Reprinted from The New York Times by its Editorial Board on March 19, 2017.
President Trump traveled to Michigan last week and promised to recreate the industrial America that existed when Willow Run was “the arsenal of democracy” and Rosie the Riveter was a celebrated symbol of its work force. He would do this, he said, by lifting burdensome regulations and ending unfair foreign competition. By the time he was through, he promised, the 900 jobs that General Motors announced on Wednesday that it would retain or add in Michigan would look like “peanuts.”
On and on he went, talking doomsday nonsense and making outlandish promises to an American industry already enjoying record profits and adding jobs. Which raises the question: What is Mr. Trump himself actually doing to meet his campaign pledge of 25 million jobs for working-class Americans?
In a word, peanuts. His jobs strategy, to the extent he has one, is full of switchbacks and detours, the destination nowhere in sight. He tears up trade agreements that could lower the price of American products abroad, then backs a border tax that would raise the cost of components for manufacturers here. Instead of the $1 trillion infrastructure spending bill he promised, he sends Congress a budget proposal right out of the Republican establishment playbook that spends a ton on defense while shortchanging job retraining programs and public investment in essential needs.