Sunday, October 2, 2016

Donald Trump and His Magic Wall

This post first ran last October. Since we are still waiting for Mexico (or now, maybe, Russia will help us, since Donald Jr. is such a good friend of theirs) to write a check for the Wall, I thought it was time to run it again.

I can’t stand it anymore. If not one person reads this post, I don’t care. I have to vent or my cranium will explode.
First, let me say I consider Donald J. Trump the most un-American candidate ever put forth by any major political party. Strom Thurmond in 1948 was worse, and George Wallace in 1968, but neither had a chance of winning. Trump believes in torture.Trump wants to try American citizens in military courts. (Combine those ideas and see where it leads!) 

He called reporters the lowest form of life,” typical of his repeated dehumanizing comments, and hints at a desire to curtail the free press. He’s for suppressing the right to protest and punching protesters in the face.

So you wonder. If Trump is in favor of the Second Amendment, what about the 1st, 5th, 6th, 7th and 8th?

I taught American history for thirty-three years. I understand there are two sides to any argument—or four—or five thousand. I get why white, working-class Americans, without a racist thought in their minds, support Trump. If my job was in danger of being outsourced to Sri Lanka, I’d be fuming too.

Come to think, I’ve been fuming about what has happened to the average American worker for three decades and more. That’s why I’ve generally voted Democratic since I was first old enough to vote in 1972. I watched as Republicans crushed labor unions in the 80s. They said union workers were greedy. Then Big Business folks shifted jobs from Ohio, Michigan and “Rust Belt” states to low-wage states like Tennessee, Texas and Alabama, where GOP politicians were in control. 

Conservative thinkers proclaimed: “This is good. This is free enterprise at work. We are jacking up profits and CEO pay (now 300 times higher than that of their average employee). While you’re at it how about some really fat tax cuts for Big Business folks, so we can create even more jobs!”

No one seemed to notice that very few new jobs were actually created. Jobs simply shifted from high-wage to low-wage states.

Meanwhile, the average American workers’ wages stagnated and then declined during the early 80s, when Ronald Reagan was in charge. 

(See Figure 3; below; and link here.)

Some Americans are doing very well; probably not you.

In fact, since 1979, the only significant gains for workers came during a seven-year stretch, during the presidency of Bill Clinton (1994-2000), when the bottom 90% saw income increase by 14%.

What happened next? 

Naturally, workers in Tennessee and Texas and Alabama began seeking higher pay. So the Big Business folks scratched their heads and consulted their bank accounts and began hiring as many illegal immigrants as they could. Democrats didn’t do it. Big Government didn’t make them. 

The Big Business folks, heart and soul of the Republican Party, did. And they were glad to do it and stuff giant wads of cash in their own pockets.

Donald J. Trump did it too.

According to Time magazine (August 25, 2016), in an article based on thousands of pages of court records, in 1980, when Trump was building his famed tower in New York City, he pulled an “art of the deal” move. He used hundreds of illegal immigrants from Poland to do demolition and prepare the building site. As the Time story makes clear, those illegal workers were willing to put in twelve-hour shifts without overtime pay, to do the job without safety equipment, to hammer and smash at a much lower hourly rate, and not protest if contributions to social security or pensions were not made. When contractors hired by Trump stiffed the Poles, they were in no position to complain.

Now: let me say before continuing that I do not believe immigrants ruin America. My ancestors were Irish immigrants who labored long and hard, for poor pay, digging the Erie Canal. I do not believe all illegals from Mexico are “rapists.” In fact, you can make a sound argument for a wall on our southern border—and you can make it without sounding like a buffoon, as Trump so often does.

Well, then, what about that magic wall? 

Let’s say Mexico does pay for the wall, as Trump assures supporters it will. Will it keep American jobs IN? Will it create a fiscal force field of some kind? Where have all the good jobs been going? Who has made them disappear? We know millions have been outsourced to China in the last fifteen years.

President Obama—the guy Trump tried to delegitimize for years—didn’t ship a single job to China.

Big Business folks did. (This is why we should choose a businessman for president, I guess.)

By 2012, for example, Apple had shifted all product assembly work overseas, 700,000 jobs to China. Why? Workers in China can’t unionize. (The GOP salivates over that.) The workers in China put in 100 hours a week and companies gyp them out of overtime pay. (See: Trump Tower, above.) Chinese workers earn only a few dollars per day. (See! No minimum wage! Republicans love that too!)

Indeed, it’s easy to predict that Republicans aren’t going to lift their little fingers to help the average worker, even should Trump win. And even a wall 10,000 feet tall on our southern border won’t keep jobs in. The Big Business folks have been bamboozling white, working-class workers with sham promises for years, while screwing them out of their jobs. “Oh, we will protect you,” they say. “The evil Democrats want to take away your 310 million guns. Oh, the evil Democrats want to force you to attend gay weddings and eat rainbow-frosted cake. We, the Big Business folks, we promise you a big tax break!”

For decades, hard-working Americans fell for a monetary bait-and-switch. They took their tax cut crumbs, $500 here, $1,000 there.

The jobs still disappeared.

The average worker still had no pension and got no raise.

Don’t believe me? Read what the Wall Street Journal, mouthpiece of Big Business folks, once had to say. In 2011 the paper noted that during the 2000s corporations cut 2.9 million jobs in the United States while increasing employment 2.4 million overseas. Who were some of the big names in this leave-American-workers-behind rush: Caterpillar, Microsoft, General Electric and Wal-Mart.

The same sordid tale played out across all states, involving workers in all areas of production. Alcoa outsourced jobs. 

Caterpillar decided to build bulldozers overseas. 

Levi Strauss began producing jeans in Indonesia. Check out their employment website for that country today! 

Oklahoma Joe’s joined the exodus—Boomer Sooner in reverse—and shipped jobs to China. (See below.) 

Made in China! Go figure.

And those iconic Chuck Taylor tennis shoes I wore when I was a lad, made by workers right here in the United States?

Those shoes are today produced overseas in Indonesia, Pakistan and Vietnam.

I follow these stories closely. I’m a Democrat, and a liberal, you see. I know Trump’s magic wall won’t keep jobs in; not when Big Business folks ship them out every single day. Yet, I would argue you could produce grills and jeans and Chucks here in the United States, if the Big Business folks cared. 

The Big Business folks don’t care. They bleed green, not red, white and blue.

The GOP has favored out-sourcing jobs—first to low-wage states—then overseas—for decades. The Walton family stuffs their Wal-Mart stores with cheap foreign-made goods, while spending tens of millions to elect GOP tools to state and federal office. They fight incisors and claws to keep wages and benefits low, and howl at the thought of any increase in corporate taxes. Meanwhile, Jim, Alice and S. Robson Walton watched their wealth grow to a combined $97.8 billion in 2016. Sheldon Adelson had enough cash stashed under his bed ($25.2 billion as of today) to allow him to donate $150 million in 2012 to elect GOP politicians, including Mitt Romney, he of the famed 47% speech.

In that speech Romney talked about the blessings for businesses of investing in China. (That part of the speech was generally missed.)

So here’s my prediction. If Trump is elected, the GOP will continue to push trickle-down policies, like the Bush Tax Cuts (2003), promising pie-in-the-sky, always promising—really, this time we mean it —millions of good jobs will result.

(Maybe: jobs in Bangladesh!)

The super rich will get super richer; even when GOP policies fail, as they surely will, to benefit the average worker.

Here, I think it might be relevant to consider a bit of recent evidence. In 2003, with Republicans in control of the White House, net jobs added for the year (with all those great tax cuts) totaled a measly 113,000.

Over the next four years (2004-2007) an average of 2,163,000 jobs were added annually, good, but not great.

Then the economy, with the GOP and the Big Business folks riding high, completely tanked. During 2008, on into January 2009 (before Obama took office), we saw a net loss of 4,360,000 jobs, meaning that during his last six years in the White House President George W. Bush, despite fat tax cuts for fat cats, produced a net 3,548,000 jobs. 

In the next eleven months, till the end of 2009, we suffered a net loss of 4,279,000 more jobs.

It may be convenient to blame those losses in 2009 on President Obama; but to do so you would have to ignore the laws of physics and know little to nothing about the challenges of climbing out of deep recessions and near-depressions.

You would have to be a chump. Or maybe: Sean Hannity.

You should also remember that many of those jobs weren’t “lost.” They were shipped overseas by the people who run Wal-Mart, J. C. Penny, Hanes and GE. According to a report by Harvard University, Big Business motivation was crystal clear. In places like Honduras, desperate workers would take any job no matter how low the pay. In fact, many new employees were children. 

According to the Harvard research team:

The children report being routinely slapped and beaten, sometimes falling down from exhaustion, forced to work 12 to 14 hours a day, even some all-night, 19-to-20-hour shifts, often seven days a week, for wages as low as 6 ½ cents an hour. The wages are so wretchedly low that many of the child workers get up at 5:00 a.m. each morning to brush their teeth using just their finger and ashes from the fire, since they cannot afford a toothbrush or toothpaste.

Then, in 2010, a more positive trend developed. During President Obama’s next six years—even with taxes on the richest Americans slightly raised—even with Obamacare in effect—even with Big Business folks still shipping jobs to Mexico or overseas—conditions gradually improved.

In 2010, 1,135,000 jobs were added to the American economy—not great, but a turn of the red fiscal tide.

Over the next five years (2011-2015), 12,306,000 jobs were added to the economy, an average of 2,461,000 annually, better than anything the GOP managed in the halcyon days of George W. Bush.

Indeed, this healthy trend has continued this year, with an additional 1,452,000 jobs added in the first eight months.

Oh, yes. I forgot.

Donald J. Trump says everything is rigged—from unemployment numbers, to thermometers, to polls, (except when he’s winning), to elections (before they’re held), to the peanut butter and jelly sandwich he had for lunch (not enough jelly; and by the way, did anyone notice that waitress was fat!). Yet, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, we’ve had 71 consecutive months of job growth under Obama. New unemployment claims have been under 300,000 for 81 weeks, the longest stretch since 1970. Consumer confidence today is the highest since before the Great Recession. The stock market has more than doubled with a Democrat ensconced in the Oval Office.

Not bad for a guy born in Kenya, right Mr. Trump?

Oh, wait, no.

You said in the recent debate that Hillary Clinton pushed the birther claim in 2008. You didn’t have anything to do with it. You were as innocent as a babe.

She pushed it in 2008. So you can’t be blamed because your lips kept moving for the next five years, saying, even in February 2015, that you didn’t think President Obama’s long-form birth certificate was real. And you didn’t bother to correct the hate speech of a person at one of your September 2015 rallies, when a questioner said: “We have a problem in this country. It’s called Muslims. We know our current president is one. You know he’s not even an American.” 

You didn’t respond as any fair-minded American should. You didn’t say, “We don’t have a problem with Muslims. We have a problem with terrorists who are Muslim.” 

You didn’t respond to the man in your audience: “Sir, do you realize that the U. S. Constitution says there shall be no religious test to hold any public office. So, if President Obama is a Muslim, it doesn’t matter.”

You responded: “We need this question.”

You pedaled birther lies until just last month, when you realized it was hurting you in the eyes of fair-minded Americans, who make up by far the great majority of the general electorate. Yes. Mrs. Clinton was wrong about that. She said half your supporters were deplorable. That’s not right.

Still, your slippery bigotry—and the hard-line bigotry of a chilling fraction of your core constituents—add to the repellent nature of your candidacy; and that’s another sad story for another sad day.

Who shipped millions of good American jobs overseas?
Not President Obama and the Democrats. Big Business did.


  1. You have to be more than a chump to blame Obama for the job losses in his first year in office. You have to be an ignorant easy to manipulate fool.

    Every presidents first year in office runs on the budget presented to Congress by the previous president. in reality, in 2009, Obama was running the country guided by G. W. Bush's last budget right before he left office.

    And most if not all of the bills passed by Congress that were supported by the White House during the Obama administration in 2009 didn't become law until months or years later. For instance, what's known as Obama Care was signed into la by President Obama in October 2010.

    What Bills did Obama sign into law in his first year in office?

    First, all fools and chumps must remember that a president can't sign into law a bill that wasn't first approved by a majority vote in both houses of Congress. And a president can't appoint a justice to the U.S. Supreme Court without approval from the U.S. Senate first.

    1. On January 29, Obama signed a bill for the first time in his presidency; the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act of 2009 revised the statute of limitations for filing pay discrimination lawsuits. Hey Obama haters and chumps, how much did that add to the Federal National debt? How many jobs were lost because Obama signed that bill, a bill that had to gain a majority vote in Congress first.

    2. On February 3, Obama singed the Children's Health Insurance Program Reauthorization Act (CHIP), expanding CHIP's health care coverage from 7 million to 11 million children.

    3. On March 9, 2009, Obama lifted restrictions on federal funding of embryonic stem cell research. He also said he would follow in G. W. Bush's footsteps with this bill and combat anything he felt was unconstitutional.

    4. Obama also signed the Omnibus Public Land Management Act of 2009, which added 2 million acres of land to the National Wilderness Preservation System, as well as a law passed by Congress raising the cigarette pack tax by 62 cents.

    Perhaps the most important of Obama's first 100 days was the passage of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act(ARRA)to address the Great Recession. This was a bill that could not have been signed by Obama without having first been passed by a majority vote in Congress.

    In addition, what is the real cause for the increase in the federal national debt during the OBAMA administration.

    "In early 2009, President Obama took over, amid the worst recession since the Great Depression. President Obama signed an $800 billion spending increase at the same time that GDP and tax collections tanked. The combination of these two factors--growth in spending and a drop in revenue--exploded the deficit to $1.4 trillion. In 2010, the economy and tax collections improved modestly, and the deficit shrank to $1.3 trillion annualized."

  2. Hillary wants to start a war with Russia and Syria, how is that any better? Surely in all your years you would have learnt war is not healthy. Instead you are demented and think that electing someone who is about as corrupt as they come into office. You are no American, you wish nothing more to see our republic fall.

    1. Well, what an ignorant comment. Last time I checked I was born in Akron, Ohio. Then again, Trump and his fans love to discount the citizenship of those with whom they disagree. In fact, I served with the Marines during the Vietnam War--not that I was sent overseas; but Donald's feet hurt too much for him to do his duty. I even pay taxes to this country I love.