Clinton and Krugman on Trump and Workers

As you might expect, Hillary Clinton’s campaign site has a lot of policy proposals. By my count, the “Issues” page has thirty-two topics you can click on to see what she wants to do as President. (Oddly, the only issues listed are domestic. There’s no page for foreign policy.)

Among the issues are “Fixing America’s Infrastructure”, “Labor and Workers’ Rights” and “Workforce Skills and Job Training”, but the one that I was especially interested in was “Manufacturing”. If you click on it, you’ll see that Clinton offers some sensible suggestions to increase manufacturing jobs in this country. However, it’s highly unlikely America will ever be the manufacturing powerhouse it used to be. Yesterday’s column by Paul Krugman explains why and also explains why Trump is no friend of working people, despite his tough talk on trade:

There’s no question that rising imports, especially from China, have reduced the number of manufacturing jobs in America…. My own back-of-the-envelope calculation suggests that completely eliminating the U.S. trade deficit in manufactured goods would add about two million manufacturing jobs.

But America is a big place, and total employment exceeds 140 million. Shifting two million workers back into manufacturing would raise that sector’s share of employment back from around 10 percent to around 11.5 percent. To get some perspective: in 1979, on the eve of the great surge in inequality, manufacturing accounted for more than 20 percent of employment. In the 1960s it was more than 25 percent…Trumponomics wouldn’t come close to bringing the old days back.

No matter what we do on trade, America is going to be mainly a service economy for the foreseeable future. If we want to be a middle-class nation, we need policies that give service-sector workers the essentials of a middle-class life. This means guaranteed health insurance — Obamacare brought insurance to 20 million Americans, but Republicans want to repeal it and also take Medicare away from millions. It means the right of workers to organize and bargain for better wages — which all Republicans oppose. It means adequate support in retirement from Social Security — which Democrats want to expand, but Republicans want to cut and privatize.

….And it should go without saying that a populist agenda won’t be possible if we’re also pushing through a Trump-style tax plan, which would offer the top 1 percent huge tax cuts and add trillions to the national debt.

Sorry, but adding a bit of China-bashing to a fundamentally anti-labor agenda does no more to make you a friend of workers than eating a taco bowl does to make you a friend of Latinos.