President Donald Trump is sending torpedo after torpedo into American industry in the service of his ego as expressed through means like the punitive import taxes he’s imposed on large quantities of goods from places like China. Now, U.S. Steel has revealed that they will be laying off hundreds of workers from a Michigan plant in a downsizing that could easily last beyond six months, and they also plan to lay off workers at an Indiana plant, although there, overall employment levels will stay similar. Since early March 2018, when Trump first announced tariffs on imported steel and aluminum, U.S. Steel’s stock price has taken a nosedive, falling at present a full 73 percent since then.
Cutting off foreign supply is not serving as some kind of magic boost for U.S. industry. Instead, everything is going down the tubes. Domestic steel prices have “fallen dramatically amid improved supplies and weakening demand from the auto and farm machinery sectors,” according to Reuters. The market has readjusted — even as Trump continues to tout the supposed success he’s enacted for U.S. industries like steel. At a Pennsylvania rally just last week, he claimed that his taxes on imports had turned a “dead” steel business into a “thriving” operation. The somewhere between 100 and 200 workers in Michigan who will soon be out of the job would beg to differ. According to a company spokesperson speaking to Reuters, the planned Michigan lay-offs “will impact nearly every area of the facility, from blast furnace to finishing operations.”
That’s not even the most glaring example of Trump’s lies about the steel industry and what he’s done for it. Throughout 2018, he claimed that U.S. Steel themselves were opening six or seven new plants, which at the time would have more than doubled their U.S. presence, which sat at just four plants. The problem is — there was no evidence whatsoever of the company actually planning to open anywhere near that level of new facilities.
The company did have plans to restart two furnaces at an Ohio plant and in so doing, create about 800 new jobs — but Center for Strategic and International Studies trade expert William Reinsch insisted:
‘On its face, it makes no sense. A plant is a plant, not a division of something or part of a facility. I don’t see how you get to six from anything I know.’
There were apparent plans for at least three newly operational plants from other steel manufacturers — but that’s still not six, and it’s still not U.S. Steel.
This situation isn’t the only one in which Trump policies have sparked not exactly ideal conditions in the U.S. economy.
According to one recently released study, U.S. businesses lost a full $3.4 billion just in June that they would have otherwise had if not for the tariffs that Trump has imposed, which have sparked worldwide trade wars including retaliatory tariffs on large quantities of American goods. In other words — Trump’s apparent idea that he’ll run his re-election campaign on the strength of the economy isn’t exactly on solid ground.
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