Trump’s economic adviser Gary Cohn recently hinted that the president misled some of his voters on bringing back their jobs. Cohn was warning coal miners who voted Trump into office that his campaign promises to them were probably empty, as their jobs technically can’t return.
Trump’s Promises to a Dying Industry
On the campaign trail, Trump told coal miners from Ohio, Kentucky, West Virginia, and Western Pennsylvania that he would get miners “back to work” and make them “proud” to be miners again. Trump’s pledges won the miners’ hearts and votes to such a degree that Hillary Clinton was able to win only two counties in Kentucky and a single county in West Virginia.
The GOP told miners in the Appalachian region that they lost their jobs because of “federal regulations,” which is not entirely accurate. Coal mining industry received a hard blow from the global decline in coal, automation, and the demand for natural gas.
Between 2011 and 2015, the U.S. mining industry shed 26,000 jobs, of which nearly 90% were in the Appalachian region. What’s more, between 2015 and 2016 most of coal companies filed for bankruptcy. This is what prompted Cohn to debunk the myth that coal jobs can be brought back:
Coal doesn’t even make that much sense anymore as a feedstock,
the economist told reporters last week.
Renewable Energies Are the Future
Cohn, who is a former Goldman Sachs executive, believes coal is a much dirtier source of fuel than natural gas and has repeatedly been promoting renewable energies from his position as head of White House’s National Economic Council.
By contrast, Trump has little interest in the green industry, and would rather support a dying industry by easing regulations. Chances for this industry, however, to ever come back are almost zero. So, the question is why Trump refuses to train displaced coal miners into the new industry, instead of jerking them around.
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