If This is the Art of the Deal, We’re in Trouble

Elizabeth Brotherton-Bunch

Elizabeth Brotherton-Bunch Digital Media Director, Alliance for American Manufacturing

Hey, remember this?

That Donald Trump clip has a little bit of everything: Trump Tower, the George Washington Bridge, Tom Brady, and even ISIS. It's from Trump's 2016 speech launching his presidential campaign, and set the course for his campaign and eventual presidency.

As you might recall, the entire speech is, um, very Trumpian. In the clip above, Trump makes the argument that China is hurting the United States because of unfair trade, and it's time for new leadership (guess who!) to make a better deal. Here's Trump:

We have all the cards, but we don’t know how to use them. We don’t even know that we have the cards, because our leaders don’t understand the game. We could turn off that spigot by charging them tax until they behave properly. 

Which brings us to this past weekend.

Trump administration officials and Chinese leaders held a series of meetings in Beijing and Washington over the past several weeks to talk trade issues. The talks stemmed from Trump's decision to issue tariffs on select Chinese products in response to China's years of unchecked theft of intellectual property. China, you'll recall, responded with its own set of tariffs on American products.

On Saturday, following the conclusions of the talks, the U.S. and China issued a joint statement. But as many already pointed out, there's not a lot actually here.

China made no tangible, enforceable commitments to finally begin to address its intellectual property theft, which costs the American economy hundreds of billions of dollars every year. China also didn't agree to any measurable reform of its many unfair trade practices (state-led capitalism, industrial overcapacity, piracy, currency cheating, etc.) that cost 3.4 million American jobs between 2001 and 2015 alone.

Instead, U.S. officials agreed to suspend the use of tariffs on Chinese products, which was the biggest playing card it had. Now China has no pressure to actually make good on its promises of reform. Without any pressure, China is highly unlikely to make good on those promises. 

If this is indeed a trade war, China is winning.

Presidential candidate Donald Trump talked a big game when it comes to China. President Trump seems to have less of an appetite for actually playing it.

In his presidential announcement speech in 2016, Trump compared China's leadership to Tom Brady. If that's the case, Trump is looking less like Eli Manning and more like Jake Delhomme.

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Reposted from AAM

Posted In: Allied Approaches

Union Matters

The Big Drip

From the USW

From tumbledown bridges to decrepit roads and failing water systems, crumbling infrastructure undermines America’s safety and prosperity. In coming weeks, Union Matters will delve into this neglect and the urgent need for a rebuilding campaign that creates jobs, fuels economic growth and revitalizes communities. 

A rash of water main breaks in West Berkeley, Calif., and neighboring cities last month flooded streets and left at least 300 residents without water. Routine pressure adjustments in response to water demand likely caused more than a dozen pipes, some made of clay and more than 100 years old, to rupture.

West Berkeley’s brittle mains are not unique. Decades of neglect left aging pipes susceptible to breaks in communities across the U.S., wasting two trillion gallons of treated water each year as these systems near collapse.

Comprehensive upgrades to the nation’s crumbling water systems would stanch the flow and ensure all Americans have reliable access to clean water.

Nationwide, water main breaks increased 27 percent between 2012 and 2018, according to a Utah State University study.  

These breaks not only lead to service disruptions  but also flood out roads, topple trees and cause illness when drinking water becomes contaminated with bacteria.

The American Water Works Association estimated it will cost at least $1 trillion over the next 25 years to upgrade and expand water infrastructure.

Some local water utilities raised their rates to pay for system improvements, but that just hurts poor consumers who can’t pay the higher bills.

And while Congress allocates money for loans that utilities can use to fix portions of their deteriorating systems, that’s merely a drop in the bucket—a fraction of what agencies need for lasting improvements.

America can no longer afford a piecemeal approach to a systemic nationwide crisis. A major, sustained federal commitment to fixing aging pipes and treatment plants would create millions of construction-related jobs while ensuring all Americans have safe, affordable drinking water.

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