Note: This column was cut off in today's paper. Below is the column in it's entirety.
Many Americans may not realize just how different Trump’s America is than the country was just two years ago.
It is now official government policy to discourage women who go to any medical facility that gets federal dollars from terminating pregnancy. Planned Parenthood said it was forced to opt out of $60 million in Title X dollars to continue to provide full reproductive services. A number of states also are pulling out, endangering testing for sexually transmitted diseases, birth control or treatment for other women’s health issues.
The courts are backing the government.
The federal government is weakening the endangered species law, making it easier for corporations or localities to cite financial reasons for not protecting threatened animals, birds and insects. Scientists say there is no way to predict how this may endanger the future environment.
It is now much easier for corporations and localities to pollute air and water and not to pay for cleanup of the damage they do. The government has eased cost-benefit rules to benefit developers and mining operations.
The government has decided that automakers should not have to pay a penalty if they don’t improve their fuel efficiency.
The government also has decided not to require lower greenhouse gas emissions, which exacerbate climate change.
The government has decided not to ban chlorpyrifos, a widely used agricultural pesticide thought to damage the brain function of children and adults.
Helicopters that operate as air ambulances do not have to have severe weather detecting equipment and now may fly in and out of airports and heliports without such equipment.
The government has speeded up pre-construction steps to make it easier to get around restrictions on not harming minority, low-income or indigenous people.
The government no longer wants to require states to make sure Medicaid payments for low-income people are sufficient to give them adequate health care.
The government proposes to let Indian tribes enter into energy development agreements with less oversight and effort.
The government is now permitting the destruction of Canadian geese nests and eggs for more months of the year.
The government is making it easier to get past environmental impact statements on controversial projects.
The government as of January 2020 will permit employees to use health reimbursement arrangements to buy health insurance. Critics fear this will encourage businesses to stop offering health insurance.
With no comment period and no analysis, the government has said it immediately is expediting deportation of undocumented immigrants, no matter how long they have been living and working in this country. Immigrants can be held in detention indefinitely.
The government has delayed and wants to rescind implementation of consumer protection rules for payday loans, vehicle title loans and other high-cost installment loans.
The government had prohibited discrimination under the Affordable Health Care Act on the basis of race, color, national origin, sex, age, pregnancy, gender identity, sex stereotyping or disability in certain health programs or activities. That prohibition against discrimination has been rescinded.
The government wants to exempt recreational vessels from the requirement to have fire extinguisher equipment on board.
After the deadly Deepwater Horizon blowout in the Gulf of Mexico, the government enacted new regulations to prevent such accidents. Those have now been modified, giving oil companies far more flexibility.
The government has weakened the training requirements for a number of commercial drivers.
As of April, the government will no longer enforce maintenance and inspection requirements for farm taps, which were put in place to improve pipeline safety and protect the environment.
The government has revoked protection for sage grouse habitat, thereby opening 9 million acres of federal land up to oil and gas drilling.
The government wants to weaken manufactured housing formaldehyde standards, including provisions requiring health notices to be posted in manufactured homes, testing of post-treatment panels after certification and testing of certain plywood materials.
Instead of increasing preschoolers’ exposure to Head Start, the government is proposing to reduce the number of hours that children are in the program each year.
The government wants to reduce the number of “white collar” employees, meaning fewer would be eligible to get 1.5 times their hourly salary in overtime pay.
The government has proposed weakening the definition of “sexual harassment” and no longer seeks to require high schools and colleges to report every incident. Schools no longer have to respect transgender students’ rights.
The government will no longer honor a requirement to report civilian deaths from U.S. airstrikes.
The government no longer prohibits internet service providers from discriminating against users, content or websites by charging some more.
These are the tip of a huge iceberg -- 204 major changes by the Trump administration are affecting Americans every day, as compiled by the Brookings Institution. Hundreds more are proposed. Mainly these changes are weakening rights and protections Americans have taken for granted. Mainly, they benefit big businesses and institutions.
With Donald Trump having put more than 100 staunch conservatives into life-time judicial appointments, a majority of these decisions will stand.
Elections have consequences.
Ann McFeatters is an op-ed columnist for Tribune News Service. Readers may send her email at firstname.lastname@example.org.(c)2019 Tribune Content Agency, LLC Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC.