Liar-in-chief Trump never gave a damn about workers
General Motors CEO Mary Barra with President Donald Trump. GM benefited from massive tax breaks under Trump and is now closing plants and firing 14,000 workers. | AP

Donald Trump campaigned for president telling workers in the industrial Midwest that if he won no plant would ever shut down in Wisconsin, Michigan, Pennsylvania, Ohio, or Minnesota. He assured them, in fact, that companies would be banging down the doors trying to build new plants and provide new jobs.

Promises made, promises unkept. The Thanksgiving gift tens of thousands of those workers received this year is the news that auto plants throughout the American industrial states are, in fact, shutting down. And thousands of workers in unaffected plants live now in fear that they could be next.

Trump assured folks that, because he was such a successful businessman, he alone really would know how to deal with the economy. The only problem, exposed now for what it is, is that what Trump was good at—bribery and money laundering—does nothing to help American workers. His experience does not count a bit when it comes to the knowledge needed to deal with the crisis of capitalism, or even a part of that crisis—the part that has to do with keeping workers employed.

Trump’s “experience”—which includes hiring contractors whom he didn’t pay, setting up rip-off schemes called “universities,” staging clever reality TV shows, borrowing from and laundering cash for gangsters, and purchasing mattresses with bed bugs for allegedly luxurious hotels—served to make him uniquely unprepared to do anything for workers in this country.

American workers build things that people need. They build homes, bridges, roads, and automobiles. Trump has no experience doing anything nearly as useful as what the soon-to-be-laid-off workers do every day.

His television experience taught him nothing, for example, about how he might deal with the pressing need to prepare workers for the new technologies that have emerged. His reality TV experience taught him only how to fire people who did not adequately kiss you-know-what-part of his anatomy.

The only solution to the problem that Trump applied was the time-tested failing Republican answer to everything: More big tax cuts for the rich! That’s what all his “experience” equipped him to do—implement a failing trickle-down program that did nothing but fatten up his corporate pals even as they dug deeper the ditch into which they were dumping U.S. manufacturing workers.

The lies about his “experience” solving economic problems and the false promises were enough for him to eke out tiny margins of victory in several Midwestern industrial states. Trump was also able to take advantage of the fact that, for too long, Democrats in those states weren’t really solving the problems either. Some voters felt they had nothing to lose by taking a chance on Trump. The handful of votes he got this way in those few states was enough to hand him his electoral college victory.

Even before the announcements of the layoffs by GM, however, it was clear that millions have seen through the fog of Trump’s false promises and lies. The elections this month showed how voters in the Midwest are quickly jumping off his ship. GOP governors and congressional reps all over those states went down to defeat.

The real world and the continuing crisis caused by capitalism have a way of shaking off the hold of false promises and lies on workers. They don’t want what Trump has to offer. They are showing now that what they want is the opportunity to work hard at jobs that can support themselves and their families—jobs that produce what people need.

The new round of GM plant closings will accelerate the growing disgust with Trump. Not only are thousands going to lose their jobs, but the company will add billions to its already profitable status. This is being done to workers who bailed out that company, saving it from bankruptcy.

Those who argue that these manufacturing jobs disappear because of unavoidable changes resulting from technology and globalization are, of course, on to some important truths. The solutions, however, lie in innovative and complex approaches and policies that can put workers in the U.S. and workers overseas in a better place—not in warmed-over Republican schemes to give the rich even bigger and better breaks than they already get.

Tax cuts for the rich and tinkering around with tariffs for political purposes are doing nothing, in the long run, for U.S. workers. Add to that the gutting of regulations and rules to protect the environment and we see a policy of aiding the wealthy in a last-minute rush to make as much money as they can before the impending disaster toward which their policies are heading strikes.

Handouts and tax breaks to corporations don’t result in benefits to working people or their communities. How many times will Trump and the GOP try to deny that fact?

Destroying fuel efficiency standards for cars hurts, not helps, small car manufacturers in the U.S. Keeping those standards helps protect them and the jobs they create. How many times will Trump and his GOP continue to try to sell the idea that environmental regulations need to be eliminated?

The plant closings show, once again, the inherent inability of big capitalist corporations to act in the long-term interest of workers. They show once again that Trump and his party, the GOP, have no useful answers. They show that it is up to labor and all its allies to put forward an alternative agenda—an agenda that puts people before profits.


CONTRIBUTOR

John Wojcik
John Wojcik

John Wojcik is editor in chief at Peoplesworld.org. He started as labor editor of the People's World in May, 2007 after working as a union meat cutter in northern New Jersey. There he served as a shop steward, as a member of a UFCW contract negotiating committee, and as an activist in the union's campaign to win public support for Wal-Mart workers. In the 1970s and '80s he was a political action reporter for the Daily World, this newspaper's predecessor, and active in electoral politics in Brooklyn, New York.

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