1709370038 Trump and Biden Who is really on the side of

Trump and Biden: Who is really on the side of workers? | Business

Trump and Biden Who is really on the side of

There has been much speculation leading up to Tuesday's presidential primary in Michigan, but the actual results have not resolved the two most important questions: How many “disengaged” voters upset with President Joe Biden's handling of the war on Gaza will abstain in November , although Donald Trump would certainly support Benjamin Netanyahu much more than Biden? And how many workers will support Trump in the false belief that he is on their side?

But at least we can say with certainty that Trump is not and never has been a pro-worker person, but Biden is.

Of course, Trump doesn't tell the story that way. In September, during an auto workers' strike, Trump told employees at a non-union auto parts factory in Michigan that he had saved an auto industry that was “down and on its last legs” when he took office. The reproach. Biden, on the other hand, had joined the strike line of unionized workers the day before.

However, when it comes to Trump, these are purely fantasies of personal aggrandizement. By the time he entered the White House, the auto industry had already recovered most of the ground lost during the Great Recession. This recovery was possible because the Obama-Biden administration intervened in 2009 to save the industry's most important companies. At the time, many Republicans vehemently rejected this rescue package.

And Trump personally? He initially supported the bailout and years later sided with the Republican right that denounced it, saying: “They could have let it happen [la industria automovilística] would go bankrupt and rebuild.” He once floated the idea that automakers should move production from Michigan to lower-wage locations and then return over time “because these people want their jobs back, even if it's less If you don't understand what he means, he actually suggested breaking up the auto unions so that workers would be forced to take pay cuts. Populism!

After taking office, Trump, who campaigned as a Republican of a different kind, governed primarily as a conventional conservative. His promises to rebuild America's infrastructure – rejected by Republicans in Congress – became a running joke. His biggest legislative achievement was a tax cut that was a major gift to corporations and high-income Americans. His attempted “healthcare reform” would have destroyed Obamacare without a viable replacement and caused millions of Americans to lose their health insurance coverage.

Trump deviated from Republican Party orthodoxy by imposing significant tariffs on imports with the ostensible goal of restoring manufacturing. But by imposing tariffs on manufactured goods like steel and aluminum and raising their prices, Trump made American factories — and auto factories in particular — less competitive and likely eliminated net jobs.

Essentially, there is nothing to suggest that Trump and those around him have learned anything from this experience. In particular, the Trump team appears to remain convinced that tariffs will be paid by foreigners, when in reality their burden falls on American workers and consumers. Everything indicates that a second Trump term would be marked by just as ill-advised increases in tariffs as his first.

Despite everything, our economy was near full employment on the eve of the Covid-19 pandemic. But this largely reflected the fact that Republicans in Congress, who had delayed the recovery from the 2008 financial crisis by restricting government spending, suddenly loosened monetary policy after Trump took office.

How does Biden's record compare? While there was an outbreak of inflation during his term, the same thing happened to leaders in other advanced economies, making it clear that pandemic-related disruptions, not politics, were to blame. And inflation, despite some setbacks, has declined over time, even without the high unemployment that some economists thought was necessary.

When it comes to politics, Biden has clearly broken with Trump's golf course conservatism. In terms of infrastructure, it delivered. He has signed two major bills to boost manufacturing, one focused on semiconductors and another focused on green energy. Factory employment has fully recovered from the Covid crisis; Investments in this sector have skyrocketed.

I don't know how many Americans have even heard of these policy initiatives. Or how many realize that the Biden era has actually been good for workers' wages? Overall, wage increases remained above inflation and were faster for the lowest paid workers. As a result, most workers' inflation-adjusted wages are higher than pre-COVID levels and are actually above pre-pandemic trends.

In short, there is a reason the United Automobile Workers union supported Biden, even though many of its members will vote for Trump anyway because they believe he is on their side.

But Trump is not a populist. He's a fake. When he did real policy instead of speeches, he essentially governed like Mitch McConnell, but with tariffs. Biden, on the other hand, has actually pursued a pro-worker agenda – arguably more than any president since Franklin D. Roosevelt – and has led to a significant reduction in inequality.

How many of us will vote based on this reality? I think we'll find out.

Paul Krugman is a Nobel Prize winner in economics.
© The New York Times, 2024
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