Despite President Donald Trump’s claims that he has delivered on his campaign promise, made to families at rallies across the country ahead of the 2016 election, to prioritize the needs of working Americans over the profits of billionaires like himself, workers’ advocates on Labor Day railed against the president’s clear loyalty to corporations and the one percent—as evidenced by his $1.5 trillion tax cut package and a number of other policies.
In addition to pushing the anti-worker Republican tax law which passed last year over the objections of 55 percent of Americans, Trump has presided over an economy in which real wages have fallen in the last year while repeatedly insisting that exactly the opposite is happening. The president has also celebrated the U.S. Supreme Court’s decision to weaken unions in Janus vs. AFSCME and pushed steel tariffs which are expected to lead to the loss of 146,000 jobs. Just last week, Trump canceled a planned raise for federal employees and proposed rules that will hurt workers ability to save for retirement while simultaneously moving to lavish another tax benefit on the nation’s richest with another $100 billion giveaway.
While the president is now regularly campaigning for Republican candidates running in the midterm elections on the slogan, “Promises Made, Promises Kept,” AFL-CIO president Richard Trumka predicted over the weekend that voters would likely not buy Trump’s latest sales pitch—having lived with the consequences of his party’s initiatives over the last 19 months.
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“Unfortunately, to date, the things that he has done to hurt workers outpace what he’s done to help workers,” Trumka told Chris Wallace on Fox News Sunday.
As critics predicted, the so-called Tax Cuts and Jobs Act—heralded by Trump and House Speaker Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) as one that would make a “big difference” for working families—has failed to change the everyday realities for the vast majority of Americans. While the law, on average, added an extra $33,000 to the coffers of the richest taxpayers, only two percent of workers reported receiving a pay increase or bonus after their corporate employers benefited enormously.
“The U.S. Commerce Department reported last week that after-tax corporate profits rose 16.1 percent in the second quarter, the largest year-over-year rise in six years,” wrote Leo Gerard at the Campaign for America’s Future. “But corporations didn’t use that money for raises. Instead they bought back record amounts of their own stock, boosting the market to all-time highs, making the rich richer, while workers’ wages actually declined when inflation was factored in.”
At The Nation, Robert Borosage advised Democrats running in the midterm elections to repeat as often as possible the clear facts of Trump’s effects on working Americans.
“Trump makes his populist economic posturing a centerpiece of his stump speech (along with along with attacks on the media and race-bait dog whistles to distract and divide),” Borosage wrote. “Democrats would do well to puncture the myth and expose the lies. Despite all the posturing, this is an administration and Congress beholden to deep pocket donors and entrenched corporate interests, that is acting relentlessly and systematically to undermine working people.”
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