Millennics EP12 – DOL Rule on Overtime and Trump’s Fantasy SCOTUS Picks

In episode 12 of Millennics, host Jonathan J. Cianfaglione takes a look at the new DOL rule on overtime, and Trump’s fastasy SCOTUS picks.

Host: Jonathan J. Cianfaglione
Presented by:
Support from: VIG & Associates

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 Show Resources:

Donald J. Trump’s list of potential SCOTUS nominees
Department of Labor Fact Sheet in re DOL Rule on Overtime
White House Press Release in re DOL Rule on Overtime

Show Notes:

Millennics EP12 – DOL Rule on Overtime and Trump’s Fantasy SCOTUS Picks, May 19, 2016

Welcome to another episode of Millennics—a podcast discussing politics, policy, and law from the viewpoint of Millennials.  I’m your host, Jonathan J. Cianfaglione, and Millennics is presented by, and support for this podcast comes from VIG & Associates.

Today, we’re discussing the DOL’s new rule on overtime pay for salaried workers, and Trump’s fantasy SCOTUS picks.  I’ve decided to leave the discussion of the scarp between the Feds and North Carolina’s HB2 statute—otherwise known as the anti-LGBT discrimination law.

Moving to today’s discussion, let’s start with the more difficult stuff first.

The Department of Labor this week has issued a new rule concerning over-time pay.  Consequently, the Obama Administration has raised the salary threshold under which most salaried workers are guaranteed overtime.  Put in other words, the new threshold of $46k, a 100% jump from the previous threshold, acts as an affirmative right to overtime, where any salaried worker making below the threshold has a right to overtime for any work over 40 hours a week.

Here’s how we got here:

In 1938, congress passed the Fair Labor Standards Act.  In so doing, congress created the 40 hour work week we know today.

In addition, that bill had some other very important elements: it created over-time pay, established a national minimum wage, and prohibited child labor.  In a swooping piece of legislation under FDR, the 1938 Fair Labor Standards Act has been the bedrock to our current labor standards.

unfortunately, this is the same act that has created the distinction between wait staff employees, and every other worker in the US.  One of its lasting effects continues to perpetuate the myth of a difference between that wait staff, and all other American workers by setting a different, lower minimum wage for waiters and waitresses.

Changing the threshold salary has been long overdue.  Last changed in 2004, the salary threshold stood at $23k with exemptions for those considered to hold executive, administrative, or professional/managerial positions.

The 2004 changes under the Bush administration were well intentioned, but largely missed their target.

First, the set the salary threshold too low, at $23k.  Additionally, the Bush administration failed to have the salary pegged to inflation.  Thus, over 10 years in passing, the wage threshold stayed at $23k, while salaries nationwide rose.

Second, the Bush administration decided to change classifications around for employees, while leaving in force a stagnant wage threshold.

In the words of the DOL, “The effect of the 2004 Final Rule’s  … was to exempt from overtime many lower paid workers who performed few EAP duties and whose work was otherwise indistinguishable from their overtime-eligible colleagues. This has resulted in the inappropriate classification of employees as EAP exempt.”

This week’s move by the Obama Administration brings the salary threshold mush closer to what it would be if the Bush Administration had pegged it to inflation .. but it is still short.  Nonetheless, a jump of 100% from $23k to $46k is a good first step.

And, learning from prior administrations’ mistakes, The Obama Admin embedded a mechanism to automatically update the salary threshold every three years.

But, as all these things go, the next administration can effectively dismantle these changes.  And, under a Trump Presidency, that is almost a guarantee, given Trump has said on the record he thinks wages are too high.

In sum, the new rule is said to effect over 4 million workers, while others estimate that number much higher at around 12m workers who will now have a right to overtime.  In turn, the new rule is bringing back $1.2b annually to employees, whose work would have otherwise gone uncompensated.

Moving on to our second topic for this episode, is Trump’s fantasy SCOTUS pick.  Notice I used the word fantasy … because that’s what this is … a fantasy.

As I’ve said before, Trump doesn’t have a chance at beating Hillary.  Currently polling at 70% negative nationwide—and likely to increase with each time he opens his mouth, which I don’t think it actually closes—Trump’s fantasy pick is a nice PR attempt, at best.

Additionally, Trump’s fantasy pick is disturbing.  Not because of who he picked, but because of Trump’s statements that were tagged along with his pick.

Twice in the Press Release, did Trump insinuate that these aren’t actually his picks.  Indeed, in the very first sentence, the PR says that the “list of people he would consider as potential replacements for Justice Scalia on the Supreme Court.”

So, there, it seems plainly obvious to me, that this isn’t actually Trump’s list … these are just some of the people he would consider.

Then, again, in paragraph 2, the PR quotes Trump saying “I plan to use this list as a guide.”  Here, it would seem Trump isn’t just insinuating that he isn’t tied to this list, but that he will outright deviate from it if he wants.

And, with Trump’s history of shifting on every policy he’s stated, you could probably safely assume that if given the chance, the SCTOUS nominee wouldn’t be selected from this list.

One final note, and probably the most concerning aspect, is the people on Trump’s list.  Not because who they are, and what they believe in, but because it seems obvious—if not glaringly obvious to me—that Trump selected these folks based on what he thought would satisfy certain groups.  More pointedly, I’m saying this list seems to be Trump pandering to the conservative right pretty hard with this list, in an attempt to get them to walk closer to him.

I have been hammering this away in conversations, but not yet on the podcast.  So, here it is: when it comes to Trump, is particularly dangerous, b/c he has no principles.  Rather, Trump just produces whatever principles he thinks people want to hear.

When you have a candidate, or a politician who doesn’t have any principles that they themself stand on, what that really means is they don’t believe in anything.  In turn, as the american public it will be impossible to hammer them down on their policy, and stances.  Furthermore, they will likely pin the failure on everyone else, or worse, claim that they were just doing what they thought the people wanted them to do.

Indeed, we’ve actually seen Trump do all of the aforementioned already, where he blurted that women should be punished for abortions; everyone came out in opposition to that statement, including far-right groups.  Trump’s response to it: well you guys should make up your mind on what you want me to do.

A man with no principles can hardly be considered a man.  A politician with no principles, is an amorophorus politician.

Thanks for listening to ep12 of Millennics.  I’m your host Jonathan J. Cianfaglione, and, of course, you can find Millennics on iTunes, GooglePlay Music, and SoundCloud.  Don’t forget to connect with us on facebook, at  Until next time.