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Battleground states lose 27,000 manufacturing jobs despite Trump's promises

Michigan, North Carolina, Pennsylvania, and Wisconsin have suffered massive cuts since January.

By Dan Desai Martin - October 22, 2019
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Donald Trump

Michigan, North Carolina, Pennsylvania, and Wisconsin lost a total of 27,000 manufacturing jobs from January through September of 2019, NBC News reported on Tuesday. The job losses come in states Trump narrowly won in 2016 and are widely seen as battleground states in the 2020 election.

Pennsylvania, a state Trump won by a mere 0.7%, lost 8,100 manufacturing jobs in 2019. Two other states Trump won by less than 1%, Michigan and Wisconsin, also saw thousands of job losses in the manufacturing sector this year.

Trump won North Carolina by a slightly larger margin, 3.6%, but that state has lost 7,700 jobs since January.

The massive job cuts come despite Trump’s promise to restore manufacturing to the very states seeing a decline.

In mid-August, Trump visited Pennsylvania and claimed, “we’re restoring the glory of American manufacturing, and we are reclaiming our noble heritage as a nation of builders again.”

During a 2016 campaign stop in Michigan, Trump vowed, “If I’m elected, you won’t lose one plant … The long nightmare of jobs leaving Michigan will be coming to a very rapid end.”

Instead, Trump has guided the sector into a recession. In early August, Bloomberg reported that the U.S. manufacturing sector was “technically already in a recession.” A recession happens when the Federal Reserve observes two straight quarters of declining output.

Trump never promised a recession. At an October 2016 campaign stop in Fletcher, North Carolina, Trump promised, “We are going to start making things in North Carolina again.”

According to NBC News, Trump’s “protracted and chaotic trade war and haphazard policymaking have grown increasingly uncertain about the future.” And uncertainty in the market “affects [business] decisions about hiring and makes them more cautious,” Brian Phelan, an associate professor of economics at DePaul University, told NBC.

Trump’s “escalating trade war with China is taking a big bite from the manufacturing sector,” CNBC also reported in early August.

Rather than take care of residents in manufacturing states, Trump’s beef with China is causing an economic slowdown. And it’s not just the manufacturing sector.

Economists at major banks are warning of an impending recession that could hit the entire economy.

“Trade tensions have pushed corporate confidence and global growth to multi-year lows,” Chetan Ahya, Morgan Stanley’s chief economist, said in early August.

Trump “has made many empty promises to working class families” about fixing trade deals, Wisconsin Rep. Mark Pocan (D), who represents one of the states hardest hit by the recession, said in an email on Tuesday.

Rather than focusing on Trump’s trade wars, however, Pocan demanded “real and accountable changes” to U.S. trade deals in order to better serve “workers and families — not outsourcing corporations.”

While Trump himself has slammed trade deals like NAFTA as unfair to American workers, he has largely ignored the fact that his very own policies have potentially contributed to the burgeoning job loss problem.

As the Congressional Budget Office (CBO) noted last year, Trump’s heralded tax law, which he claims has helped the middle class, has in fact done the opposite, imposing a provision that encourages corporations to offshore “tangible assets,” including factories and manufacturing jobs.

“By locating more tangible assets abroad, a corporation is able to reduce the amount of foreign income that is categorized as GILTI (Global Intangible Low Taxed Income),” the CBO report read. “Similarly, by locating fewer tangible assets in the United States, a corporation can increase the amount of U.S. income that can be deducted as FDII (Foreign-Derived Intangible Income).”

That provision “may increase corporations’ incentive to locate tangible assets abroad,” the report concluded.

Published with permission of The American Independent Foundation.


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