Today, Donald Trump decided to boost his “tough on corporations!” image by – of course – taking cheap potshots from Twitter at multinational companies for taking advantage of the underpriced labor from underdeveloped countries that our cold and unfeeling capitalist system encourages and that Trump himself has taken advantage of a multitude of times of over the years.
General Motors was the target today as Trump grossly misrepresented the production numbers and sales destinations of the auto manufacturer’s Chevy Cruze line.
General Motors is sending Mexican made model of Chevy Cruze to U.S. car dealers-tax free across border. Make in U.S.A.or pay big border tax!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) January 3, 2017
General Motors fired back in a statement given to CNBC:
“All Chevrolet Cruze sedans sold in the U.S. are built in GM’s assembly plant in Lordstown, Ohio. GM builds the Chevrolet Cruze hatchback for global markets in Mexico, with a small number sold in the U.S.” GM “sold about 190,000 Cruzes in the U.S. in 2016. About 4,500 of those, or 2.4 percent, were hatchbacks made in Mexico.”
The vast majority of those hatchbacks are sold for international markets – for other countries. This presents the underlying contradiction in Trump’s trade blithering – while General Motors is an American company, they have no loyalty to anything beyond the profits of their shareholders. They have customers in other nations and have no obligation to produce their cars in the United States – just like Trump was seemingly under no obligation to pay his workers for the work they do, or to hire American models for his talent agency.
At the end of the day, Americans don’t want to buy the Chevy Cruze. It’s a small car. Americans want big gas-guzzling SUVs, and the market is adjusting accordingly. “Unfortunately, the market dictates our livelihoods and this is a business that changes based on consumer demand. To date, small cars as well as all passenger vehicle sales are slowing due to the strong market demand for SUV’s and trucks. The auto industry is a cyclical business and hopefully, the tide will eventually turn in our favor” said Scott Brubaker, chairman of United Auto Workers Local 1714.
So either Donald Trump is unfamiliar with the basic functions of exploitative global capitalism – always a possibility – or else he’s just screwing around to make it look like he actually cares about American workers.
Colin Taylor is the 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.