Presidential hopeful Donald Trump prides himself on his business savvy and has boasted that he will be “the greatest jobs president that God ever created.” However, in light of the billionaire’s desperate attempt to win over America’s working class, it should be stated that Trump’s economic policy in fact makes no sense.
Trump’s recent venture into reality television made him famous for his firings. If elected president, however, he has vowed to “bring back our jobs from China, from Mexico, from Japan, from so many places…” as all part of his plan to “Make America Great Again!” But what does that actually entail?
Unfortunately, as the Washington Post reports, Trump’s vision to reinvigorate American manufacturing is a mere fantasy. That’s because even though some manufacturing jobs have migrated overseas, most of them have simply disappeared for good. They have been eliminated by improved automation of the production line. More and more often, workers are being replaced by machines.
Trump has not failed to note that U.S. manufacturing has been on the decline for decades. In 1970, over 25% of American employees worked in manufacturing, while in 2010, only 10% did. But this is true of almost every country in the world. As Charles Kenny wrote last year in Bloomberg Business: “Pretty much every economy around the world has a low or declining share of manufacturing jobs.” So the jobs we lost in America aren’t simply waiting on the other side of the Pacific to be reclaimed, as Trump would have us think.
Trump has used his illusions about manufacturing to motivate his racist tirades, saying about Mexicans: “They’re taking our jobs. They’re taking our manufacturing jobs. They’re taking our money. They’re killing us.”
This xenophobic message is proven to be pure hypocrisy by recent reports that Trump’s businesses have sought over 1,000 foreign worker visas since 2000! While spouting his anti-immigrant rhetoric, Trump seems eager to fill his businesses with as many immigrants as possible, including many of the same people that he has called drug dealers and rapists. This once again exposes Trump as a self-serving hypocrite who has no real message.
Despite claiming proudly that he has been a “top contributor and fundraiser for Republican efforts,” it was recently revealed that until 2009, most of Trump’s political donations in fact went to the Democrats! When confronted about this issue, Trump replied: “I’m a businessman – I contribute to everybody. That’s part of the problem of the system.” So Trump admits that he’s part of the problem, but he expects voters to think that he’s also the solution? This is less believable than a scene from The Apprentice.
Trump’s reputation as a rich businessman leads gullible voters to believe that he’s capable of restoring our economy. Hence, Dennis Rodman’s endorsement: “We don’t need another politician, we need a businessman like Mr. Trump!” But Trump’s plan to rescue the economy by “bringing back” our manufacturing jobs shows a complete lack of understanding of the global economy, where manufacturing jobs are simply disappearing, and can’t be brought back. In reality, Trump has no economic vision at all, and has shown that he is always willing to compromise his “values” if it means more profit for Trump.
Opinion columnist and former editor-in-chief of Occupy Democrats. He graduated from Bennington College with a Bachelor's degree in history and political science. He now focuses on advancing the cause of social justice and equality in America.