Donald Trump has structured his campaign around manipulating working class Americans into believing that he stands for their economic interests and that, if elected, he will use his alleged “business skills” to help them, when in fact he has a decades-long track record of screwing over hardworking laborers to benefit himself. Trump is appealing to a legitimate issue – wages and job growth have been stagnant for decades in working class populations – especially in white populations, the group most likely to support Trump. However Trump is not the solution. Trump is an instigator of the problem of economic despair plaguing working class communities, and he wants it to continue so he can continue to profit at the expense the average American citizen.
Recently, the Trump University scam has made national news, highlighting how Trump is willing to lie, cheat, and steal from his customers and his employees to line his pockets. Trump has an almost unfathomable history of workers abuse. Since 2005, his various scams-disguised-as-businesses have been cited for 24 violations of the Fair Labor Standards Act; bear in mind that this is an 11 year period, and Trump has been in business for 46 years, so these violations represent a minute fraction of his gross misconduct. Perhaps the most grievous offense is that he flaunts his wealth while refusing to pay contracted workers their wages. This flagrant violation of the law and of workers’ rights has resulted in over 200 legal claims filed for unpaid invoices. Trump has stolen from, among others, “A dishwasher in Florida. A glass company in New Jersey. A carpet company. A plumber. Painters. Forty-eight waiters. Dozens of bartenders and other hourly workers.”
Trump hired thousands of workers to construct and staff his various enterprises, most notably hotels and casinos. His tactic has always been to hire workers, benefit from their labor, and then refuse to pay them in full. Some employees and contractors legally contest their withheld wages, but most don’t make it through the arduous and extremely costly legal process involved in trying to claim their wages. In Las Vegas, Trump refused to pay his bills for curtain material to the Larry Walters, owner of a drapery factory. When Walters took back the fabric that had not been paid for, Trump eventually sued Walters in a desperate second attempt to obtain free curtains. Most notoriously in Atlantic City, Trump refused to pay full wages to various contractors working on his giant casino, The Taj – even trying to pay as little as 30% of the agreed price. It was a last ditch effort to scam workers to keep his catastrophic investment from going under (which it eventually did).
Investigation into Trump’s appalling business practices reveals just a few of the many ways that he and other megarich tycoons exploit the working class, squeezing every last penny from them, just to throw the spare change into the bank account with their other several billion dollars. Inequality has been growing in America resulting in a dominant 1% that can trample over the 99% to make themselves richer, and as they grow richer they grow increasingly powerful. Trump is just one example of the excesses and abuses of the megarich and Wall Street oligarchy, but he is the one claiming to be the champion of the poor. Trump is a perverse version of Robin Hood – he always has, and always will, steal from the poor and keep it for himself.
Marisa completed her undergraduate degree in 2013 at the University of Wisconsin with a double major in creative writing and media studies. She is an advocate of progressive policies and focuses her interests on gender equality and preventing sexual and domestic violence.