Trump’s Broken Promises on Pennsylvania’s Economy
In 2016, Donald Trump campaigned in Pennsylvania and vowed to supercharge the state’s economy. He didn’t. He’s been back many times since, making promises – some of them very specific – that he hasn’t kept.
Still, Trump’s boasting of a strong economy in the Keystone State, no matter how fictional, has become central to his reelection bid. In a September town hall for undecided voters, Trump faced Pennsylvanians who endure real-time economic consequences from his handling of the coronavirus. Multiple times during the conversation, he hammered the delusion that the economy is rebounding to a former glorious state under his leadership.
That’s why Democrats must tell the whole story to Pennsylvania voters: the state’s economy, jobs and businesses are all worse because of Donald Trump, and real Pennsylvanians have been hurt. They can’t take four more years of Trump’s lies and broken economic promises.
If you want data – the facts and figures about Trump’s impact on the economy of Pennsylvania – the Center for American Progress Action Fund has put them all together. But to give your friends and neighbors the full flavor of Trump’s betrayal of Pennsylvania, you should also tell them about how he has betrayed these people:
“Under a Trump Presidency, the American worker will finally have a president who will protect them and fight for them.”—Monessen, PA 06/28/16
- “It was hard to say goodbye to people. Some of my employees have been with its for more than 50 years. It’s a killer.”: Due to the pandemic, the Pennsylvania unemployment rate reached 16.1% in April, roughly doubling the peak of the 2009 recession. And for Doug Anderson, whose family operated school buses in four districts near the Pittsburg area, laying off loyal employees has been one of the harder parts of this year. Trump likes to focus on the stock market’s status as an overall indicator of the country’s health, but most Americans can’t go by that scale, including the state of Pennsylvania, which was hit by more jobless claims than any other state back in March.
- “I think he’s letting the American worker down.” Like many Pennsylvania union workers, Ron Dombkowski was convinced that the president would fulfill his promise to bring back manufacturing jobs; instead, he’s seen Trump weaken worker protections and undermine unions on a large scale. Potentially cut wages at his own workplace and the closure of neighboring GM Lordstown plant have contributed to his new dark reality in the current administration, which include Trump putting political cronies on the National Labor Relations Board, rolling back overtime protections, and weakening the collective bargaining rights of federal employees.
- "There's a list of closures and shutdowns -- not COVID-related, they're business related -- and it's because there's sort of a failed policy about it,": According to United Steelworkers Union International President Tom Conway, Trump’s boasting is all for show – the reality is that PA manufacturing under this president consists of cycles of rises and falls. Bryan Pietrzak, a machinist who’s schedule was reduced at Wabtec, Erie’s largest manufacturer, said it best when describing who truly benefits from Trump’s turbulent economy: “it’s not trickling down to the workers at all. It’s staying in the boardrooms”.
- “We went from $10.30 a bushel down into the $8 and eventually the $7 (range)… It's just been absolutely horrible.”: Between 2017 and 2018, as Trump ran his trade war with China, revenue from exports were reduced by almost $10 billion. Since China is the second-largest market for Pennsylvania agriculture, farmers like Fayette County resident Richard Burd were forced to drop prices per bushel by almost $3, and dairy farmer Rick Telesz took a 20 percent cut. This is a scary definition of a “successful” economy for a state whose leading industry is agriculture.
- Government leaders are “focused too much on the lockdowns by themselves and not the actual risk of the virus, which is a major disruption to business,” economist and Pennsylvania business owner Adam Ozimek His entertainment complex, like so many others, is seeing just 28 percent of revenue from last year. When Donald Trump insisted that Gov. Wolf needed to “open this state up” in August to stimulate the economy - without doing anything to mitigate the spread of the virus – it was an insult to business owners trying to survive.
- “I get $6 more per pay, but my tax liability increased over $3K – so the tax plan did NOT help me.”: Charles from Allegheny County is one of many Pennsylvanians who suffered from the adverse effects of Trump’s tax plan; in fact, over 375,990 Pennsylvania families paid more in taxes as a result of the 2017 tax cuts.
Trump has sold Pennsylvania workers and families a bill of goods. He has lied, broken promises, and betrayed their trust. Pennsylvania Democrats must make sure voters know it.