Keep Your Eye on the Ball …

More than a few times, I have been told that one of the reasons Trump supporters continue to be his supporters is jobs.  When asked in a recent poll what the single most important issue was to most people, the answer was ‘jobs’.  Granted the job outlook has, until recently, looked pretty good, but not as a result of anything Trump has done.  Unemployment was already low and dropping at a steady rate under President Obama.  And now, with his tariffs and the retaliatory tariffs from other nations, that may well be about to change.  Actually, the pendulum is already beginning to swing back.  Consider this …

The following is an excerpt from a story in today’s Washington Post:

POPLAR BLUFF, Mo. — When a Mexican company bought Mid Continent Nail Corp. in 2012, workers at the factory here feared it was the beginning of the end. Their jobs, they suspected, would be given to lower-paid workers in Mexico, more casualties of the hollowing out of U.S. manufacturing driven in part by an embrace of global trade.

Instead, Mid Continent’s factory has doubled in size since Deacero’s purchase. The company, facing fewer restrictions on steel exports after the North American Free Trade Agreement, shipped steel into Missouri, willing to pay skilled workers more to take advantage of cheaper energy costs in the United States and a location that allowed swift delivery to U.S. customers.

But … Trump has put 25 percent tariffs on steel imports, bumping production costs and prompting Deacero to reconsider this arrangement. With Mid Continent charging more for nails, orders are down 70 percent from this time a year ago despite a booming construction industry. Company officials say that without relief, the Missouri plant could be out of business by Labor Day — or that remaining production could move to Mexico or another country.

The layoffs have already begun. The company now employs fewer than 400 workers, down from about 500 before the tariffs took effect last month.

The plant may close its doors by Labour Day.  That, folks, is just a month-and-a-half away!  We’re not talking about next year, or in three years … we’re talking about NOW.

Or consider the case of Harley-Davidson, who will begin shifting production for the EU market to its international facilities rather than raise their prices by as much as 31% if they stayed in the U.S.  Typically, when their decision was announced, rather than talk or negotiate, Trump did the only thing he knows how to do:  mock and threaten.  Such helpful, professional behaviour, eh?

Two weeks ago, the CEO of General Motors warned that the company may be forced to cut back production and cut U.S. jobs.  And the Alliance of Automobile Manufacturers (AAM), issued an analysis estimating the price of a typical new vehicle sold in the U.S. would rise by about $5,800 as a result of the tariffs.  Think about that one … nearly $6,000 more to buy a car!

An analysis by Trade Partnerships concludes that …

  • The tariffs, quotas and retaliation would increase the annual level of U.S. steel employment and non-ferrous metals (primarily aluminum) employment by 26,280 jobs over the first one-three years, but reduce net employment by 432,747 jobs throughout the rest of the economy, for a total net loss of 400,445 jobs;
  • Sixteen jobs would be lost for every steel/aluminum job gained;
  • More than two thirds of the lost jobs would affect workers in production and low-skill jobs.
  • Every state will experience a net loss of jobs.

These are but a few examples of the fallout from Trump’s trade tariffs, and the damage is only beginning.  The longer the tariffs remain in effect, the more jobs will be lost AND the more we will see the prices of both agricultural and durable goods rise.  While I do not wish the loss of a job on anyone, I have to ask:  is this what it takes to awaken Trump followers?  Do they have to lose their jobs before they begin to see that virtually nothing Trump has done has been in our best interest?  Will they finally get it when they awaken one morning and realize they have no job, no health insurance and cannot afford food for the next week, let alone a car to go buy that food or look for another job?

Trump’s cabinet were handpicked for their loyalty to Trump, and they received early training in “alternative facts” and “how to spin anything using blatant lies”.  Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin learned his lessons well, apparently, for he claims U.S. tariffs and China’s retaliatory actions haven’t dented the domestic economy, as he sought to calm fears from Republicans in Congress that a trade war is hurting American consumers and companies.

Paul Ryan, on the other hand, seems to have remembered his Econ 101:

“We risk having American products locked out of new markets, jobs moved overseas, and a decline in American influence. As our generals will tell you, these agreements are just as important for our national security as they are for our economy.”

It is time for Trump’s followers to wake up and realize that they are the ones who will be hurt most by his policies regarding education, the environment, foreign policy, and the economy.  A number of issues have been forgotten in recent days as we are all concerned with Trump’s horrific behaviour abroad last week, and his apparently slavish adoration of Vladimir Putin, as evidenced in Helsinki on Monday.  Trump has been in a whirlwind of tweets and speeches contradicting his own self at every turn, in a foolish attempt to put some favourable spin on his actions, else distract us from them.  But we cannot afford to take our eyes off any of the balls:  the immigrant children, abuses of power, tariffs, and much more.

34 thoughts on “Keep Your Eye on the Ball …

  1. Months after Obama took office, he signaled to the business jet manufacturing community that those jobs were no longer wanted. The coal industry was consistently targeted for elimination. Manufacturing jobs as a whole were denigrated for the advancement of a service-based economy. He also started regulations that would have been devastating to agriculture through the Waters of the US. The way leaders talk about jobs does have an impact even if it is just psychological.

    Trump has promoted manufacturing job creation in this country through his words and actions. The reduction of regulations and the reduction in the corporate tax rate is having an impact. I’ve been personally impacted by the improved manufacturing climate through much more aggressive recruiting.

    With regards to why Trump supporters support him, many of us watched in horror as the IRS targeted causes we support. Many of us watched in horror as towns descended into chaos on manufactured news stories. Many of us watched in horror as classified material was sent through unsecured servers. Many of us listened to people who don’t know us being called racist, stupid, misogynist, homophobic and a variety of other unsavory names. We watched in horror as people we respect had pies thrown in their faces or were prohibited from speaking at campuses across the country. There are other reasons as well, but that at leasts starts the discussion.

    Liked by 1 person

    • First of all … welcome! That does, indeed, start the discussion! I have tried twice, both times with limited success, to begin just such a discussion, and would like to attempt to use your comment as a springboard to try, yet again. My goal, as well as that of most of my readers, is to try to understand the opposing point of view. This nation is more divided than at any time in my 67 years, and I believe the only way we can begin to heal that division is through civil discourse, both sides listening and attempting to understand the others’ point of view. That does not necessarily mean we change our beliefs or ideas, merely that we share them in an attempt to find common ground. I cannot fully answer your comment at this very moment, but with your permission I would like to use it in a separate post to open some discussion? While we all have our own opinions, and I encourage all to share theirs, I do insist on civil discourse and will not allow any such post to turn into a mud-fest. What do you think?

      Liked by 1 person

      • Thank you for the welcome, and there is nothing like making an entrance in the most obtuse way possible. One unfortunate problem that we have is talking to people that largely agree with us. I found your article while looking for manufacturing posts and not an overtly political post.

        I would be willing to visit about some of the differences between the two major divisions. Although I suspect a civil discourse may be difficult to maintain because the topic is very charged particularly if it is handled through the comments section.

        Liked by 1 person

        • I imagine you were a bit surprised at what you found when you happened upon my post. This blog is very much a political blog, although I do 3 non-political humorous features each week to lighten things up a bit. I appreciate that you took the time to read the post and comment, for most people would have simply backed out once they realized it wasn’t what they were looking for.

          You are quite right that we typically end up talking to only those who already share our views, and I’ve been trying for two years to get a few regular readers who have opposing views, yet know how to speak respectfully, and also to listen. I’ve picked up a few haters that I had to block, for I won’t have my readers disrespected,and I have a few readers from your side of the aisle who rarely comment at all. And I have one reader who is on hiatus at the moment,but she is a more moderate-conservative-republican and we have had some joint sessions where we got readers involved in single issues … one at a time is enough! 😉

          Most readers of this blog are older people like myself, and even the younger ones do know how to engage in conversations without hostility … although we can certainly disagree! I suspect you aren’t sure you want to participate, and I fully understand … your views would not be shared by many here. But we all need to start talking to each other and stop hating, I think. We’ve already seen the beginnings of bloodshed in the streets, with Charlottesville, and I don’t want our nation rent by a civil war. If you do have an interest in starting a conversation, pick a topic and let me know! No pressure, for I fully understand your reticence.

          Liked by 1 person

  2. It just seems so ludicrous to me that the cultish followers of Trump would drink the koolaid for that poor excuse of a human being… The sad thing is they WILL wake back up one day and ask what the heck happened. And they WILL be totally clueless.

    Liked by 1 person

    • I agree with you … it is beyond my comprehension, and I’ve spent the better part of two years TRYING to understand, talking to people, listening to people. Sacrificing friends, sleep, and sanity. And still, I can only shake my head and ask, “WHY?” Yes, they will wake up … I hope before it’s too late to alter the course of the Trumptanic.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Here is another example of tariff backlash. I am looking to replace my Honda Accord with a new model. Some of my smartest friends tell me not to wait as they expect a $2000- $4,000 escalation for this vehicle when the tariff takes effect.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Unfortunately, Trump has demonstrated through his many bankruptcies that he doesn’t understand economics at all – despite his self-proclaimed expertise. Nor will he allow any ‘advisors’ who do know something to influence his policy decisions. Tillerson had it right – he’s a moron. The scary thing for Canada is that Trump can use his stupidity to drive the Canadian economy into recession. Mexico too. We all have a big stake in the November elections. Good post, Jill!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Y’know … Trump apparently believes that he can be the very best at anything and everything and doesn’t need anybody to show him anything. I bet that if you mentioned knitting to him, he would claim to be the best knitter ever! Hah … wouldn’t you love to see him sitting in a rocking chair using those tiny hands to knit potholders? But seriously, you are right … at this point he is no longer just a U.S. problem, but is a threat to Canada, Mexico, the UK and the EU. You guys have my permission to invade this country and take him & his minions hostage any time you feel inclined! Hugs!

      Liked by 1 person

  5. I wonder whether those true Trump followers who want to see slavery brought back have remembered there used to be white slaves too albeit they were called indentured servants. I can envisage that happening with all the cotton crops again. Uneducated white people are just as good as blacks, and don’t for a minute think the changes to education are intended to see all whites with the opportunity of college and University.That will be saved for the children of the upper middle class and the rich. The underclass will be required to look after them and do all the menial jobs. America has bought a pig in a poke with this administration.
    Cwtch

    Liked by 1 person

    • Your last sentence sums it up well … a pig in a poke. The changes in education and the cost of higher education are obviously intended to make a college education out of reach for all but the wealthy elite, leaving us with only those elites having the qualifications for government offices. The days when the poor farmer’s son could be the first in his family to go to college, earn a degree, and become a lawyer or doctor, are fast becoming a myth if something doesn’t change.
      Cwtch

      Liked by 1 person

  6. Jill, just to add a few data points to illustrate your first point, we are in our 109th consecutive month (over 8 years) of economic growth in our country and at the end of 2017, we had completed seven consecutive years of 2 + million in job growth. But, Trump has only been President for 1 1/2 years. If you wanted to get feisty, you could ask Trump why 2016 had more jobs created than 2017.

    We would still be having economic growth without the tax law. It is a little better, but we made our debt worse for that incremental growth. Yet, Ryan is right to remember is Econ 101. Trump has forced companies to make supply/ sales/ staffing decisions with his tariffs, it is an unforced error. He cannot hide from this change. Keith

    Liked by 2 people

    • Thanks Keith! Oh, I would love to get feisty and ask him that question, but he never responds to my letters, so I don’t think he reads them. I try, when I write to him, to use short words to make it easier for him to read, but …

      I read of one company that had just put the wheels in motion to add an additional multi-million dollar plant in … I think it was Michigan … and add hundreds of jobs, but with the tariffs, they scrapped the idea. Trump doesn’t understand economics well enough to make wise decisions, and he doesn’t listen to any of his advisors. My bigger concern, even more than what he’s done to our own economy, is what he’s doing to our relations with other countries. Those may take decades to earn the level of trust we once had.

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      • Jill, agreed on the longer lasting concern over treating allies poorly. I awoke this morning and realized I wrote the wrong number in the parenthesis – it is just over 9 years of economic growth, not 8). Keith

        Liked by 2 people

  7. It’s a familiar message pumped out by politicians of all stripes. In Canada a stretch of road re-paved is cause for a politician to go nuts, telling us how they brought home the bacon in the form of jobs, re-paving. I am bemused because the paving companies all work on contract out of the large urban areas. Crow they must, though. With glossy photos and messages at the side of the road. On custom made boards. I thought that was their job, regardless? Apparently when we vote for them, they want us to pat them on the head like trained circus dogs they are? Here boy, catch this doggy treat … “Look we bought you invisible jobs”. Cheers Jamie

    Liked by 2 people

    • It is much the same here. You’ll see a big billboard alongside the road, with some politicians smiling face on it and the words, “Your tax dollars hard at work”. And when Congress passes a bill, they strut and preen like a peacock, patting themselves on the back. Like you, I thought that was the job we paid them for. Wouldn’t you just love to be able to do an annual job evaluation on some of them? Cheers!!!

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  8. To the fools that will follow Trump to the unemployment line, I offer these words. “There are two ways to be fooled. One is to believe what isn’t true; the other is to refuse to accept what is true.” – Soren Kierkegaard. Thank-you for your wise words! P.S. Do not ever believe that things can not get worse…Trump has an invitation for a Putin visit to the White House this Fall in the works! Or, perhaps he misspoke again?!

    Liked by 2 people

    • Great quote! I had never heard that one before. Oh trust me, I know things can get worse — that’s what keeps me awake nights. Yes, I heard he has invited Putin … I suppose Vlad wants to come take a look at his newly acquired property, eh?

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      • I first heard this quote from my Father…when we were discussing opposing political views in the 60’s! The very thought of Putin setting foot in America makes me physically ill. I much prefer him at a distance, preferably another planet! Thank-you!

        Liked by 1 person

        • I have to agree with you … I have no desire for him to come here and the best outcome I can see from it would be that somebody poisons his food! Hmmm … I’m a pretty decent cook … think I could get a job as a cook in the White House? 😉

          Like

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