Former Democratic presidential candidate and U.S Senator from Vermont Bernie Sanders has been one of the strongest voices of opposition against President-elect Donald Trump since the November 8 election. Sanders has voiced strong opinions on matters ranging from Trump’s often divisive rhetoric and cabinet choices to Trump’s actions regarding the Carrier corporation’s decision not to move over 1,000 jobs to Mexico and instead keep those jobs in the United States.
Donald Trump has taken credit for negotiating a deal for Carrier to keep those jobs in the U.S., but as Bernie Sanders argues in today’s Washington Post, the deal essentially allows Carrier to send some, but not all, of the jobs it was originally going to send to Mexico and offers large tax cuts in exchange for keeping a small number of those jobs at its plant in Indiana.
“In exchange for allowing United Technologies to continue to offshore more than 1,000 jobs, Trump will reportedly give the company tax and regulatory favors that the corporation has sought. Just a short few months ago, Trump was pledging to force United Technologies to ‘pay a damn tax.’ He was insisting on very steep tariffs for companies like Carrier that left the United States and wanted to sell their foreign-made products back in the United States. Instead of a damn tax, the company will be rewarded with a damn tax cut. Wow! How’s that for standing up to corporate greed? How’s that for punishing corporations that shut down in the United States and move abroad?”
Sanders goes on to say that Carrier essentially held Trump, and by extension the American people, hostage. In doing so, and by extracting from Trump a deal that rewards them for sending jobs to Mexico, Carrier has given other corporations a blueprint for how they can beat Donald Trump in matters of trade. Trump will be in Indiana today, home to the saved jobs, to speak before a crowd about his negotiating victory.
This will provide good optics for Trump as he prepares for his new role, but as the Nation reported yesterday, what is good for Donald Trump and Carrier may not be great for the American people, with the already profitable company being given major tax cuts and still being allowed to send some jobs to its plant in Monterrey, Mexico, where workers make on average about $19 per day.
Soon after the election, Sanders struck what can be called an apprehensive but conciliatory tone toward the president-elect, issuing a statement saying he is willing to work with Donald Trump in improving the economic quality of American life, but Sanders will oppose Trump if he makes moves to infringe on Americans’ civil rights.
Sanders posted the statement to his Senate website.
“Donald Trump tapped into the anger of a declining middle class that is sick and tired of establishment economics, establishment politics and the establishment media. People are tired of working longer hours for lower wages, of seeing decent paying jobs go to China and other low-wage countries, of billionaires not paying any federal income taxes and of not being able to afford a college education for their kids – all while the very rich become much richer.
“To the degree that Mr. Trump is serious about pursuing policies that improve the lives of working families in this country, I and other progressives are prepared to work with him. To the degree that he pursues racist, sexist, xenophobic and anti-environment policies, we will vigorously oppose him.”
Sanders has also recently voiced his disapproval for Trump’s potential choice for Health and Human Services secretary, Congressman Tom Price of Georgia, who supports Medicare privatization.
According to Business Insider, Massachusetts Senator Elizabeth Warren has joined Bernie Sanders in calling out what they describe as the hypocrisy evident in Donald Trump’s nomination of former Goldman Sachs and OneWest banker Steven Mnuchin for his choice of treasury secretary. As chief of OneWest, Mnuchin oversaw a number of questionable foreclosures on homeowners whose mortgages were held by the lending giant.
It’s really starting to look like Bernie Sanders intends to be a major thorn in the side of Donald Trump throughout his administration if Trump continues down the path on which he seems to be headed. Despite some similarities in their rhetoric, specifically regarding economic populism, it appears that Sanders would take a very different approach if he were the one preparing for the job of the president rather than Trump.
[Featured Image by Darren McCollester/Getty Images]