We can add another entry to the already impressive list of lies President Donald Trump has told. A little over a year ago, Trump told workers at the Carrier manufacturing plant that he would be “the best jobs president that God ever created”. Trump helped negotiate a deal between the state of Indiana and Carrier that was supposed to help the workers keep their jobs. Instead, the company has eliminated around 500 jobs since July, with more than 200 jobs being lost just last week.
Trump managed to win hearts and votes in the Rust Belt with his jobs rhetoric. He continually talked about how he was going to save American jobs, and make sure that corporations stopped outsourcing work overseas.
Yet according to Robert James, president of United Steelworkers Local 1999, which represents many workers, including those at Carrier, “The workers that I talk to feel betrayed, because he made promises that he didn’t keep.” Further, many Carrier employees are afraid that the state incentives Carrier received from Indiana, which totaled around $7 million, are going to be used for automation, which would reduce the number of workers necessary even more.
Adding to the workers concerns, Trump has spoken less and less about cutting down on outsourcing workers to other countries, and instead focused on his tax reform plan. The tax plan, while contributing a little to middle-class income, mostly in the form of one-time bonuses, also brings fears that corporations will use the savings to pay executives even more while doing little to help the actual workers.
The problem is that America’s economy is changing. Manufacturing jobs have been dwindling for decades, while other jobs are going unfilled. Per Scott Miller, at trade policy expert with the Center for Strategic and International Studies, “We have this strange thing in our politics where people get elected promising to bring back 1950s jobs, when we can’t fill 2015 or 2017 jobs…That’s the core conflict that is unresolved in all this.”