Economy

These Tweets Reveal the Big Problem with President Donald Trumps 'Made in America' Week

July 17th 2017

By:
Danielle DeCourcey

President Donald Trump is hosting business executives at the White House on Monday for the kickoff of "Made in America" week. The executives will be taking part in a "product showcase," designed to promote products manufactured in the U.S. and celebrate "each state’s effort and commitment to American made products," according to a White House press release.

The companies chosen are responsible for a broad range of products—from fast-food chain Chick Fil A's chicken sandwiches to Caterpillar's farm equipment—and represent all 50 states. 

However, some people are pointing out the hypocrisy of the showcase. 

People on Twitter pointed out that products sold by Trump and his family members are manufactured overseas. 

The Trump family has been manufacturing goods overseas for years. 

The Washington Post's Philip Rucker wrote that Trump "highlighting U.S.-made products is inconsistent with his practices as a businessman." The Trump Organization has used factories in foreign countries to make clothing, home goods, and other items for decades, according to the Post. Shirts from the Donald J. Trump Collection have been made in China, Bangladesh, Honduras and Vietnam, and some sport coats have been made in India. When asked by members of the media if the Trump Organization would commit to exclusively using domestic manufacturing, Helen Ferre the White House director of media affairs reportedly said, "we'll get back to you on that." 

ivanka-trump

Senior White House Advisor and first daughter Ivanka Trump, sometimes viewed as the more liberal member of the Trump family, is one of the worst offenders. Her clothing line is exclusively made overseas in factories, many of which have received criticism for their pay and treatment of workers. The Post reported in April that factory employees in China who made items for Ivanka's line and other brands, worked nearly 60 hours a week and earned about $62 a week. Ivanka Trump stepped down in her management role at her clothing line when she became an advisor to her father, but maintained an ownership interest in the company. Most of the clothes are made in China, but some are also made in Vietnam, Bangladesh, and South America. 

Why are companies using workers overseas? 

Well, for starters, profits. Existing trade laws and promise of cheap labor have enticed American companies to manufacture in places like China. A 2014 report by the Economic Policy Institute said that trade with China moved 3.2 million jobs out of the U.S. between 2001 and 2013. The report said that trade with China caused job losses in all 50 states and 2.4 million of those jobs were manufacturing jobs. “Growing trade deficits with China have hurt American workers and decimated U.S. manufacturing,” EPI Director of Trade and Manufacturing Policy Research Robert E. Scott said in a December 2014 press release.

“If policymakers are serious about supporting manufacturing jobs, we must work to put an end to China’s unfair trade policies.”

Outsourced jobs probably aren't coming back. 

A big part of the president's campaign was focused on tackling trade policy with China and appealing to voters who have lost their manufacturing jobs, with promises of bringing those jobs back. However, Mark Muro at the MIT Technology Review wrote that jobs lost overseas since a decline in the 1980s, likely won't come back because of automation. 

"America is already producing a lot. And in any event, the return of more manufacturing won’t bring back many jobs, because the labor is increasingly being done by robots," wrote Muro in November of 2016. "Boston Consulting Group reports that it costs barely $8 an hour to use a robot for spot welding in the auto industry, compared to $25 for a worker—and the gap is only going to widen."

The president has publicly supported outsourcing in the past. 

donny-trump

In 2005, while he was the chairman of the controversial and now-defunct Trump University, Trump wrote a post on The Trump Blog called "Outsourcing Creates Jobs in the Long Run," He lamented that outsourcing can lead to a loss of American jobs, but encouraged readers to "look at the bigger picture." 

"I understand that outsourcing means that employees lose jobs. Because work is often outsourced to other countries, it means Americans lose jobs," he wrote. "In other cases, nonunion employees get the work. Losing jobs is never a good thing, but we have to look at the bigger picture." 

He said that some companies have to make the choice between moving jobs overseas or shutting down. 

"I know that doesn't make it any easier for people whose jobs have been outsourced overseas, but if a company's only means of survival is by farming jobs outside its walls, then sometimes it's a necessary step," he wrote more than a decade ago. "The other option might be to close its doors for good."

RELATED: Here's Why People Are Roasting Ivanka Trump Over Her World Refugee Day Tweet