Let Them Eat SUVs!
Are we tired of winning yet? A year ago, Donald Trump visited Ohio to promise that ALL the manufacturing jobs were coming back. The Columbus Dispatch reports,
"I said, those jobs have left Ohio. They're all coming back. They're all coming back. Don't move, don't sell your house," the president told the cheering audience.
"We're going to fill up those factories or rip them down and build new ones," Trump said, adding later, "After years and years of sending our jobs and wealth to other countries, we are finally standing up for our workers and for our companies. ... We never again will sacrifice Ohio jobs and those in other states to enrich other countries."
Today, General Motors announced it's shuttering factories in Ohio, Michigan, Maryland, and Ontario, and cutting 15 percent of its salaried workforce in North America. That's a loss of 14,700 GM jobs alone, not to mention the avalanche of supply chain and service industry jobs that will be affected by the plant closures. Ohio's Mahoning Valley where the Lordstown Plant will close in March will be devastated by the loss of about 4,000 jobs.
GM just pocketed half a billion dollars from the GOP corporate tax giveaway and declared a billion dollars of profit in the third quarter. But apparently executives are very sad the stock price isn't higher. See, GM CEO Mary Barra only makes $22 million a year, and how will she even eat if her stock options are flat?
Luckily, after GM announced the factory closures, its shares jumped 7 percent this morning. HOORAY! Trickle down economics works! Unless you're an auto worker, in which case, not so much.
Maybe Trump's hamhanded attempts to bully American companies by shouting about Mexicans stealing our jobs and crashing us out of NAFTA wasn't the #BeBest move it looked like at the time. Ditto those steel and aluminum tariffs, which cost GM $300 million dollars in the second quarter of 2018 alone. NYT reports,
The [auto] companies have also paid a price for the tariff battle that President Trump set in motion. In June G.M. slashed its profit outlook for the year because tariffs on steel were driving up its costs. The company does not import a great deal of steel into the United States, but the increased demand for domestic steel has raised prices.
Well-played, Mister President. No doubt America's forgotten men and women salute you.
But if there's one thing Tump does deserve some credit for, it's his dogged signaling to the markets that he gives absolutely zero shits if Planet Earth turns into a desiccated hellscape unfit for human habitation. Let the ocean rise, the polar bears drown, and the journalists get dismembered. It's all worth it if we can just keep that cheap oil flowing.
The Fed may be tuning him out, but the car companies are not. With oil at $60 per barrel and most Americans paying less than $3 per gallon at the pump, we're all driving giant-ass pollution machines. And that's what really killed these auto plants. Just as Ford axed the Fiesta, Fusion, and Taurus and Chrysler axed the 200 and the Viper, now GM is axing the Volt, Impala and Cruze lines. If we don't buy sedans, then we can't manufacture them.
Interesting timing on this announcement, though. Almost like the car companies were waiting until after the midterms to dump bad news in states with hotly contested Senate and gubernatorial races! Hey, remember that fun time in 2011 when Congressional Republicans launched an inquiry into whether the Obama White House had pressured Solyndra to delay announcing layoffs until after the 2010 midterms? LOL, funny story! And we can't help but notice that Commander Dumptweet hasn't made a toot about these disastrous layoffs since the story broke five hours ago. Hmmmmmmm....
Anyway, thank you President T.! Truly, your blessings are manifold.
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Liz Dye lives in Baltimore with her wonderful husband and a houseful of teenagers. When she isn't being mad about a thing on the internet, she's hiding in plain sight in the carpool line. She's the one wearing yoga pants glaring at her phone.