Coming from someone who vowed to ‘Make America Great Again’ and create more jobs in the United States, Republican Presidential candidate Donald Trump is mastering the art of mixed, misinformed messages – and ticking off a lot of Detroit autoworkers in the process.
In a recent interview with The Detroit News, The Donald implied that autoworkers currently make too much money, and would rather outsource those vehicle manufacturing jobs to other parts of the United States to bring the expense down. In a discussion about American vehicle manufacturers moving production to Mexico, Trump revealed that Ford CEO Mark Fields told him of a planned $2.5 million investment to expand to Mexico after Trump criticized Ford in June. Trump criticized the investment:
“I don’t like what’s happening. “We’re losing our jobs. We’re losing our wealth. We’re losing our country … Why can’t we do it in this country? It’s an incredible thing that we’re not allowed to make our product.”
Trump argued that the U.S. could get the same results by closing plants in Michigan, and that he wanted to stop the expansion.
“You can go to different parts of the United States and then ultimately you’d do full-circle – you’ll come back to Michigan because those guys are going to want their jobs back even if it is less. We can do the rotation in the United States – it doesn’t have to be in Mexico.”
He added that once Michigan “loses a couple of plants – all of sudden you’ll make good deals in your own area.” So basically, Trump doesn’t care that Michigan autoworkers will get laid off or not be able to feed their families – the important thing is that we put them in a desperate enough position that they are willing to work for far less money than they deserve. In just the last 15 years, The United States has lost over 5 million factory jobs, with Michigan losing over a third of its manufacturing jobs. It should also be noted that in order to compete with the wages Ford is seeking in Mexico, U.S. autoworkers would have to be paid as little as $9 per hour. Trump has been dismissive regarding the lower-wages argument.
One humorous, equally terrifying thing about the interview is that Trump’s strategy won’t work, and he’s oblivious to that fact. The Detroit News points out that “Although wages are lower at non-union U.S. plants owned by foreign automakers, hourly employees for Detroit’s Big Three are paid the same no matter what state they’re in, under the terms of United Auto Workers contracts.” Does Donald Trump do any sort of research before he thinks up “solutions” and “policies”?
Meanwhile, Trump has failed to practice what he preaches as he continues to purchase products outside of the United States. He admits, “I just ordered 4,000 television sets — the only place you can buy them is in South Korea. They all come from South Korea – and Sony, but Sony lost its way.” And if Trump becomes president, America will lose its way, too.
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.