President Trump broke his promises to Pennsylvania families | Opinion

Are you better off now than you were four years ago?

That’s the question Ronald Reagan famously posed in 1980, the question that supposedly defines elections, the question that millions of Pennsylvanians will be asking themselves over the next 40 days as they weigh their choices on the ballot come November.

Are you better off now than you were four years ago?

If you answered yes, congratulations — I’ll probably see you on TV tomorrow night, right on stage next to President Trump when he addresses his rally in Middletown.

After all, the past four years have been great for you if you’re a big donor or if you’re a Washington insider like Mitch McConnell. But if you’re anything like millions of other working Pennsylvanians, the last four years have been a disaster. They’ve been four years of lost jobs and shuttered factories, of broken promise after broken promise directly from the president of the United States. It’s gotten better for him and his friends. Everyone else has had to pay the price.

For instance, let’s start with that tax bill that Trump and his Republican buddies rushed through Congress in 2017. On the campaign trail, Trump repeatedly claimed that it would hurt him and his wealthy donors, and that it would help create jobs here in places like Dauphin County. Wrong. Instead, more than half of the laws’ benefits are going to the richest 5 percent of the Commonwealth. As for working Pennsylvanians, in less than a decade, their taxes will actually rise thanks to that same law. And while 60 of the largest companies in America paid no corporate taxes after the bill passed, jobs are still being sucked out of our state thanks to loopholes in the bill that actually encourage companies to ship jobs overseas.

Now about those jobs. Trump came to Pennsylvania repeatedly in the 2016 campaign and insisted he’d bring back our jobs. But four years later, the unemployment rate in the Harrisburg area is two-and-one-half times what it was when he took office. Statewide, nearly 650,000 people are still out of work this month– enough people to fill up Pittsburgh twice and nearly have the entire population of Harrisburg left over.

Trump promised us he’d revitalize our manufacturing — but that turned out to be a lie.

In January, before most of us had heard of the coronavirus, there were actually fewer manufacturing jobs in our state than there were during the Obama-Biden administration. Manufacturing jobs in Pennsylvania actually declined each of the past two years. Our manufacturing plants were still shutting their doors and laying off workers. All this from a so-called ‘jobs’ president.

And while that was the state of play before the COVID pandemic, it’s only gotten worse thanks to his ineffective leadership. I know it’s not Trump’s fault that COVID-19 exists, but after 200,000 Americans have died–including more than 8,000 in our own Commonwealth–it’s clear he’s the wrong leader in a crisis.

Trump ignored the experts, opposed wearing masks and suggested drinking bleach. He played golf while the rest of our elected leaders tried to hammer out a deal to get the economy going without him. Now, we have by far the highest death toll in the world, and the worst economy we’ve seen since the Great Depression. It simply didn’t have to be this bad.

The results of the Trump presidency are clear: we have fewer jobs and more broken promises. I haven’t even gotten to the trade war he lost with China, or the attempts to strip health care from Pennsylvanians with diabetes or who have survived cancer.

When President Trump comes tomorrow, he’ll spin the same story he always does, of how he’s delivered win after win for the American people and just doesn’t get the credit. But when you hear that, think about your neighbors who are out of work, and the factories that are still shuttered. Remember the mom and pop stores that may be closed for good, the families who haven’t been able to attend their loved ones’ funerals in person, and ask yourself: are we better off now than we were four years ago?

Are you?

Nancy Patton Mills is chair of the Pennsylvania Democratic Party.


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