Trump vs. Ford

The Chicago Tribune focuses on the first part of Monday’s “debate”:

Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump wasted no time Monday hitting one of his signature issues —€“ trade — and attacking Ford by claiming the Dearborn automaker is moving jobs to Mexico during the first presidential debate.

The issue left Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton on the defensive for nearly the first 10 minutes of the debate. Clinton, who supported the North American Free Trade Agreementin the 1990s and initially supported the idea of the proposed Trans Pacific Partnership explained that she only supports trade deals that are fair and benefit the U.S. economy.

Trump, meanwhile, reiterated his position that NAFTA is among the worst trade deals ever, even though most economists say it had positive benefits for the overall economy.

“Our jobs are fleeing the country. They are going to Mexico,” Trump said during his first answer during the presidential debate on Monday. “So, Ford is leaving — thousands of jobs. Leaving Michigan, leaving Ohio. They are all leaving.”

Trump’s statement about Ford is partly true and partly false.

Ford is moving production of the Ford Focus and Ford C-Max from its Michigan Assembly Plant in Wayne to Mexico in 2018. Ford said in April it plans to invest $1.6 billion to build a new plant in Mexico and create 2,800 jobs to build small cars there.

However, Ford also plans to replace the products it makes in Wayne with two new vehicles and has repeatedly said no jobs will be lost.

Ford CEO Mark Fields said Sept. 16 that “zero” jobs will be lost in the U.S. and said “it is really unfortunate when politics get in the way of the facts.”

Trump’s comments also prompted tweets from both Ford and the UAW countering Trump’s claims. …

Still, the emphasis on trade at the outset of the debate gave Trump an opportunity to stick with an issue that has resonated for him among blue collar workers.

“We have to renegotiate these trade deals,” Trump said in reference to NAFTA and the TPP, which has not yet been approved by Congress.

NAFTA is a trade agreement that was signed by former U.S. President Bill Clinton, but was largely negotiated under the administration of George H.W. Bush.

“I think that trade is an important issue….And we need to have smart, fair trade deals,” Clinton said.

Clinton largely tried to pivot to the broader issue of the U.S. economy, the deep recession that occurred in 2008-2009, and ways to create jobs.

“We have come back from that abyss and it has not been easy,” Clinton said. “The last thing we need to do is to go back to the policies that failed us in the first place.”

Clinton said the U.S. needs to work on creating high-tech manufacturing and supporting the creation of a new energy infrastructure with investments in technology such as solar power.

Throughout the evening, Ford continued to reply to Tweets regarding keeping jobs in the United States.

To no one’s surprise, Hillary is a terrible defender of free trade, and The Donald is ignorant about how economics applies to normal people. It should be obvious that free trade benefits consumers, a group that presumably totals all Americans.

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