Astute observers of the 2016 elections understood the exact moment when Donald Trump won the presidency. It occurred in February of that year when video captured a stonehearted managerial type coldly informing workers at a Carrier Air Conditioning plant in Indiana that their jobs were being sent to Mexico.
“It became clear that the best way to stay competitive and protect the business for the long term is to move production from our facility in Indianapolis to Monterrey, Mexico,” a company representative impassively stated as Carrier dropped the hammer on its American employees. “Relocating our operations to Monterrey will allow us to maintain high levels of product quality at competitive prices and continue to serve the extremely price-sensitive marketplace. I want to be clear: This is strictly a business decision.”
All the theorizing of free-market globalists and the smiling words of the establishment politicians who do their bidding evaporated into dust with this visual display. Real-life American workers were having their jobs wiped out in the name of cheap labor as they were told to their faces that they were merely a unit of cost to the corporation and nothing more. Candidate Trump had been talking of this very development – the destruction of our manufacturing base – for months. Carrier’s heartlessness going viral drove his campaign message home in a powerful way that went unmatched by anything an ideas-bereft Hillary Clinton could ever hope to muster on any issue. The election was truly over.
People Versus Professionals
Three years later, Americans still intuitively grasp the basic unfairness of lopsided multinational business practices and how they are crushing the middle class in our nation. A Harvard-Harris Poll has found that some 80% of voters surveyed support the “U.S. Reciprocal Trade Act” sponsored by GOP Reps. Sean Duffy (R-WI) and Matt Gaetz (R-FL). Breitbart’s John Binder detailed the exhaustive poll’s findings. The poll showed roughly 91% of conservatives, about 75% of Democrats and 77% of swing voters all in favor of reciprocal tariffs against countries at the same rate that they impose on U.S. goods.
This latest poll is further evidence that the forces that swept Trump into the White House in 2016 are still swirling strongly today. It’s truly stunning to ponder how little things have changed. A corporate media and establishment think tanks in the Swamp continue to parrot the narrative that tariffs and “trade wars” are wreaking havoc upon our economy while regular Americans stoutly back attempts to protect working class jobs.
The professional class in the media and cozy Washington, D.C. expert organizations remain clueless to the fact that most Americans have long tuned them out. As Breitbart’s Binder notes, five million U.S. manufacturing jobs have been lost since NAFTA was implemented in 1992. Free-market rhetoric about rising GDP and hand wringing over the stock market means little to people watching with their own eyes as jobs disappear in their hometowns.
Hitting Close to Home
The Alliance For American Manufacturing in 2018 interviewed James Stuber, author of the book “What if Things Were Made in America Again: How Consumers Can Rebuild the Middle Class by Buying Things Made in American Communities.” Stuber emphasized what so many Americans already know all too well.
“Most of us are not doing very well at all compared to the cost of living in America. And what we’ve been doing to ordinary Americans raises profound moral questions. The stock market almost has nothing to do with the working and middle class, and the unemployment numbers are misleading because it counts bad jobs, jobs where people are working almost no hours even though they wish they had a full-time job. So, when you look deeper, 10 percent would probably be a more realistic number for people that are underemployed and underpaid. Wages are basically stagnant. The Federal Reserve said that 40 percent of Americans couldn’t immediately come up with $400 in an emergency. We are on thin ice and people know it.”
“My passion for this grew out of my family working in the steel mills in Pittsburgh and Steubenville,” Stuber says. He struggles to comprehend how shortsighted U.S. companies can so easily accede to giving foreign nations like China a death grip on steel manufacturing “just to protect their own niche” in the supply chain. Eventually, Stuber says, China’s cutthroat business practices will turn on them as well. “I don’t understand why we are hearing such vociferous objections to paying a fair price for steel, one that includes paying workers a living family wage and a modest profit for the company,” Stuber asserts.
The American people do not want this state of affairs to continue. That is why they voted Trump into office. But they must do more. Making a concerted effort to Buy American and support local businesses in their communities is the only way to starve the multinational corporations who refuse to look out for their employees. It may cost more in some cases but consumers should realize their money is going to help keep their fellow citizens gainfully employed. The societal benefits more than justify paying a few bucks extra for simple everyday items.
“My son’s first hammer cost $25 instead of $15. It was worth it to support the community that made it,” is how Stuber puts it. One doesn’t have to fret about 100% purity or obsessing over every item bought, but striving to Buy American and Buy Local when we can is the most effective way to combat the globalists.
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