Monday, April 17, 2017

Why Does Trump Feed Off Of Only Some Jobs?

Donald Trump tells coal miners and those who have lost manufacturing jobs that he will bring those jobs back.  Paul Krugman explains why Trump chose to focus on those jobs.  It certainly helped him in coal country and in the Midwestern states that he won by a narrow margin.  Krugman also explains why most of those lost jobs are not coming back.  That matters little to Trump.  The election is over. 

Krugman also points to job losses in the services sector that Trump has ignored.  For example, changes in the retail industry are visible everywhere.  The success of Amazon and big box retailers have led to huge job losses.  Large retail chains are shutting their doors and malls are closing down.  In small towns across America local shops are also closing down as consumers alter their purchasing habits in favor of online retail outlets.  Those jobs aren't coming back either.  New technologies have made online retail less expensive and more convenient for consumers.  However, Trump can't blame those job losses on villains like China or on immigrants.  Without a villain to blame those lost jobs have gone unnoticed by demagogues like Trump. 

Krugman tries to make a case for social welfare programs that might ease the pain for those who have lost their jobs.  That is a tough sell to Republicans who prefer to cut taxes for the rich and pay for the tax cuts by cutting social welfare programs.  Unfortunately, it is also a tough sell to most Americans who have lost their jobs.  They would rather work and collect a paycheck than depend upon checks from the government.  Our economy is driven by a search for efficiency.  The good news is that it lowers prices.  The bad news is that we can produce more output with fewer people.  That is a problem that will not go away.

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