BY MARTIN KICH
The Trump Administration’s “Made in America Week” is a cruel con on the working-class Americans who voted for him—and not just because almost all Trump, Inc., products continue to be produced by cheap foreign labor.
It is an insult to the intelligence working-class Americans because it ignores the very obvious reality that American manufacturing output has continued to increase much as it has year to year, almost without exception, since the Civil War. The decline in American manufacturing has been in its share of the whole U.S. economic output (a dramatic decline) and its share of total world manufacturing output (a more moderate decline). In short, American manufacturing is not failing, but other sectors of the U.S. economy have been growing more rapidly and other nations have increased their manufacturing output even more dramatically than the U.S. has.
On the other hand, employment in American factories has continued to decline sharply, and no tariffs on foreign goods are going to resurrect most of the jobs that have been lost.
The following is an excerpt from “Trump’s Poll Numbers Are Bad. Here’s when the bottom Will Drop Out,” an article written by Dana Milbank for the Washington Post:
The problem for Trump is many of his populist promises are starting to look fraudulent.
Remember that Carrier plant in Indiana that Trump claimed to have saved? It’s reportedly beginning to lay off 600 people.
The Boeing plant in South Carolina that Trump visited in February to showcase his fight for manufacturing jobs? Layoffs there, too.
Trump denounced plans by Ford to move production of the Focus from Michigan to Mexico. Now Ford is moving the work to China instead.
As The Post’s Tory Newmyer reported, manufacturing employment hit a record low last month of 8.47 percent of overall employment. It has long been trending that way and is forecast to continue. Manufacturing wages rose less than the overall private sector.
This isn’t primarily because taxes are forcing production overseas. It’s productivity: Manufacturers can produce twice as much in the United States as they did a few decades ago with a third fewer workers.
Likewise, coal mining jobs aren’t leaving the country because of regulations, as Trump tells his supporters; the jobs have been lost to market forces in the form of cheap oil and gas.
The Congressional Budget Office, led by a Republican appointee, forecast last week that the economy would grow at just a 1.9 percent clip under Trump’s proposed budget, far less than the 3 percent the White House claims and the higher levels Trump alleges. The CBO also said the Trump budget would leave a $720 billion deficit in a decade, contrary to Trump claims.
So what happens if—and when—Trump’s core backers discover that they’ve been had: They’re losing health-care coverage and other benefits, while manufacturing jobs aren’t coming back and a Trump-ignited trade war is hurting U.S. exports?
One might add that a trade war will dramatically increase the price of inexpensive foreign goods that are now available at the big-box stores at which most working-class Americans can still afford to shop.
But you don’t have to take Milbank’s or my word for it. Here are several charts from other reputable sources:
After Trump’s was elected largely on his promises to bring back lost manufacturing jobs, the Center for Economic and Policy Research (CEPR) established a feature on its website called the “Blue-Collar Jobs Tracker.”
The following bar graph from CEPR shows how job losses in manufacturing in the Midwest have actually been accelerating in the Midwestern states that have become “right to work” states:
Being pro-worker might not absolutely depend on one’s being pro-union, but being anti-union, as the Trump administration very emphatically is, pretty much negates any possibility that one is pro-worker.
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