Donald Trump came into office promising to bring back jobs to America. But so far neither he nor the Republican Congress has done anything about jobs other than talk about them. When job growth in February exceeded expectations Trump was quick to take credit. In March the jobs report was lackluster, and the White House was largely silent. Now Boeing Aircraft Corporation has announced that it will be cutting its workforce again. What, if anything, will Trump say or try to do about it?
On April 17 Boeing announced that they will be cutting hundreds of engineering jobs in Washington state and at other company locations. That is a continuation of job reductions that began at the company in early 2016. The Seattle Times says Boeing has reduced its workforce in Washington state alone by almost 7,400 last year, and they may not be done yet. Boeing vice president for engineering John Hamilton said in a memo to employees,
“We anticipate (Friday’s notices) will impact hundreds of engineering employees. Additional reductions in engineering later this year will be driven by our business environment and the amount of voluntary attrition.”
The Seattle Times article offers Boeing’s main reason behind their job cuts — a lack of demand for new widebody jets.
[I]n December, Boeing Vice Chairman Ray Conner and the new chief executive of Boeing Commercial Airplanes, Kevin McAllister, issued a joint message to employees warning that “fewer sales opportunities and tough competition” would drive further cuts in 2017.
That warning followed on the heels of a decision to cut 777 production in Everett from seven planes per month to five per month beginning in August.
That move was forced by a continuing slump in widebody-jet sales.
Trump, the consummate conman, traveled across the country for months promising workers who had lost good jobs that thanks to his prowess as a deal maker, he would bring those jobs back. But jobs are still leaving, and Trump, even if he tried to do something about it, probably couldn’t stop the losses.
If you Google the search term “companies cutting jobs” here is some of what you’ll find about announced job cuts since Trump’s election:
- GM announced the layoff of 1,100 Michigan workers in March, the company’s fourth round of layoffs since last November.
- Just before Trump’s inauguration Lowe’s announced plans to cut 3,000 jobs in 2017, amounting to about 1 percent of the company’s total workforce.
- Hershey Chocolate is reducing their global workforce by some 15 percent, although in their case most of the job cuts will be outside the U.S.
Trump can claim he is going to bring jobs back to America, but in each of the cases cited above there is a common thread: weak or reduced demand for a product.
Republicans have been in thrall to “supply side” ever since their first god, Ronny Reagan, bought into the theory that even his own vice president once called “voodoo economics.” I have exactly zero degrees in the economic field. But I understand something that Republicans pretend not to understand (even though I believe they really do): nobody builds a new factory because they got a tax cut.
Trump is approaching Reaganomics a little differently, but it’s the same shit the GOP has been peddling for over 30 years. Under Trump’s rule it isn’t that all of the rich people will create new jobs out of the goodness of their hearts, it’s because he, as America’s Übermensch, will bully and cajole them into doing so.
But shit is still shit, no matter how you shovel it, and Trump will meet with the same failure on jobs that his Republican predecessors have. That failure will continue until Republicans own up to the notion that putting more money in the pockets of consumers is what creates jobs, not showering money on the rich or criticizing them on Twitter.