In case you missed it… A new column by Washington Post economics writer Catherine Rampell calls out Donald Trump’s lies about an “American manufacturing renaissance,” writing, “even before covid-19 broke out, Trump had deserted Ohio’s manufacturing workers.”
Rampell talks with workers from the former General Motors plant in Lordstown — and finds their lives upended and torn apart. She kicks the tires on the Lordstown Motors deal that Trump has trumpeted — and finds it’s much less than promised.
- When President Trump steps on the debate stage Tuesday night in Ohio, no doubt he will claim the Buckeye State as his turf — living proof of his economic prowess, his ability to deliver an American manufacturing renaissance … It’s a lie.
- Not only because the poorly managed pandemic recession has destroyed 720,000 manufacturing jobs on net nationwide, including 38,000 in Ohio alone. Also because even before covid-19 broke out, Trump had deserted Ohio’s manufacturing workers.
- “They’ve betrayed the American worker, they’ve betrayed all those people who voted for them and supported them,” says Dave Green, the former president of the United Auto Workers Local 1112, which represented workers at a now-defunct General Motors plant in Lordstown, about an hour away from the presidential debate stage.
- In 2017, Trump held a nearby rally at which he told locals, “Don’t move, don’t sell your house,” because “we’re going to get those jobs coming back.” At that point, the GM plant, the area’s largest employer, had already ended its third (overnight) shift, an ominous sign. About a year later, the company cut its second shift the same week it announced it would build its new Chevrolet Blazer in Mexico — that is, exactly the kind of offshoring Trump promised to prevent.
- “I didn’t want to quit because I didn’t want to ruin my kids’ lives,” says Matt Moorhead, who had once been the union local’s sergeant-at-arms. … He resigned after less than a year, cashing out his 401(k) to fund his son’s tuition. Today, he works at an Ohio golf course for about $10 an hour. As for that rising tide that he was told would lift all boats, he says: “There’s no tide. There’s the people who have stilts, and there’s the rest of us bouncing around, drowning.”
- GM lent the startup newly created just for this transaction, Lordstown Motors, $40 million to buy and retool GM’s own idled factory. GM also invested $75 million in Lordstown Motors and will supply it with GM components — raising suspicions that this “new” company was merely an excuse to push out thousands of senior, unionized GM workers. And while the new firm recently unveiled a prototype for its first electric truck — the occasion for Trump’s self-back-patting comments on Monday — production won’t begin for another year.
- Even then, Lordstown Motors will require just a few hundred workers, who are expected to work at lower wages than the 4,500 employed at the one-time GM plant when Trump was first elected.
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