American steelworkers are feeling the pain of massive layoffs this holiday season as the “Trump effect” reverberates through worldwide steel markets.
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As a presidential candidate, Trump promised to rebuild America’s infrastructure and protect heavy industries in the United States, including steelmaking. Those promises, however, never found their footing.
The venomous combination of fiery rhetoric and resolute inaction by President Trump and the Republican majority in Congress has managed to harm steelworkers more than just doing nothing at all. The New York Times reports:
Foreign steel makers have rushed to get their product into the United States before tariffs start. According to the American Iron and Steel Institute, which tracks shipments, steel imports were 19.4 percent higher in the first 10 months of 2017 than in the same period last year.
That surge of imports has hurt American steel makers, which were already struggling against a glut of cheap Chinese steel.
Even some of the steelworker’s unions bought President Trump’s worthless words and have played along with his song and dance, seeking to renegotiate NAFTA alongside of his administration.
But the sad truth is that Donald Trump doesn’t care even slightly about the problems of America’s working classes beyond securing their votes to reward his donors and friends at Goldman Sachs.
One steelworker’s union noticed the charade, according to the Times:
Scott Paul, the president of the Alliance for American Manufacturing, a trade group that represents steelworkers, said he had “a profound sense of frustration that the president has been using steelworkers as political props.”
“The president’s own words and lack of action have actually put the industry in a worse position than if he had done nothing at all,” he said.
In June, Trump said that he was going to slap tariffs on to steel products, helping some of the 380,000 workers in the field, while harming the millions of Americans who work to manufacture everything from cars to food processors.
But his Commerce Secretary – a former Director of the international steel company ArcelorMittal – has been studying the issue for most of the year, though he lied about releasing a report to the President in late May, and now faces a January 15th deadline.
After January 15th, Trump has given himself another 90 days on top of that to act.
At this pace, a large percentage of American steel production could be idle by the time Trump makes any decision whatsoever.
Even worse, we’re lucky that President Trump hasn’t imposed steel tariffs yet because they would be a massive tax on all American consumers. Between his saber rattling and inaction, he’s instead created the worst case scenario– the “Trump Effect.”
American steelworkers are being laid off today, who’d still be working if only their President had shut his mouth.