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The Democratic Strategist

Political Strategy for a Permanent Democratic Majority

Trump’s Two-Faced Trade Policy Exposed

GOP nominee Donald Trump has built his presidential campaign around his image as an advocate of curbing trade to keep jobs in America. In reality, however, he has called for policies that do something quite different.

Dave Johnson’s post, “Trump Trade Position Is Opposite Of What People Think It Is” at Campaign for America’s Future clarifies Trump’s actual trade polcies:

One of Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump’s stronger economic appeals to working-class voters is his position on trade. Trump understands that people are upset that “trade” deals have moved so many jobs out of the country and he offers solutions that sound like he is saying he will bring the jobs back so wages can start going up again.

But a deeper look at what he is really saying might not be so appealing to voters.

Trump says the U.S. is not “competitive” with other countries. He has said repeatedly we need to lower American wages, taxes and regulations to the point where we can be “competitive” with Mexico and China. In other words, he is saying that business won’t send jobs out of the country if we can make wages low enough here.

Trump even has a plan to accomplish this. He has said the way to make U.S. wages “competitive” is to pit states against each other instead of using China and Mexico to do that. He has said, for example, that auto companies should close factories in Michigan and move the jobs to low-wage, anti-union states. After enough people are laid off in one state, he has said, “those guys are going to want their jobs back even if it is less.” Then companies will be able to “make good deals” to cut wages. He says that companies should continue this in a “rotation” of wage cuts, state to state, until you go “full-circle,” getting wages low enough across the entire country. Then the U.S. will be “competitive” with China and Mexico.

Put another way, all of Trump’s bluster about bringing jobs back to America is a smokescreen to mask his   support of hammering wages down to Mexican and Chinese levels. Under his plan, workers in America’s pivotal auto industry, for example, would no longer make a living wage. They would be reduced to subsistence wages. Their unions would be crushed and the effects would reverberate throughout the economy.

Johnson quotes from a Detroit News interview with Trump, in which the GOP nominee “said U.S. automakers could shift production away from Michigan to communities where autoworkers would make less”: “You can go to different parts of the United States and then ultimately you’d do full-circle — you’ll come back to Michigan because those guys are going to want their jobs back even if it is less,” Trump said. “We can do the rotation in the United States — it doesn’t have to be in Mexico.”…He said that after Michigan “loses a couple of plants — all of sudden you’ll make good deals in your own area.”

Like most Republican leaders, Trump urges tax cuts for the rich, fewer regulations and lower wages. Johnson notes that Trump has recently learned to stop talking so much about his belief that wages are too high. Yet lower wages remain a cornerstone of his economic policy agenda, and a vote for Trump is a vote for gutting middle class jobs, cutting wages and swelling the ranks of the working poor — a message point Dems ought to emphasize between now and election day.

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