Donald The Patriot?

Today we celebrate the 240th anniversary of America’s independence. The holiday is formally called Independence Day but I, like most Americans, think of it as the Fourth of July. As a little boy I loved to play baseball and the Fourth of July has always been my favorite holiday because it was the one that almost always brought baseball weather with it to Western New York. Appropriately my first date with my wife was on the Fourth of July. It was a good holiday for an older version of Larry too!

Like several others it is a day of patriotism, or at least it is intended to be. No group takes more advantage of the various parades and festivities than political candidates. They all profess to be America loving patriots of the first degree. Today I’d like to take a brief look at Donald Trump’s patriotism.

Trump has based his campaign on how bad America is. How many times has he said, “We don’t win anymore”? His campaign slogan is “Make America Great Again”. The obvious implication is that it is not currently a great country. By the way, although the hats are made in California some 80% of the workforce is Hispanic and many of them originally entered the country illegally. Guess it’s a good thing for Trump the wall wasn’t up then.

Much of Trump’s other clothing lines aren’t made in America. His shirts are made in Bangladesh, his ties in China and suits in Mexico. Trump, like at least one news anchor this week, probably doesn’t know where Bangladesh is; but he has been very critical of trade deals with Mexico and China. Perhaps the trade deals are fine when they make more money for Trump. I wonder if his suits will have a special passage through the wall with Mexico if he gets elected. One of Trump’s great campaign claims is that he will make America great again by bringing jobs back to America. I suggest he starts with his own enterprises.

America became a great nation because it had a thriving middle class of ordinary working people who made a livable wage. Our economy is 70% consumer demand. Most of those achievements were made possible either directly or indirectly by the unionization. Unions got decent compensation packages for their members and put upward pressure on the rest of the job market. Trump brags of his good relations with labor but his history tells us otherwise.

In December the Culinary Workers Union (CWU) won an organizing vote at Trump International Hotels in Las Vegas. Trump has spent over $560,000 fighting the union, hasn’t stopped yet and to date has not negotiated a contract. The hotel was found guilty of taking illegal actions against pro-union employees (the penalties have yet to be announced), lost its initial claim against the election results and is appealing that ruling to the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB).

$560,000 is a lot of money to someone like me! It is what Trump would consider a good business investment when you view the entire picture. About 500 employees would be represented by the CWU. They make about $3 an hour below the prevailing wage on the Las Vegas strip. Based on a twenty hour work week (I’m assuming a lot of part time employees) that comes to $1,560,000 a year. If I am incorrect and they are full time workers we are dealing with $3,120,000 annually.

Trump sounds more like an exploiter than an employer and he certainly doesn’t sound like a patriot to me. America is a great country. Enjoy the holiday whether it includes baseball or not!

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