Monday, July 4, 2016

Trump's Tough Talk on Trade Doesn't Make Him Pro Worker

The idea that he is in any way for them is absurd. His whole claim seems to be based on opposition to TPP.

He promises to rip that up on day one. But nobody can eat a bunch of torn paper. What about his opposition to the minimum wage, of his call for a cut in wages, period, of his long opposition to unionization of his own workers, what of his huge tax cuts for the rich-that will lead to tax hikes for everyone else just as it did in Kansas with Sam Brownback?

This might have something to do with AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka's strong opposition to Trump.

Trump is no friend of unions and no friend of working Americans.

"Maricella Olvera encounters Donald Trump on occasion, but she’s careful not to say a word. The 47-year-old cleans the penthouse at the Trump International Hotel Las Vegas, where Trump, his family, and celebrity guests often come to stay. She cleans around them in silence. Trump is always uninterested."

“The policy is: you don’t talk to the boss,” she said at her small one-bedroom home, on the joyously named Sing Song Way in the city’s northern suburbs.

"Although Trump has touted himself as “the greatest jobs president that God has ever created”, these workers point to the fact they are paid on average $3 less than the thousands of unionised hotel workers in Las Vegas who work identical jobs and enjoy a host of other benefits, including pensions and free health insurance, not available to Trump employees."

"Earlier this month, following a protracted dispute with Trump and his co-owner, casino billionaire Phil Ruffin, the National Labor Relations Board officially certified a union for over 500 staff at the hotel. Workers argue they have been subjected to surveillance, intimidation, and unlawful dismissal as they have sought to organize."

Hotel management has so far consistently rejected calls to sit down and negotiate a new contract and appear likely to appeal the certification. It is estimated by the Culinary Workers Union that 98% of casinos and hotels on the strip and in downtown Las Vegas are unionised, making the company’s stance a near total outlier. Meanwhile, the billionaire’s campaign filings reveal he values his stake in the hotel at $50m, with a generated income of more than $27m.

Ya don't talk to the boss. I''m sure that's what his message to voters would be too if they made the biggest mistake in our history yet.

Paul Krugman:

"Donald Trump gave a speech on economic policy last week. Just about every factual assertion he made was wrong, but I’m not going to do a line-by-line critique. What I want to do, instead, is talk about the general thrust: the candidate’s claim to be on the side of American workers."

"Of course, that’s what they all say. But Trumponomics goes beyond the usual Republican assertions that cutting taxes on corporations and the rich, ending environmental regulation and so on will conjure up the magic of the marketplace and make everyone prosper. It also involves posing as a populist, claiming that getting tough on foreigners and ripping up our trade agreements will bring back the well-paying jobs America has lost."

"That’s a departure, although not as much as you may think — people forget that Mitt Romney similarly threatened a trade war with China during the 2012 campaign. Still, it was interesting to see a Republican presidential candidate name-check not just Bernie Sanders but the left-leaning Economic Policy Institute, which has long been critical of globalization."

What's the difference between candidate for POTUS and the POTUS?

1. A candidate opposes all trade deals.

2. A President signs all trade deals.

But trade deals tend to be exaggerated in terms of impact by both advocates or opponents. They neither are net huge job creators or destroyers.

"But the institute is having none of it: Lawrence Mishel, the think tank’s president, put out a derisive reply to what he called the “Trump trade scam.” His point was that even if you think, as he does, that trade agreements have hurt American workers, they’re only part of a much broader set of anti-labor policies. And on everything else, Donald Trump is very much on the wrong side of the issues."

"Again, trade deals are neither a job creator or destroyer. As Krugman says, that even if you could some how bring back all manufacturing jobs from China this wouldn't restore the number of manufacturing jobs to what they used to be."

The trouble is that with automation, the sector can have the same output with much fewer workers.

"About globalization: There’s no question that rising imports, especially from China, have reduced the number of manufacturing jobs in America. One widely-cited paper estimates that China’s rise reduced U.S. manufacturing employment by around one million between 1999 and 2011. My own back-of-the-envelope calculation suggests that completely eliminating the U.S. trade deficit in manufactured goods would add about two million manufacturing jobs."

"But America is a big place, and total employment exceeds 140 million. Shifting two million workers back into manufacturing would raise that sector’s share of employment back from around 10 percent to around 11.5 percent. To get some perspective: in 1979, on the eve of the great surge in inequality, manufacturing accounted for more than 20 percent of employment. In the 1960s it was more than 25 percent. I’m not sure when, exactly, Mr. Trump thinks America was great, but Trumponomics wouldn’t come close to bringing the old days back."

The main reason we've become a service dominated economy rather than manufacturing is automation not trade.

With TPP how many jobs do opponents really think we will lose to Vietnam or Laos?

"In any case, falling manufacturing employment is only one factor in the decline of the middle class. As Mr. Mishel says, there have been “many other intentional policies” driving wages down even as top incomes soar: union-bashing, the failure to raise the minimum wage with inflation, austerity, financial deregulation, the tax-cut obsession."

"And Mr. Trump buys fully into the ideology that has driven these wage-destroying policies."

The big worry is that some folks try to spin a solely anti trade agenda as being pro worker:

"But never mind Mr. Trump’s motivations. What’s important is that voters not mistake tough talk on trade for a pro-worker agenda."

"No matter what we do on trade, America is going to be mainly a service economy for the foreseeable future. If we want to be a middle-class nation, we need policies that give service-sector workers the essentials of a middle-class life. This means guaranteed health insurance — Obamacare brought insurance to 20 million Americans, but Republicans want to repeal it and also take Medicare away from millions. It means the right of workers to organize and bargain for better wages — which all Republicans oppose. It means adequate support in retirement from Social Security — which Democrats want to expand, but Republicans want to cut and privatize."

"Sorry, but adding a bit of China-bashing to a fundamentally anti-labor agenda does no more to make you a friend of workers than eating a taco bowl does to make you a friend of Latinos."

The key is bringing work place regulations and labor laws into the 21st century.
Hillary's plan to regulate the 'gig' or 'Uber' economy is the key.

For more on this, see Nick Hanaeur, the 'liberal billionaire.'


  1. O/T: Mike, looking at 538's map again:

    If each state which is colored (however lightly) blue goes blue, and ditto for the reds, then 2016 will be a repeat of 2008 (aside from perhaps 1-district in Nebraska).

  2. O/T: Mike, this is brilliant: I know at least a dozen local businesses that sell piñatas, but I've never seen one shaped like Donald Trump. That could be a thing:

    Also, I thought you'd appreciate the title of this piece:


    1. At least Kim Jong-un isn't an anti-vaxxer.