Tuesday, February 14, 2017

One word: jobs

A Facebook friend explained why he supported Trump, “One word: jobs.”

Kellyanne Conway made a statement that people are coming up to President Trump, thanking him for saving their jobs. Trump and (then) Indiana Governor Pence had saved 800 of the 2,100 Carrier jobs from going to Mexico.

The State of Indiana has reportedly offered the company $7 million in tax breaks over 10 years to keep the jobs in the state. In addition, Mr. Trump is expected to ease up on his campaign pledge to slap a 35 percent tariff on Carrier air-conditioners imported from Mexico, a nice concession, given that Carrier will still be outsourcing more jobs than it is retaining in the deal. The most significant benefits could well come in the form of corporate tax cuts (and, inevitably, tax loopholes for specific industries) along with regulatory rollbacks, which Mr. Trump has promised, without supplying details. (New York Times, Dec. 1, 2016)

Trump said that he was going to make jobs but he never really said how he was going to do it – aside from cutting taxes and burdensome regulations on corporations. Let’s look at that. Here are my humble musings on how Trump’s policies, recent appointments and executive orders might affect the job market.

Healthcare continues to be a growth field. But with privatizing of our healthcare system, there will continue to be less nurses working more hours. The aging of America should also ensure more healthcare jobs, but Republicans are fighting to eliminate Medicaid and Medicare. You would also think there would be an increase in eldercare jobs, but Medicare also covers those services.

Trump has pledged to expand mining and fracking to public lands, so you might think that would increase jobs for those willing to travel back and forth to mining towns. However, these jobs are temporary. As soon as the mining companies decide it isn’t profitable, they pull out leaving a gaping hole and ugly abandoned mining towns where there used to be a pristine mountain or national forest. The jobs that were already lost when mining became automated aren’t ever coming back and that is a trend that is set to continue.

What about jobs building the pipelines? Those construction jobs last until the pipeline is completed.  But the Dakota Access Pipeline is nearly built. DAPL will create only 35 permanent jobs. There should be some jobs cleaning up the oil spills. However, Trump’s deregulation could encourage hasty cover-ups. It's time to leave behind this dead end industry.  Clean energy is a growth industry - the industry of the future. Solar energy already provides more long-term, high paying jobs than all of the fossil fuel companies combined.

Trump's cuts to the EPA will eliminate more than 3,200 jobs. Now compare that to the 40 jobs the Nestle bottling facility brings to Phoenix (to bottle up AZ. CAP water) or the 400 Green Valley miners who were let go when the mine was deemed "not profitable enough."
If Trump gets his way and mining is allowed in our national parks, that will hurt the tourism industry. People travel from around the world to see our national treasures. $21 billion is spent in Arizona alone!  But who wants to see smoke billowing out of the Grand Canyon?

Trump has promised to give sovereign Native American land to mining and oil companies. But the Water Protectors are leading the opposition. So... if Trump succeeds in making it illegal to protest, that may create more police and prison guard jobs when they are incarcerated.

Building the wall will create temporary construction jobs and ongoing border patrol jobs for those willing to live on the border. That will result in imprisoning even more undocumented workers. If Trump’s policies pan out, it looks like our biggest growth industry will be privatized prisons. If you’re worried about undocumented workers taking our jobs now, wait until corporations use them for slave labor.  Some of the manufacturing jobs that prisoners have taken over are: rebuilding computers, sewing, processing food, and metal fabrication.

Federal Prison Industries, better known as Unicor, enlists prisoners at 89 different factories across the country to create uniforms, bedding, shoes, helmets and flak vests for the United States military. Unicor employees are also responsible for creating everyday products for civilians, such as office furniture, batteries, extension cords, surge protectors, solar panels, safety goggles, sheets and blankets and, yes, license plates.

Trump’s pledge to make Mexico pay for the wall threatens the good relationship America has built with Mexico. American-owned factories are currently employing more Mexicans – ebbing the flow of undocumented workers into this country. Mexico is our number 3 trading partner. Exports to Mexico supports 1.1 million jobs in the U.S. That is more jobs than any other trading partner including Canada and China.

Tucson gets most of its produce from Mexico. Less than 4% of Tucson’s food is grown in Arizona. Where will we get our food?  Will drought-ridden California be able to take up the slack? Trump's actions are threatening our food security.  And what about all of those truck driving jobs?

With Trump threatening a 20% tariff on Mexican imports, Americans may finally get a chance to see what it’s like to do back-breaking farm labor (if they are willing to migrate from town to town as the produce comes in season). Wouldn’t it be great if that meant the return of small American farms?! But more likely, deregulation will make it even more profitable for big agriculture. And the factories that manufacture the food are becoming automated.

And there are other concerns. How much business will we lose when it becomes too hard to cross the border to shop? What about all the products undocumented immigrants purchase everyday?

And what about Trump’s plan to enact 35% tariffs on companies that take their jobs out of the U.S.? Even members of his own party are against it because many companies have already pulled out, it would make us lose trade, and would make products more expensive for the average consumer.

Donald is bribing manufacturing companies (with our tax dollars) to stay in the country. But these jobs will be phased out as it becomes cheaper for factories to be automated.

As Education Secretary Betsy DeVos pushes for more trade schools, Americans will be ill-equipped to compete with other countries for the jobs of the future that require problem solving and creativity. If she succeeds in privatizing education, teachers’ already low pay will go down because of the profit motive and less regulation on private schools. We are already experiencing a teacher shortage in Arizona because of low pay. What if that is extended nationwide? And what about all the teaching and support jobs at Universities that may be lost as fewer graduates can afford to attend Universities with profit-driven Betsy in control of student loans?

Many of the jobs still left in America are service jobs in the fast food industry. But there has been a trend away from unhealthy fast food, and it will only get unhealthier as the quality of the food declines with the removal of USDA and FDA food safety protections. Also, Trump showed his commitment to lowering the minimum wage (to make us more competitive) by appointing  Andrew Puzder as Secretary of Labor, (former CEO of Carls Jr. who fought the minimum wage and forced his managers to work 20 extra hours a week without pay). Puzder has now withdrawn his nomination. With service workers toiling more hours for less pay, they have less expendable time and income to go shopping, so that will hamper new business growth.

President Donald Trump has vowed to keep trying to ban immigrants, even as medical, scientific and technology groups work every possible angle to get employees and students through the new barriers. Without immigration, "we'd be a third-rate country," says Michio Kaku, the well-known author of "The Future of the Mind" and other books and a professor of physics at City College of New York. "Most of the prosperity that we see around us is due to the genius of the people that came in." Being able to attract the world's best and the brightest gives the U.S. a huge advantage, Kaku says. It makes for a bigger pie, so everyone gets more. (See article in link)

Also, if Trump continues to issue travel bans, that will affect the travel industry. In fact, it already has. Trump is currently dismantling the EPA and is putting a freeze on government hiring – more jobs lost. What about all the jobs in television and theater that will be lost because of cutting funding for the arts – not to mention all the artists who won’t be able to make a living?

Trump does seem well on his way to increasing jobs in the military complex – as he antagonizes world leaders possibly inciting them to war.

Between all the tax breaks for his billionaire friends, the average American paying for the environmental cleanup (caused by decreased environment protections), eventually bailing out banks and Wall Street (as a result of cutting Dodd-Frank), and the increased military budget - how on earth will we be able to afford the construction workers to rebuild our crumbling infrastructure?

From what I can tell, Trump’s policies should create more jobs in the military, law enforcement, the prison industry, homeland security, mining and oil extraction (for a while), pipeline and border wall construction (for a while), and produce picking. Some of us are gonna really have toughen up for those jobs. Or… we can stay at home with the kids…hmm... Only, with no minimum wage, families won’t be able to afford a stay at home parent. So we can continue to work in fast food. Wait! How much do you get for homeschooling your kids? Ask DeVos.

At least I've demonstrated that it's not as simple as "one word." These policies need to be thought through.

Update 11/06/2017:

 In order to pay for huge tax cuts to the wealthiest Americans and corporations, Trump's budget cuts government agencies and services to the American people.  That's about 200,000 jobs!  

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