Harley-Davidson Got Republican. Grabbed Its Tax Cut Money, Closed a Plant, Sent Jobs to Thailand


God, I love Republicans, in some ways. So proud, so “upstanding Americans,” so predictable, even the Trump ones. Some way, somehow, they will find a way to enrage religious working-class whites, (e.g. tell voters that Democrats are going to initiate Shariah law in the local school district, it’ll be believed) and convince this set of voters that Republicans are the ones that care about “jobs” to American “workers.” Win districts and states with lots of religious working-class whites.

Then rob the voters blind, enrich the very top shamelessly, and point at something outrageous done by President Hillary Clinton.

You cannot get more “American” than Harley-Davidson, and their executives are top American .01%ers Republicans, through and through. Vox went deep into the bowels of the company.

According to the report, in 2017 House Speaker Paul Ryan (R-WI) hyped up proposed Republican tax cuts, telling workers in his home state, “Tax reform can put American manufacturers and American companies like Harley-Davidson on a much better footing to compete in the global economy and keep jobs here in America.”

However, after the GOP delivered on their proposal, executives announced the closing of a plant in Kansas City, Missouri — with 800 workers losing their jobs as some operations were moved to a York, Pennsylvania facility- leading to a net loss of 350 positions. According to union leaders, they never saw it coming.

Of course they should have. Why would anyone expect anything different?

Tax cuts definitely free-up money for a corporation like Harley-Davidson, that part of the promise is real. And that money could be used to raise wages or build new plants, to build more motorcycles, and create more jobs. Or, one can join the real world, where the top Executives enrich themselves and shareholders with a massive stock-buy back, and give themselves a “richly” deserved bonus for upping corporate earnings, one triple the huge bonus they gave themselves last year. Then claim jobs have to be sacrificed to trim “fat.” (I’m just using a theoretical scenario on “tax cuts,” something very akin to this happened at Boeing just a couple years ago.)

To give you an idea as to how out of control American (Republican) greed has gotten, in 1960, the average corporate CEO made 44 times more than his average worker. That’s rich – pay a worker a dollar, you get 44? Nowadays, the last time I checked, the average CEO makes 285 times that of the average worker. That’s unbridled greed.

Then, because all that money going to the top makes a big dent in profits, make it up by offshoring jobs to a place that will gladly allow you to make 1,500 times the average worker, and not even have to worry about environmental (or any other) regulations. That’s America, more or less, since 1980. Brought to you by “trickle down” economics, an entirely Republican view, that has never once worked. As Bill Maher once said, you may as well go to a group of dogs, give one six porkchops and say; “He’ll share.”

Oh, we have to get to the offshoring part.

Adding insult to injury, the company announced plans to open a production facility in Thailand later in 2018, explaining it has nothing to do with jobs, but to get around tariffs President Trump has called for on steel from overseas and avoid a possible $30 million increase in costs.

Workers in Kansas City aren’t buying it.

No shit?

It should say, “aren’t buying it now, but wait until the next election where Republicans will say that immigrants are taking hardworking Americans’ jobs, and Democrats want to give “welfare” (which hasn’t really existed since Bill Clinton’s “third way”) to “illegals.” Now, the unemployed white Harley-Davidson worker is furious that his unemployment insurance is running out because Democrats let “illegals” get all the welfare. He votes Republican.

Rinse, repeat.

The only thing different about Donald Trump? Well, couple things. Most Republicans who aspire to the presidency do so to gain power to enrich “the right people.” Trump – to the extent he wasn’t ordered to run by Putin – ran in order to enrich himself, and if the “right people” also got rich, so be it. He either didn’t know enough to give a shit, or intentionally enriched the already wealthy, when he signed the tax cut. He will not care about the job losses, or hold Harley-Davidson accountable.

The other thing different, is Trump convinced many in labor unions that he had their back. Let’s pretend he meant it. Trump could call out Harley-Davidson for what it’s, calling the company greedy, that the jobs should have stayed and the company should have given everyone raises. He’d be impeached by the end of the week. Republican politicians are only willing to tolerate Trump’s porn star payouts, they’ll let Uday and Qusay travel the globe selling off American policy for Trump Towers, even tolerate that Trump is “kinda-sorta” blackmailed by Putin, they’ll tolerate it and have his back so long as he keeps signing on Republican ideas and putting blood-red Republicans on the bench. If he called out Harley-Davidson, that’s eviscerating Republican canon, never mind “lines,” within minutes, Republican leaders in the House and Senate will express profound concern about the ethics in this White House.

Trump damn well knows this is the unspoken deal.

Getting some union folks, generally Democrats, to give him the critical minority of votes that made him president, was a neat trick. But they’re catching on:

“These companies are taking tax breaks with one hand and handing out pink slips with the other,” said International Association of Machinists and Aerospace Workers President Bob Martinez Jr in a statement. “I’m going to call it like I see it … this is a corporate ambush on working people.”

Except an ambush happens when an aware victim is attacked without warning. This country has been warned and warned and warned since 1980, the pattern continues. Next election, the problems tax cuts always cause – increasing deficits, bank instability, etc. will be blamed on “illegals” taking jobs and “lazy people” on Obamacare (dog’s ears pick up). Republicans will say we need to start cutting some of these programs that benefit “illegals.” Unemployment insurance will dry up, the guy who lost his job in Kansas City, got the only job to be had, a $11/hour one at an Amazon distributor, and will desperately want to buy insurance on the ACA exchanges. But the money will be gone, ’cause he didn’t know that he is one of the “lazy” ones that suck up too much government money. That’s an ambush.

Gotta love Republican politicians. They do it all in the light of day, and are so proud of themselves. At night, they laugh their asses off that their voters buy this shit.

When it happens at Harley-Davidson, as American as it gets, it’s set deep in Republican-Corporate pathos. It is what they do. Sad, but not a bit surprising.




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