President Donald Trump’s economic policies are not enacting some sort of financial utopia across the United States. In fact, as this new work week dawned, General Motors announced that it would be slashing nearly 15,000 jobs across North America and closing three plants, two of which are in the United States at Lordstown, Ohio, and Hamtramck, Michigan. (The third is in Ontario, Canada.)
The slash will constitute a purging of 15 percent of the company’s workforce and a quarter of its executives.
The jobs aren’t going to Mexico, the president’s favorite scapegoat. They’re disappearing. Pressure on the automobile industry has been closing in from two sides — consumer preferences that have been shifting towards SUVs and pickup trucks and the rising costs of production. Thanks to the hefty tariffs the Trump administration has placed on imported steel from all around the world including nations allied with the U.S., GM has lost an extra $1 billion.
Trump has insisted that trade wars are “good” because in his fantasy they mean that the nations of the world fall at his feet and beg for economic mercy.
In March, for example, he tweeted:
‘When a country (USA) is losing many billions of dollars on trade with virtually every country it does business with, trade wars are good, and easy to win.’
In reality, other countries aren’t the only interests affected — American industries are too. Besides, his assertion that the U.S. is “losing many billions of dollars” in trade across the world is a gross oversimplification. Just because the United States imports more than it exports from a given nation or set of nations — which is what he’s referring to — doesn’t mean, on its own, that the U.S. is losing money. We don’t complain about “losing many billions of dollars” when we go and purchase food from the grocery store to use in preparing a Thanksgiving dinner, to use an example.
The nuances and realities of the situation the United States is in the middle of are seemingly lost on Trump — but they’re not so foreign to those affected by the Monday announcement from GM.
The company plans to move towards more modern technology like cars powered by renewable energy and even autonomous vehicles, and to that end, besides the plant closures and layoffs, they’ll completely stop producing some less popular car models like the Buick LaCrosse.
Company CEO Mary Barra asserted:
‘These actions will increase the long-term profit and cash generation potential of the company and improve resilience through the cycle.’
They’re not the first major car company to move this direction with their U.S. operations.
BMW has previously sounded an alarm over their South Carolina plant — the largest the company maintains anywhere — in the face of looming tariffs on cars going both directions between the European Union and the United States. Harley-Davidson has gone so far as to move some of its production overseas in the face of a similar spat — and the president’s solution was to bash the company on Twitter.
‘Harley-Davidson should stay 100% in America, with the people that got you your success. I’ve done so much for you, and then this… We won’t forget, and neither will your customers or your now very HAPPY competitors!’
A worse-than-childish Twitter threat won’t give almost 15,000 people their jobs back across North America.
Featured Image via YouTube screenshot