Trump's Racism May Be Feeding Anti-Latino Hate Crimes in LA

Hate crimes had been in decline but 2015 saw an increase for the first time in seven years.

A report from the Los Angeles County Commission on Human Relations indicated a 69 percent increase in hate crimes toward Latinos in the city, LA Weekly reported Thursday.

RELATED: NYPD Infiltrated Black Lives Matter with Undercover Officers

Overall, hate crimes increased 24 percent “across the board” in 2015, marking a break a with what had been a seven-year decline.

“We are extremely concerned that reported hate crimes increased dramatically in 2015,” Robin Toma, executive director of the commission, told LA Weekly.

Los crímenes de odio habían ido descendiendo en los últimos años, pero han repuntado en 2015 (Foto: AP)

“The disturbing rise in bias-motivated crime indicates that, despite the gains made by historically marginalized communities, bigoted attacks are still a daily occurrence, and that is unacceptable.”

The report did not mention U.S. Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump but his heated and racist rhetoric toward Latinos is widely suspected of feeding into a climate that legitimizes white supremacy.

Trump has called for mass deportations and for a wall to be built on the U.S.-Mexico border in order to purportedly curb irregular migration.

RELATED:FIFA Is Wrong! Racism Is Rampant in Soccer and Here's Why

The commission reported that there were 34 crimes where anti-immigrant language was used. 74 percent of the crimes were violent.

The largest number of hate crimes targeted Black people who, according to the report, were “grossly over-represented.” Of the 241 reported racial hate crimes, 58 percent were directed against Black people, who only make up 8.3 percent of Los Angeles county residents.

Hate crimes targeting gay men and transgender women also saw an increase in 2015 over 2014. Transgender women saw the highest rate of hate-crime violence last year.

The uptick in hate crimes against Muslims and people of Middle Eastern descent coincided with attacks in Paris and San Bernardino by extremists claiming to act in the name of Islam.

The report specified that the numbers do not tell a complete story as the vast majority of hate crimes go unreported or are not classified as hate crimes.

  • Published in World

Stop Trump! Stop Clinton!! Stop the Madness (and Let Me Get Off)!

That’s the real issue this time,” he said. “Beating Nixon.  It’s hard to even guess how much damage those bastards will do if they get in for another four years.”

The argument was familiar, I had even made it myself, here and there, but I was beginning to sense something very depressing about it.  How many more of these goddamn elections are we going to have to write off as lame, but “regrettably necessary” holding actions?  And how many more of these stinking double-downer sideshows will we have to go through before we can get ourselves straight enough to put together some kind of national election that will give me and the at least 20 million people I tend to agree with a chance to vote for something, instead of always being faced with that old familiar choice between the lesser of two evils?

Now with another one of these big bogus showdowns looming down on us, I can already pick up the stench of another bummer.  I understand, along with a lot of other people, that the big thing this year is Beating Nixon.  But that was also the big thing, as I recall, twelve years ago in 1960 – and as far as I can tell, we’ve gone from bad to worse to rotten since then, and the outlook is for more of the same.

—Hunter S. Thompson, Fear and Loathing: On the Campaign Trail ’72

Another bummer indeed. It’s been nearly four and a half decades since His Majesty, Dr. Gonzo, wrote those words…and my oh my has the rot turned putrid, the stench overwhelming.

Were it only the fact that a corporate imperialist sociopath and a raving pseudo-fascist gasbag are competing to become the Murderer-in-Chief, one could simply retreat to the friendly confines of the Hobson’s Choice Inn.  There, among the carpets and curtains carrying the stains of elections past, one would watch the political circus in peace while doing the work of organizing against both Tweedle Bum and Tweedle Bummer.

But this time, there’s something even more sinister afoot, something far worse than mere cardboard cutouts in formal dress. No, this time it’s the pompous arrogance and vacuous prattling of “leftists,” “anti-imperialists,” and other assorted mental contortionists doing their damnedest to browbeat everyone within earshot (eyeshot?) that THIS TIME it’s important!

“How can you sit aside so smug and allow the fascist Trump to win? You’re being irresponsible,” they chirp.

“How can you attack Trump and let the Warmongering Witch of the West become President? You know what she’ll do,” they drone.

And the response to the denizens of both camps remains the same: If you’re not opposing both Janus faces of Dillary Crump while working to guillotine the many-headed hydra of the ruling class, then what the hell are you really doing?  Oh, right, I forgot – this is all “strategic,” it’s about avoiding a calamity by accepting a disaster.  I’m sure the children of Libya or Muslim-American and Mexican-American immigrants will understand as they are crushed under the bus beneath which they were thrown by a “progressive left” so quick to speak for them.

But perhaps it might be useful for the Left, of which I consider myself a part, to reflect on just what the sort of ‘sophisticated’ and ‘pragmatic’ politics of lesser evilism hath wrought: the continued evisceration of the working class by both the red team and blue team of the single ruling party, perpetual war for profit and Empire, an immutable rightward drift that makes Richard Nixon look like Eugene Debs, and a parasitical ruling class of finance capital whose greatest trick has been convincing the people that it doesn’t rule them.

And where are the victories?  What can we point to as the great breakthrough justifying the tactical vote?  [crickets]…[a single tumbleweed rolls along an empty desert landscape]

Have we seen anything but an acceleration of the worst aspects of imperialism and capitalism?  The climate is in crisis and we’re told by leftist royalty like the great Noam Chomsky that we should vote for Clinton because she at least recognizes the peril of climate change while Trump wants to put a lump of coal in Pachamama’s stockings.  But the obvious question then becomes: so what?

So what Clinton pays lip service to the global threat? She was an ardent supporter of the “All of the above” energy policy of Obama while promoting fracking around the world, taking massive campaign donations from energy industry lobbyists, and tacitly supporting the construction and expansion of the Keystone XL pipeline until it became politically untenable (thanks in no small part to the Bernie Sanders campaign).  And, of course, who could forget the votes she cast in support for expanded offshore oil drilling in the Gulf of Mexico, a shameful vote which directly contributed to the Deepwater Horizon spill in 2010.

I suppose the question should be asked of Chomsky: Is a begrudging vote for Hillary to be cast solely on the grounds of her having appropriately progressive and focus-grouped talking points?  It seems that’s just about the size of it. So then the inevitable follow-up question would be: Why f*cking bother rewarding her for knowing the importance of lying well?

And how about that pesky little World War III problem?  I can almost hear the “Oh, don’t exaggerate…Hillary doesn’t want to start a war with nuclear-armed Russia” cries from the tastemakers of the liberal unintelligentsia.  Well, let’s allow the Queen of Chaos to speak for herself.  In a raving, Strangelovian speech given before the mouth-breathing jingos of the American Legion, Clinton explained:

We need to respond to evolving threats, from states like Russia, China, Iran and North Korea…We need a military that is ready and agile so that it can meet the full range of threats — and operate on short notice across every domain — not just land, sea, air, and space, but also cyber space…You’ve seen reports — Russia has hacked into a lot of things, China has hacked into a lot of things — Russia even hacked into the Democratic National Committee! Maybe even some state election systems, so we’ve gotta step up our game…Make sure we are well defended and able to take the fight to those who go after us. As president I will make it clear that we will treat cyberattacks just like any other attack…We will be ready with serious political, economic, and military responses.

Did anyone else feel a shiver run down their spine, as I did?  Clinton literally advocates for war with Russia, arguing that a cyberattack which may, or may not, have originated in Russia be treated as an act of war.  Nuclear-armed Russia should expect a military response from the United States over allegations of hacking?  It’s sort of a pot calling the kettle black and trying to smash it with a goddamn sledgehammer kind of situation.

Now, of course, there are plenty of good people on the Left – Adolph Reed, Noam Chomsky, Arun Gupta, and many others – arguing that Clinton is a necessary evil to block Trump from bringing to fruition a full-fledged fascist movement that would have dire ramifications for social justice movements.  And there is undeniably an element of truth in that.

However, the wisdom of the logic relies on a false premise: Trump represents an existential threat while Hillary does not.  This basic assumption is undeniably flawed as global war with countries like Russia and China is indeed one of the great threats to humanity; this is precisely what Clinton’s belligerent foreign policy leads toward.  And there was a time when anti-war still was synonymous with Left activism.  What happened that we are now told that the pro-war position is necessary in order to stop, er, um, fascism?  How far we’ve fallen.

Trump: The Fascist “Anti-Imperialist”

In the unending search for the most imbecilic political logic, one comes across that rare breed of obtuse ignoramus who suggests that Trump is the anti-imperialist’s choice.  If that word has any meaning left today – something that is very much open for debate given recent developments – its application to Donald Trump is about as appropriate as referring to Clinton as the anti-fascist’s choice.

Trump doesn’t mean no more imperial wars; he simply means no more pretending our wars aren’t imperial.  He’s not for ending the wars, but rather fighting them with the nakedly neo-colonial intentions made overt that Clinton would only secretly share over candlelit dinners with Huma Abedin, Madeleine Albright, and Mephistopheles.  With people like Walid Phares, Michael Flynn, and Keith Kellogg as advisers, Trump will retain a pro-Israel imperial policy in the Middle East while advocating for NATO’s expanded mission of counter-terrorism.  Oh, excuse me, Trump wants Denmark to pay “it’s fair share” of NATO costs – pardon me while I release to the heavens a flight of doves in his honor.

What anti-imperialist isn’t enamored with a candidate who calls for a full military invasion of Syria and Iraq? And, of course, there’s no connection whatever between imperialism, colonialism and white supremacy, right?  Trump can spout the most virulently racist filth heard in US politics since George Wallace and Barry Goldwater went on a Tinder date to the Old Ebbitt Grill, and yet these anti-imperial mannequins swear up and down that Trump is an enemy of the Empire.  Even his complimentary reach-around to Bibi Netanyahu isn’t enough to shake the cobwebs from the faux anti-imperial noodleheads of the commentariat. Sigh.

And so, where does this leave us on the Left?  Everyone wants to bludgeon leftists into supporting Clinton to stop Trump using the familiar cudgel of “necessary evil”, while offering little to no additional direction other than “once the election is over we will…”  Yeaaaaaah, that’s worked out well for us thus far.

Others secretly root for Trump to upset the apple cart and open a space for the Left, conveniently forgetting that the Left remains a fractured and disunited bloc while the fascist right grows in strength and organization every day.  And commentators of the Left rush to tell their readers and fellow travelers that THIS or THAT is what they should do.

I’ve got an idea. How about we take a breath, drink/smoke/snort something nice and strong, close our eyes and listen close to hear the echoes of Dr. Gonzo reverberating off the walls of the Left echo chamber:

“Life has become immeasurably better since I have been forced to stop taking it seriously.”

Or, if that’s just too droll:

“In a world of thieves, the only final sin is stupidity.”

  • Published in Specials

Presidential election debate: Trump and Clinton clash

The two US presidential candidates have clashed over jobs, terrorism and race in a bitter television debate.

The attacks turned personal as Republican Donald Trump accused his rival Hillary Clinton of not having the right temperament to be president.

Meanwhile, Mrs Clinton baited Mr Trump by pointing out that he refuses to release his tax returns.

The New York showdown could be the most watched debate in TV history, with up to 100 million viewers.

US debate: Five Twitter takeaways

Key issues - where candidates stand

How does the US election work?

Hours before the programme, polls suggested the candidates were locked in a dead heat, adding to the tension between the rivals on stage throughout the debate.

The debate

"I have a feeling that by the end of this evening, I'm going to be blamed for everything that's ever happened," Mrs Clinton quipped when prompted to respond to one of Mr Trump's attacks.

"Why not?" Mr Trump interrupted.

"Yeah, why not," she answered. "You know, just join the debate by saying more crazy things."

What got people tweeting?

5 million tweets about the debate

  • 62% of them were about Trump

  • 444,000 were about NBC presenter Lester Holt (pictured)

  • 10,500 were about #UnlikelyDebateGuests

http://news.files.bbci.co.uk/vj/live/idt-images/data_pic-debate_tweets/lester_6nirb.jpgGetty Images

Mr Trump was later thrown on the defensive by moderator Lester Holt for not disclosing his tax returns.

He claimed he was under a "routine audit" and would release the document once the audit was finished.

But the hotel developer promised he would release them if his opponent released 33,000 emails that were deleted during an investigation into her private email set-up while secretary of state.

Out of media player. Press enter to return or tab to continue.

Mrs Clinton made a brief response to Mr Trump's attacks about her use of a private email server - which has haunted her on the campaign trail.

She said there were no excuses for the "mistake" and that she takes responsibility for it.

But she was also uncomfortable when defending her changing position on the controversial Trans-Pacific Partnership trade deal.

Other debate highlights:

  • He said she did not have the stamina to be president, to which she replied that she visited 112 countries as secretary of state
  • African Americans are living "in hell" in the US due to gun violence, Mr Trump said
  • Mrs Clinton criticised him for saying climate change was a Chinese hoax
  • She was attacked by him for being weak on Islamic State militants and soft on Iran
  • "You've been fighting Isis [Islamic State group] your entire adult life,'' Mr Trump mocked
  • In a wider assault on his treatment of women, she said he had called women "pigs, slobs and dogs".

One key exchange was over Mr Trump's long-held belief that President Barack Obama was born outside the US, a position he finally reversed two weeks ago.

"He has a long record of engaging in racist behaviour," she said, adding that it was a "very hurtful" lie that annoyed and bothered the first African American president.

When asked by Mr Holt to explain his change in stance, he said he wanted to concentrate on bigger, more important issues.

She attacked him for praising Russian President Vladimir Putin, and suggesting he "find" her emails.

"I was so shocked when Donald publicly invited Putin to hack into Americans. That is just unacceptable... Donald is unfit to be commander-in-chief."

The debate was the first of three between the two candidates, and the American voters go to the polls on 8 November.

Watch full debate (via digg)


So who did best? Analysis by Anthony Zurcher, BBC News, Washington

Donald Trump is the consummate salesman. Rules, tradition, even the truth are only relevant in so much as they help seal the deal.

The weaknesses of this approach is the perception that the salesman is all talk and no substance - a problem that can be exacerbated by 90 minutes under the debate spotlight.

In the end, the lawyerly preparations paid off for Mrs Clinton as she controlled the evening with forensic precision.

While Trump had a strategy - and pursued it on occasion - he was often blown off course by the former secretary of state and torpedoed by his own sometimes badgering performance.

While Mrs Clinton was occasionally prone to know-it-all-ness - particularly in her repeated appeals to outside fact-checkers - she largely maintained the upper hand.

More from Anthony


What do the polls say?

A CNN/ORC poll taken after the debate found that 62% of voters who had watched the head-to-head thought that Mrs Clinton came out on top, with just 27% giving it to Mr Trump.

This is based on interviews with 521 registered voters chosen as part of a random national sample. But only 26% identified themselves as Republicans while 41% identified themselves as Democrats.

An informal CNBC poll on its website found that 61% of people thought that Mr Trump won while 39% went for Mrs Clinton, but as CNBC itself points out, the poll is not scientific - anyone, including people outside the US, appears to be able to vote.

A post-debate survey by Public Policy Polling of 1,002 debate-watchers found that 51% of national voters thought Mrs Clinton had won, with 40% choosing Mr Trump and 9% undecided.


The US media view

New York Times - The editorial board was unimpressed with the debate, saying "when just one candidate is serious and the other is a vacuous bully, the term loses all meaning". Opinion writer Nick Kristof said Trump had "hurt himself", others said Mrs Clinton had "crushed" her opponent.

Washington Post - Writers unanimously called it for Mrs Clinton, saying Mr Trump had "bombed on the ultimate reality show" and "did not appear ready to be president".

Fox News - Pundits said Mr Trump had "struggled", "never took control" and "failed to exploit" the issue around Mrs Clinton's emails. "It helps to be prepared," one writer told the Republican candidate.

LA Times - Its panel of three commentators had Mrs Clinton winning every round. "Politics is harder than it seems, and Trump found that out tonight," said one. "Clinton was unflappable... and probably likeable enough," said another.

Breitbart - Writers at the hard-right news website said Mr Trump had "bludgeoned" Mrs Clinton on trade and accused debate moderator Lester Holt of "shilling" for Mrs Clinton. Some 75% of readers said Mr Trump had won.

The Hill - Pundits consulted by the Washington politics website said Mrs Clinton had won, but in a poll its readers called it for Mr Trump.

New York Daily News - The tabloid's verdict: "A grumpy loser! Trump pesters, interrupts Hillary throughout debate - but Clinton gets the last laugh."

US media verdict on debate


And the fact-checkers?

The much-vaunted role of fact-checkers in this debate was perhaps not as central as many expected it to be.

Mrs Clinton's denial that she had called the proposed Trans-Pacific Partnership the "gold standard" of trade agreements was called out by fact-checkers, as was Mr Trump's denial that he had called calling climate change a hoax invented by the Chinese.

Reality Check: Clinton v Trump debate


Was Trump guilty of 'mansplaining?'

Mr Trump is said to have interrupted Mrs Clinton three times as many times as she interrupted him during the debate, leading to accusations that the Republican was engaging in sexist behaviour by attempting to assert male dominance.

Role of gender in the debate


How did the moderator do?

Mr Trump initially told CNN that Lester Holt had done "a great job" and his questions were "very fair", but the Republican nominee did complain in a tweet that nothing had come up during the debate about issues on which Mrs Clinton is perceived to be weak.

Later, speaking on Fox News, he went on the attack: "He didn't ask her about a lot of things he should have asked her about... Why, I don't know."

When asked if he felt Holt had veered a little too far "into the left lane", he replied: "More than a little."

Former New York Mayor and Trump supporter Rudy Giuliani said Holt should be "ashamed of himself", and Fox media pundit Howard Kurtz accused him of anti-Trump bias.

Profile: Who is moderator Lester Holt?


More on the election

Who's ahead in the polls?

A-Z guide to political jargon

Full election coverage

  • Published in World

Israel Apartheid Wall Is the Muse to Trump's Mexico Border Wall

Trump's signature campaign propsosal is modeled, he says, on Israel’s “successful separation barrier."

Ahead of Monday’s presidential debate between U.S. Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump and U.S. Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton, the two nominees cozied up to their favorite ally in the Middle East, holding meetings with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.

RELATED: Clinton Skips out on Charlotte and Will Meet Netanyahu Instead

In Trump’s gaudy, gold penthouse in New York, the two discussed Israel’s apartheid wall at length, with Trump hailing it as inspiration for his own proposal to build a wall made of concrete and rebar as high as 55 feet along the nearly 2,000-mile border between the United States and Mexico.

Art along Israel's apartheid wall. | Flickr / Wall in Palestine

Israel’s 440-mile wall, touted as necessary for “security” reasons, cuts deep into the West Bank and isolates Palestinians in the region into ghettos and “military zones.” Along with its vast expanse, it is decked out with electric fences, trenches, cameras, sensors, razor wire and military patrols.

And in following suit with the covenants of past U.S. presidents, Trump confirmed his intentions to move the U.S. embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem, a disputed territory, once elected President.

“Mr. Trump acknowledged that Jerusalem has been the eternal capital of the Jewish People for over 3,000 years and that the United States, under a Trump administration, will finally accept the long-standing Congressional mandate to recognize Jerusalem as the undivided capital of the State of Israel,” a statement by his campaign communications team, posted on his Facebook page, read.

RELATED: Clinton and Trump Look to Gain Momentum at Presidential Debate

Hillary Clinton, too, has established her pro-occupation bona fides, saying in a speech at AIPAC in March, “I feel so strongly that America can’t ever be neutral when it comes to Israel’s security or survival.” Last summer, she publicly denounced the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) movement last summer.

In planning her itinerary on Sunday, Clinton chose to meet Netanyahu in lieu of heading to Charlotte, the scene of city-wide protests after the police killing of a Black man last week, Keith Lamont Scott.

  • Published in World

George Bush Sr., Perpetrator of Gulf War, 'Voting' For Hillary

David Frum, the Canadian-American neoconservative and former speechwriter for George W. Bush, said he and Hillary “overlap... and not just on foreign policy.”

Former U.S. President and long-time Republican George H.W. Bush is set to vote for Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton in the upcoming election, according to the niece of John F. Kennedy, marking a switch in party allegiance.

RELATED: Hillary Already Has Destructive Legacy in Latin America

Kathleen Kennedy Townsend made the comments on Facebook, where she posted a photograph of herself with the 91-year-old Bush Sr. with the caption: “The President told me he is voting for Hillary!”

In comments made to POLITICO, Townsend later confirmed she met with the former U.S. president in Maine earlier on Monday. “That’s what he said,” she told the Washington, D.C.-based news and policy company.

The Bush family have declined to comment on the allegations. Jim McGrath, a family spokesman, told the Guardian: “The vote President Bush will cast as a private citizen in some 50 days will be just that: a private vote cast in 50 days. He is not commenting on the presidential race in the interim.”Back in May both George H.W. Bush and his son, former president George W. Bush, announced they would not back Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump in the 2016 election.

It is believed the two were upset over a personal campaign waged by Trump against his competitor in the Republican race, the son of Bush Sr., Jeb Bush. In one televised debate, Trump referred to Jeb as “an embarrassment to his family.”

RELATED: Hillary Clinton 'Queen of Chaos' on Foreign Policy

Twitter users have also pointed to similarities between Clinton and the Bush family, especially in terms of foreign policy. Between them, the Bush family have been responsible for the Gulf War, the 2003 invasion invasion of Iraq and the 2001 war on Afghanistan. Meanwhile, Clinton has long been labelled a “hawk” and voted in favor of the Iraq war, while also supporting the war in Afghanistan, “regime change” in Libya and support for opposition groups in Syria.

On September 12, journalist and lawyer Glenn Greenwald re-tweeted a comment made by David Frum, the Canadian-American neoconservative and former speechwriter for George W. Bush, who said he and Hillary “overlap more than I do with many Republicans - and not just on foreign policy.”

@davidfrum Probably on a blind multiple choice quiz, my opinions and those of Hillary Clinton overlap a lot.

@davidfrum We probably overlap more than I do with many Republicans - and not just on foreign policy.

From ex-national security advisor Brent Snowcroft to former Commerce Secretary Carlos Gutierrez and former special assistant Shirin Tahir-Kheli, a raft of top-level Republicans have come out in support of Hillary over the past few months, including many from the administration of George W. Bush Jr.
  • Published in World

Dems call for action concerning Trump-Bondi money

A $40 million lawsuit against Trump University is still pending, but Lee County Democrats say more needs to be done.

Several Democrats joined former US Air Force General John Douglass on Thursday, calling for investigators to question Florida Attorney General Pam Bondi for illegal contributions she accepted from Trump's non-profit.

Education is everything to Douglass, especially for returning veterans.

"Access to a good college education should be a fundamental right for all," said Douglass.

So when he heard countless veterans had fallen victim to Trump University, he took it personally.

"When our veterans are being scammed by this and could lose all their money and get nothing for it, it's a real concern," said Douglass.

The $25,000 contribution was made just one month after a lawsuit was filed against Trump University.

"This is black and white, this is pay for play, and this is wrong," said April Freeman, candidate for US House of Representatives.

Earlier this month, Trump was hit with a $2,500 fine by the IRS for making the political contribution from his non-profit, which is against the law.

It left frustrated Democrats wondering what else Trump's yet-to-be-released tax records could reveal.

"Hillary is more than willing to show her tax returns, more than willing to show her medical records, more than willing to be as transparent as she possibly can, and from the other side we get nothing," said Mark Castellano, president of the Teachers Association of Lee County.

Last week, a letter to US Attorney General Loretta Lynch called for a similar investigation into Bondi. The letter was signed by 15 Democrats on the House Judiciary Committee accusing Trump of bribing Bondi.

  • Published in World

Trump and Clinton in Virtual Tie

Presidential candidates Donald Trump (Republican) and Hillary Clinton (Democrats) are nearly tied in for Florida''s electoral votes, a state that could tilt the scale next November.

Today Trump campaigns in Florida, a state he is forced to win if he wants to have a chance at beating Clinton.

Meanwhile, the Democratic candidate will be on Monday in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, another key state, where a victory at the polls can facilitate her journey to the White House.

A New York Times Upshot/Siena College Research Institute poll released today indicates that both candidates are in a tie for the state of Florida, where Hillary has a 41 % support against Trump's 40 percent.

Meanwhile, Libertarian nominee Gary Johnson has 9 percent of support and Green Party nominee Jill Stein follows with 2 percent.

The Democrat is seen favorably by 40 percent of possible voters and unfavorably by 53 percent , while Trump is seen favorably by 39 percent of pollsters and unfavorably by 55 percent

  • Published in Now

Can We Bring Back Many Factory Jobs? Let’s Do the Math

Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton promise to bring back jobs lost to foreign producers. There are many questions about these promises but the most important are whether they can do it, and how many jobs can be brought back. This piece focuses on the second issue.

How many factory jobs can be brought back? We’ve lost a lot of them. Manufacturing employees were 30% of the non-farm work force in 1955. Now they’re just 8.5%. To get the factory work force back to the relative weight it had in 1955, we’d have to add 31,000,000 factory jobs. That’s not going to happen.

Thanks to automation we don’t need as many factory workers as we used to. But we could have more than we do now. Imagine that through selective tariffs and less currency manipulation by China and other nations, government policy could cut the $600 billion manufacturing trade deficit in half. In that ideal situation, we might add two million jobs in the manufacturing sector.

Two million new factory jobs would be a plus for American workers. If these jobs offered better-than-average pay and benefits and union protections too, think what they could do if they went to the south side of Chicago, high-poverty areas of Milwaukee, to coal areas of West Virginia, to Fresno, Cleveland, Baltimore, Detroit, Philadelphia, St. Louis, Indianapolis, and the state of Mississippi.

These areas are among the poorest in the nation. We hear about them when a police officer shoots a young person of color or when residents go on a shooting spree. But politicians and the media don’t pay much attention otherwise. The major party conventions were held in two of these cities. Did one mainstream politician or journalist tour high-poverty neighborhoods and offer a credible analysis of causes and cures? I must have missed it.

More good jobs for poor areas would be a plus. But two million factory jobs won’t bring back the golden age of the factory worker, and they won’t make much of a dent in our good-jobs deficit. Fighting China and Mexico is not a jobs policy. To draw into the labor force millions of workers who have dropped out because of lousy job markets and to push the official unemployment rate closer to full employment–let’s say 2%–we need 10 million more jobs than we are currently getting.

That many extra jobs won’t come in factories and they won’t come by making the 1% richer with tax cuts. They will have to be created directly by the federal government in the public and private sector. We can start with the physical infrastructure, which is in D+ condition, and the social infrastructure, where we can expand affordable child care, cut class size in public schools, and much more. Neither candidate has made a major commitment in these areas.

  • Published in Specials
Subscribe to this RSS feed