Autoworkers Mad at Trump For Job Losses, But They Voted for the Enemy
I have written extensively about the concept of terminal stupidity. This is the idea that some people are so uninformed and ignorant, they end up supporting decisions that threaten their own existence. This concept came up recently when GM announced it was going to shut down five plants in North America and lay off about 15,000 workers.
Many of the workers were furious at the news and especially at President Donald Trump, who had promised to save their jobs. He even went to the extent of telling them not to sell their homes, because their financial futures would be secured. Of course, this turned out to be nothing more than campaign rhetoric. By now it’s not news that Trump largely conned his way into the White House.
According to CNN, Carmela Denno, a Republican GM worker, was particularly incensed about Trump’s deception.
“I find it offensive,” said Denno. “We are the magic wand. We are the people that kept GM here all that time. We are a caring community. We are a good workforce. I felt we kept GM here, more than any President.”
I also found it surprising many of the GM workers were Republicans and union members. That is an oxymoron. A Republican union member makes as much sense as a vegan who frequents steakhouses.
Republicans have a long-standing animosity towards organized labor. They believe that unions are akin to communism. Republicans have always been on the side of union-busting policies such as Right-to-Work, which essentially means right to work for less.
There are several reasons why Republicans don’t like organized labor. Firstly, union jobs tend to pay higher than non-union jobs, and higher wages means the owners have to share more of their profits with their workers. Lower wages mean higher corporate profits and that’s the reason why many Americans corporations are on a never-ending quest for cheaper labor, whether it’s in the South, where unions are less popular, or in developing countries, where $8 per hour is a good wage.
In America, many auto manufacturing jobs have moved from the North, where workers made about $30 per hour, to the South where $18/hour is a good wage. Former Labor Sec. Robert Reich points out that, at its height, GM was the nation’s largest employer. Now it’s Walmart. Most Walmart jobs pay minimum wage and are also non-union.
Secondly, unions have traditionally supported Democrats. So by strangling unions, Republicans are literally killing a Democratic funding source. The war against unions is evident today. The Supreme Court recently upheld a law that limited the power of public employee unions to collect dues. This effectively curtails their political power.
So a union member voting for a Republican is literally voting for the enemy. Your voting for less worker protection and lower wages. This is a lesson several auto workers have found out the hard way. Case in point, Trump, who biographers say has never been a details person, railed at GM for receiving $157 million in tax cuts and still eliminating jobs. However, Trump never fixed a loophole that still gives manufacturers a tax incentive to offshore jobs. (Under President Barack Obama, the Democrats tried to overturn this law, but it was blocked by the Republicans.) GM also claimed they’ve been devasted by Trump’s steel tariff’s which have cost them $1 billion.
There has been a lot of schadenfreude (seeking joy in the pain of others) directed at the GM workers who voted for Trump and now find themselves jobless. I would advise them to study the words of Chinese military philosopher Sun Zu who advised people to “know your enemy.” Also, don’t vote for him!