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Crosscurrents logo 2021

How President Trump's first actions will affect the Bay Area

Cropped and used under CC license from Flickr user Evan HB

One of President Trump’s very first official acts was to sign an executive order stating it will be the policy of his Administration to repeal the Affordable Care Act. The way it was phrased was kind of like those Bay Area ballot measures that may or may not make a difference, like, “The San Francisco Board of Supervisors denounce the war in Iraq”; in other words, it doesn’t actually put anything definitive into effect. But Congress is already responding to that, and opponents of the ACA are looking for ways to cut costs.

Considering Trump’s populist message in his inaugural address, it would appear hypocritical to eliminate health coverage for 20 million Americans without replacement options — and almost four million Californians have gained coverage under the ACA, or, what’s called “Covered California” here. To make it more palatable, Republicans and Trump have been talking about a replacement plan, but there’s nothing definitive, yet. Meanwhile, the deadline for people to enroll in Covered California or Medi-Cal is the end of this month. Here's a link to the application.

Today, President Trump signed an executive order withdrawing from the Trans-Pacific Partnership trade agreement. California exports almost 70 billion dollars in goods every year to TPP countries, which includes Mexico, Canada and Japan. It imports more than twice that from them. The concern is that without a trade agreement in place, exports could drop, and that would impact lots of industries: shipping and trucking, tech; agriculture. In fact California farmers export about two-fifths of their products, altogether — that’s worth more than 20 billion dollars a year.

Keep in mind, this isn’t necessarily an issue pitting Republicans versus Democrats. Even though former President Obama supported the TPP, Hillary Clinton had spoken out against it. So this was likely to happen no matter who held the top office.

In other actions, today President Trump met with union leaders to talk about renegotiating the North American Free Trade Agreement, but there’s no action yet. He also banned foreign aid for health groups who offer abortion counseling — that's typical Republican Presidential policy. And he froze hiring for federal workers, though there are exemptions for hires by the military or in the national security and public safety sectors. As you can imagine, this could have a big impact on California jobs — the state has 245,000 federal workers. In San Francisco County alone, there are more than 14,000 as of last June. But there are only 44 job openings, which are now, presumably, closed.

Ben was hired as Interim Executive Director of KALW in November, 2021.