans were not already offered.”

Since the California plan was not in competition with Wall Street, mutual fund industry, or the banking-financial services industry, one can only concluded that Republicans are Hell-bent and duty-bound to guarantee that as many retirees live in poverty as possible. It is also a sure sign that Republicans and Trump are deep into their crusade to do the bidding of Wall Street and the U.S. Chamber of Commerce at the expense of the people’s welfare.

As California’s freshman Democratic Senator, Kamala Harris noted shortly after the GOP connived to use the Congressional Review Act to prevent Democrats from registering the opposition:

At the behest of the financial services industry, Republicans just overturned a rule that helps American workers save for retirement.”

According to Republican Senator Orin Hatch, helping hardworking Americans in their golden years is the purview of Wall Street and the financial services industry that combined have done nothing whatsoever to address the  impending retirement or income inequality crisis. Hatch defended abolishing “states’ rights” to help their workforce saying, “There’s absolutely no justification for any effort to reinvent the retirement savings system in order to give primacy to government-run plans.”

One can read whatever they want in Hatch’s statement, but it’s obvious that besides lying about what California’s safety net for retirees entails, Hatch and Republicans are doing the bidding of Wall Street’s expansive financial services industry. His statement also exposes the Republican intent regarding the Social Security Trust that Republicans in the embrace of Wall Street and the Koch brothers condemn as a failed “government-run plan.” Remember, Republicans ultimately want the Social Security Trust abolished in favor of forcing all Americans into the private sector’s “retirement savings system;” what George W. Bush promoted as privatizing Social Security.

There is no justification for Republicans in Congress or Trump interfering with a state’s right to aid their low-wage workforce except sheer savagery. California’s program did not have any effect on the federal government budget or Wall Street and their financial service industry that supported the Republican Joint Resolution 66; the U.S. Chamber of Commerce supported the Republican effort because it has been a staunch defender of the corporate and big business’ dream of an entire nation of slave-wage workers.

This abomination is also yet another glaring example of Republican hypocrisy. They ardently defend states’ rights when it involves gun proliferation, attacks on voting rights, and religion-based laws encouraging discrimination and attacks on the LGBTQ community and women’s rights. But if a state attempts to create a safety net for retirees at no cost to the federal government and with no impact on Wall Street or their financial services industry, then Republicans eschew their fierce defense of states’ rights. In this case it will guarantee another 40 million seniors living in poverty and it’s a guarantee fully endorsed by congressional Republicans and corrupt Donald Trump.