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Trump’s Chaotic Response to COVID Crisis Sends Pennsylvania Unemployment Soaring Above 13%

Trump’s Chaotic Response to COVID Crisis Sends Pennsylvania Unemployment Soaring Above 13%

Tomorrow, President Donald Trump will travel to Old Forge, Pennsylvania, near Vice President Joe Biden’s hometown of Scranton, on the same day the former Vice President will address the Democratic National Convention. Trump will seek to deflect from his own failure to stop the coronavirus and prevent the economic and public health crises that are gripping both the state and the nation overall.

The last time Trump visited Scranton on March 5, when Pennsylvania had zero reported COVID cases and the U.S. had only 164 cases total, Trump suggested during a Fox News Town Hall that he was open to cutting Social Security. In the five months since, Trump’s failure to control the virus has led to over 5.4 million cases and 170,000 deaths in the United States. Despite the intensity of the recession, earlier this month Trump escalated his attack on Social Security by issuing an executive order threatening its main source of revenue, the payroll tax, and pledging to eliminate the tax altogether.

Pennsylvanians are at profound risk from Trump’s failed coronavirus response and attacks on Social Security and healthcare. Pennsylvania currently has a 13 percent unemployment rate, and 5.3 million Pennsylvanians who have pre-existing conditions are put at risk by his administration’s lawsuit threatening to dismantle the Affordable Care Act.

Trump’s efforts to defund Social Security will have far reaching impacts in the state; 1.8 million Pennsylvanians between the ages of 55 and 65 are facing retirement in the coming years, and 2.9 million additional Pennsylvanians, or 22 percent of the state’s total population, are current beneficiaries.

Earlier this year, President Trump assured the nation that everything was under control and made sweeping promises to Pennsylvanian working families on kitchen-table issues, such as health care and the economy. In reality, the administration has failed to deliver on Trump’s basic commitments to working families.

Learn more about how President Trump’s policies have hurt Pennsylvania families here.

Social Security

Claim: “We will always protect your Medicare and we will always protect your Social Security. Always,” — Donald Trump’s State of the Union speech on Feb. 4, 2020.

Reality: Donald Trump threatened to cut Social Security in his town hall in Scranton on March 5, saying “We’ll be cutting” entitlements when Fox News Interviewer Martha MacCallum asked how he will deal with the rising national debt.

But that’s not the only time Trump has threatened Social Security. In January when asked by CNBC’s Joe Kernen whether he would be willing to cut entitlements, he replied “At some point they will be.”

Additionally, each of Trump’s 4 proposed budgets have made cuts to Social Security.

Health care

Claim: “[W]e can repeal and replace Obamacare and save health care for every family in Pennsylvania.” — Donald Trump in Scranton, Pennsylvania, November 7, 2016

Reality: The Trump administration is trying to repeal the ACA through the courts with no replacement. If successful, the Trump administration will strip coverage from tens of millions of Americans, raise premiums, and end protections for people with preexisting conditions. In Pennsylvania:

  • 996,000 Pennsylvanians could lose coverage if the ACA were repealed.
  • 89,000 Pennsylvania young adults under their parents’ coverage could lose care. Because of the ACA, millions of young adults are able to stay on their parents’ health insurance until age 26.
  • 5.3 million Pennsylvanians with preexisting conditions will lose protections if the Trump-backed lawsuit to repeal the ACA succeeds.

Profits and wages

Claim: “I will be the greatest jobs President that God ever created. … [O]ur poorer citizens will get new jobs and higher pay and new hope for their life.” — Donald Trump, October 5, 2016

Reality: The Trump administration has taken away safeguards that ensure workers are paid overtime, protect retirees from exploitative financial advisers, and ensure that people pay less at the gas pump. The Trump administration blocked a minimum wage increase, denying a pay increase to 2 million Pennsylvania workers, resulting in $7 billion in lost wages for the state. Due to the Trump administration’s policies, each year Pennsylvanians lose:

Manufacturing jobs

Claim: “To all the people of Pennsylvania, I say we are going to put the miners and the factory workers and the steel workers back to work. We’re bringing our companies back.” — Donald Trump in Scranton, Pennsylvania, November 7, 2016

Reality: Pennsylvania has lost 3,800 primary metal manufacturing workers since February — a drop of 10.6 percent.of decreases in total employment in primary metal manufacturing. Pennsylvania’s manufacturing sector has lost over 20,000 jobs since the start of Trump’s presidency.

  • The Scranton metro area has been experiencing long-term drops in employment and has lost nearly 35,000 jobs since Trump’s presidency began.
  • The unemployment rate in Scranton has been increasing since mid-2019 and in June stood at 15.2 percent — four percentage points higher than the U.S. overall.
  • In the two years following the start of Trump’s trade war in January 2018, 1,600 people in the Scranton metro area lost their jobs due to mass layoffs or plant closures — a 109 percent increase over the preceding two years.
  • Experts predict that Trump’s erratic steel and aluminum trade policies will result in job losses of close to 180,000 across the country, including approximately 14,000 jobs in Pennsylvania — many of which are in the manufacturing sector.
  • Three Pennsylvania manufacturing hubs — Scranton, Pittsburgh, and Harrisburg — are among the top 50 hardest-hit communities in the country from Trump’s erratic trade policies.


Claim: “[W]e will massively cut taxes for the middle class, the forgotten people, the forgotten men and women of this country, who built our country.” — Donald Trump in Scranton, Pennsylvania, November 7, 2016

Reality: 83% of the Trump administration’s $2 trillion tax cut goes to big corporations and the rich. Many Pennsylvania families are getting stuck with the bill.

  • 1 million Pennsylvania households either received no tax cut or experienced a tax increase after Trump’s tax law passed.
  • The average tax cut that working- and middle-class Pennsylvanians received was less than half the additional premium costs for families due to the Trump Administration’s health care sabotage.

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