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-President Trump was swept
into office in part because of his
supposed blue collar appeal. For example, he promised
that America’s truckers would prosper
under his administration. So how are they doing after
three years under Trump? This is “The Check In.”
[ Cheers and applause ] [ Bell dings ] Trucking is a huge American
industry, worth over $700 billion and employing over 7 million
Americans, which is why Trump pandered
so hard during an event with trucking industry
executives at the White House
a few years ago when he donned
an “I love trucks” button and then played inside of one. [ Crowd applauds ] [ Laughter ] [ Honking ] -Tell me how to get out of here. [ Laughter ] -Nothing says
“I’m a real blue-collar guy” like “How do you get me
down from a truck?” [ Laughter ] This looks like
a geriatric remake of “Smokey and the Bandit.” “Wait for me, Bandit.
Snowman’s gotta pee again. 10-4.”
[ Laughter ] When Trump later addressed
trucking CEOs and executives at the White House, even he had
to admit that he was full of it. -Through day and night
and all kinds of weather, truckers course the arteries
of our nation’s highways. You carry anything
and everything, the food that stocks
our shelves, the fuel that runs our cars, and the steel that
builds our cities. You think I wrote that?
It’s not bad. [ Laughter ] Save that.
I want to save that paragraph. -No one thinks you wrote that.
[ Laughter ] You read that like a kid
reciting a poem in class. “Two roads diverged
in yellow wood.” [ Laughter ] No one even thinks
you wrote this. [ Laughter ] Also, what did you mean
when you said, “I want to save that paragraph”? When will you ever have any
reason to use it again? [ Laughter ] “Happy Valentine’s Day, Melania. You carry anything
and everything. The food that stocks
my shelves.” Now, as Trump waxed poetic
about truck drivers and promised to
put American truckers first, drivers said he hasn’t
delivered. In fact, the Trump
Administration has actually made things worse for many
truckers by enacting policies that hurt
them financially. Take Trump’s tax law,
which he tried to sell as a huge tax break specifically
for truck drivers. And when he touted the plan in
front of hundreds of truckers and industry executives, it was the classic Trump
one-two punch — transparent pandering followed
by incoherent thoughts. -I want to tell you,
to the truckers in this room, which is a lot of people, you’re going to make more money, you’re going to do better
than ever before, more jobs, higher pay,
and lower taxes. This huge tax cut. [ Scattered booing ] Two words.
Huge and now rocket. Can you believe it?
I have ’em in the same — Rocket. You know what we’re talking
about, folks. Don’t worry about it. It will rocket fuel, and it will be rocket fuel
for our economy. -Now that I believe you wrote. [ Laughter and applause ] “It will be huge.” [ Cheering ] “And then rocket fuel, and it will be… rocket fuel.” [ Laughter ] So there you have it. Trump said truckers would
pay less and make more money than ever thanks
to his tax plan. So how did that go? -Do you feel like
this administration is listening to you as truckers?
-No, ma’am. -No, they’re not listening,
not at all. -They say some of their issues
affect all Americans, like the Republican-led
tax bill. How many of you,
by a show of hands, saw your taxes increase
this year? -They all went up, yeah. -One, two.
-Yeah, this year they went up. -One, two — all of you? So most of you saw
your taxes increase? The reason?
Something called a per diem. In the past, truckers could
deduct things like food and daily expenses
from their taxable income. Now, with Trump’s new tax bill,
they no longer can. -I have a young family at home
and with our per diem, they took the per diem out. That made an $8,000 difference. -$8,000?
-What I personally paid. -So what were you paying
in taxes last year? -Nothing.
-Amazing. So while the tax plan
lowered rates for trucking industry executives who make millions of dollars
a year, it only made things worse
for those actually doing the driving. In fact, because of
Trump’s tax law, accountants have had to tell
truck drivers that after years of being able to count on
receiving tax refunds, that they in fact would owe
thousands of dollars. As one small fleet owner put it,
they got screwed. It’s so bad, a lot of them can’t
even afford clothing for the women on their
mud flaps. [ Laughter ] And in this case, a lot
of the people getting screwed voted for Trump,
and they aren’t just worse off because of his tax law. Truckers are also hurting
because of Trump’s trade wars and tariffs, which, again,
is a direct contradiction to what he had promised. -America first means putting
American truckers first. When companies stay in America
and move to America, it’s our wonderful workers
who reap the rewards, including our great truckers
who will have more products to deliver
and more contracts to fill. That’s the way it happens. -Well, it turns out
that’s not the way it happens. In fact, the exact opposite is
what ended up happening. -Industry data shows the rates
trucking companies charge are down nearly as much as 17%. The reason? In part,
the President’s trade war. With fewer goods like steel
and electronics coming into U.S. ports, fewer trucks are
needed to move them. -These tariffs are having
real-life consequences on states that rely on,
for instance, trucking. These states, many of them voted
for President Trump. Some of America’s biggest
trucking companies are blaming the U.S./China
trade war along with new tariffs for hurting their bottom line. -That’s right.
Because of Trump’s trade war, trucks have less to haul. But Trump would probably say,
“If you think about it, that means they can drive
smaller trucks and then it’ll be easier
to get down from them.” [ Laughter ] “Because they’re very high
in the air.” So Trump’s tax law
and his trade wars have had a negative impact on truckers. In fact, one of the few policies
Trump enacted that trucking industry lobbyists
actually pushed for is one that arguably puts
everyone else on the road in danger. -The transportation department
is moving to relax federal regulations
on the number of hours that truckers can be
behind the wheel. -Highway safety advocates say
the contemplated changes would weaken the regulations
leading to driver fatigue, making roads
more dangerous. -They say truckers will put in
even longer days at a time when they say driver fatigue
is a serious problem. -For someone who loves trucks
so much, Trump doesn’t seem to care much about the condition
of the person behind the wheel. Maybe he doesn’t even realize
there are drivers. “I just assume the trucks
go all day and then at night
they turn back into giant robots and go to sleep.”
[ Laughter ] So thanks to Trump’s policies,
truckers are forced to work more for less pay in potentially
harmful conditions. And his ongoing trade wars could
put thousands of truck drivers out of work entirely. So the best we can hope
for is that truckers return the favor in 2020. This has been “The Check In.” ♪♪
[ Cheers and applause ] [ Bell dings ]

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