Environmental laws transformed huge swaths of American manufacturing, but they also gave US corporations a strong incentive to relocate factories to places where they could pollute at will.
From 2000 to 2016, the US shed nearly 5 million manufacturing jobs, or more than a quarter of the total, and one out of every five manufacturing establishments in the country shut its doors.
In the early 2000s, a wave of sock manufacturers closed, followed by food-processing plants, plastics plants, automotive plants, and lightbulb factories.
After all, even as the number of manufacturing jobs shrank dramatically, the dollar value of US manufactured goods continued to grow.
Though Trump did not create the decades-long decline in American manufacturing, that the president is—to say the least—no FDR is a not insignificant factor in America’s anemic response.