Reading through the news over the past month, I’ve seen a lot of stories about worried people. Texas ranchers are facing difficulty in getting loans, farmers in the South and California are wondering if they’re going to be able to harvest their crops, thousands of people in coal country are worried about losing their health insurance, and farmers in the plains are concerned about losing export markets. Yes, they’re facing real problems, and they’re not happy. But here’s the thing: They all voted for Donald Trump and for Republicans for Congress.
After much press and campaigning, the Democratic National Committee elected a new chairman, Tom Perez. His main opponent, Keith Ellison, accepted the position of vice chair, and the overall message from the two of them was “unity.” Like clockwork, the “real progressives” promptly started whining about how the party “hadn’t learned its lesson,” and spent time on the internet and press complaining. What makes this annoying is some of the statements are from people who should know better.
My past three posts have been about the areas that went overwhelmingly for Donald Trump in this past election, and why they’re going to be disappointed, to put it mildly. Those aren’t the only places like that, and most of them are going to suffer the same disappointment, along with those who are suddenly finding out that the Republicans and Donald Trump meant what they said about repealing or “reforming” various programs and taking certain actions. Although my nasty side is looking forward to it, at the same time my better side is worried about it. You see, I live in a place like those. Very rural, clannish, virtually entirely white, and yes, things have been declining for years. It’s a place that went 2-1 for Trump, and during the campaign I heard all the reasons and justifications for it. Most of which were the result of cherry-picking statements, hearing what they believed, and a healthy dose of denial.
In my previous post, I talked about how modern manufacturing no longer relies on people to do the “grunt work” of manufacturing, but instead on mechanization. That’s also true of many other industries, and the fewer jobs that they provide require a more educated, flexible workforce than was the case in the past. That would be bad enough, but there’s another reason why so many of the areas that voted for Donald Trump won’t see the much hoped for job growth they’ve been promised: Infrastructure.
During the campaign, President Trump’s big selling line that he would be bringing manufacturing jobs back to America, and spurring job growth in what is now the Rust Belt and big sections of rural America. It was bought hook, line, and sinker by those areas, since they’ve been seeing declines for decades. As I pointed out last year, they didn’t share in the economic recovery other areas of the country. They’re going to be badly disappointed though, because any jobs that do return won’t involve them.