Politics

Published on April 24th, 2019 | by Guest Contributor

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Donald Trump, the Snake Oil Salesman

By Antonia Webb

The tax bill was a scam.

These are the words of Nanette Senters, a 20-year veteran of the General Motors plant in Lordstown, Ohio. Senters is one of roughly 1,600 workers in the Mahoning Valley who was recently laid off by General Motors as part of what the automaker has called a major restructuring.

Senters is right. The Republican tax law is an absolute scam. General Motors received a $157 million tax windfall from the Republican tax law yet went on to eliminate thousands of good-paying American jobs, many of which are blue-collar jobs. All the while, GM is continuing production in Mexico and China.

Nearly a year and a half after President Trump signed the Republican tax bill into law, it’s clear that the president sold Americans a lemon. But the tax law isn’t the only scam President Trump is selling to Ohioans. Trump’s entire populist pitch — including the president’s grand promises to save manufacturing jobs in communities like Lordstown — is built on a series of broken promises and meritless self-aggrandizement.

“Don’t move. Don’t sell your house.”

Take President Trump’s 2017 remarks at a rally in Youngstown, just a few miles from the Lordstown General Motors plant. There, Trump told Ohioans that the state’s manufacturing jobs were “all coming back.”

“Don’t move. Don’t sell your house,” Trump urged Ohioans. “We’re going to get those jobs coming back, and we’re going to fill up those factories or rip them down and build brand new ones.”

Those jobs did not come back. Rather, since Trump took office, more than 3,000 jobs at GM Lordstown have been eliminated, along with hundreds more at local suppliers. The median home price currently listed in Youngstown is $39,000, jarringly lower than the nation’s $279,000 median home price.

Still, Trump’s scam continued. Less than a year later, President Trump was back in northeast Ohio to promote his tax law. This time, Trump proclaimed the tax law a success, saying, “These big companies are bringing the money back and they’re investing it in the United States… and in Ohio, you know what’s going on. The auto companies are starting to come back, they’re starting to expand.”

Not in Lordstown. The sprawling GM facility remains unallocated. Hundreds of businesses throughout Ohio — from local diners to parts suppliers — are feeling the effects of the plant’s closure.

And even after General Motors announced its wide-sweeping layoffs, President Trump continued to perpetuate his scam by telling affected workers that their jobs would all come back, and fast. In an interview with Fox News, Trump dismissed the severity of the Lordstown plant closure, saying, “It doesn’t really matter because Ohio is under my leadership from a national standpoint. Ohio’s going to replace those jobs like in two minutes.”

Well, Mr. Trump, your two minutes have passed. Where are the jobs?

In a recent visit to Ohio, the president even went so far as to blame laid-off GM workers

If Trump’s broken promises to the Mahoning Valley weren’t tasteless and damaging enough, the president has gone on to cast the blame for GM Lordstown’s closure on anyone other than himself.

Trump accused a local labor leader of not fighting hard enough to save GM Lordstown. That same labor leader — UAW Local 1112 President Dave Green — reached out to President Trump twice urging the president to act. Green never heard back. Trump pointed his finger at GM, even though the tax law that Trump championed incentives companies like GM to move their production overseas. In a recent visit to Ohio, the president even went so far as to blame the laid-off GM workers.

Yes, Trump’s tax law is a scam. So, too, are Trump’s many broken economic promises. Ohioans are witnessing firsthand President Trump the snake oil salesman: A man selling bogus promises and fake cures then dodging responsibility when his exploitation is exposed.

Unfortunately, it’s Ohio workers who are paying the price.

Antonia Webb is the state director of For Our Future Ohio (FOF-OH), is a statewide coalition organization that builds progressive power through voter engagement and community organizing to create shared economic prosperity, strengthen public education, advance social and racial justice, and preserve the environment. FOF-OH’s founding partners are the AFL-CIO, AFSCME, American Federation of Teachers, Communications Workers of America, National Education Association, and NextGen America.

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