January 30, 2023

The Wall Street Journal just took a baseball bat to Trump’s economic brags in brutal op-ed

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The conservative business newspaper and shameless mouthpiece for the oligarchy, The Wall Street Journal, has some dire news for President Trump about prospects for the upcoming midterm elections in light of his global trade policies. 


“Good luck to Republicans running on the Trump tariffs in November,” warned Journal today in an opinion article. 

While Trump and his spokespeople like to blame the economic problems triggered by trade retaliation on Democrats, the rest of the world, or anyone who provokes his ire, the WSJ wasn’t afraid to lay the blame right where it belongs.

“The harm is made in America,” write the Journal editors, “that is, the White House.”

The editors tee off on the impact Trump’s trade policies are having on Harley Davidson, the iconic American motorcycle manufacturer that Trump has attacked in recent days in a series of tweets because it is planning to move much of its production overseas.

Harley Davidson would prefer to manufacture in America, but Trump has made the costs too high to pass on to customers, and with U.S. sales down, they need to reach markets in Asia and Europe, where Trump’s trade policies have brought about swift and inevitable retaliation.

Harley Davidson has no choice but to move production to places where it can avoid the impact of Trump’s trade war.

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The Journal says this loss of jobs is just the beginning:

“A June report by the economic consulting firm Trade Partnerships Worldwide estimates a net loss of 400,445 jobs over the next three years because of the steel and aluminum tariffs, quotas and retaliation,” reports The WSJ. “That’s 16 jobs lost for each steel or aluminum job gained.”

The biggest impact on Harley Davison jobs is in states where Trump got support in the last election, such as Wisconsin and Pennsylvania, which makes it very ironic that the first people to shoulder the consequences will be his own voters.

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Trump “threw the first punch” in the trade war he has started with his tariffs on steel and aluminum, which immediately raised the cost of Harley Davidson’s raw materials by almost $20 million, according to company Chief Financial Officer John Olin.

The casualties continue to grow. The largest producer of nails in the U.S. is laying off workers because it imports the steel wire it needs from Mexico.

It has applied for an exemption – but so have over 21,000 other companies and there is no quick action expected.

“The damage is likely to have political consequences, as the retaliatory tariffs target industries in swing states,” writes the WSJ.

“Wisconsin produces more than 90% of America’s ginseng, and 95% of that comes from Marathon County. The county went for Mr. Trump in 2016, but it’s now wrestling with the consequences of China’s new 15% retaliatory tariff.”

“Mr. Trump is also going to have some explaining to do to Wisconsin cranberry farmers, Florida orange-juice producers, and Iowa soy and corn growers.”

The impact is already being felt on the stock market, which was down sharply yesterday and has brought the entire Dow Jones industrial average down for 2018.

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A lot of those who voted for Trump did so because they saw him as a businessman who would know how to grow the economy and bring jobs back, but his erratic economic policies are turning out to be very counterproductive.

He has alienated allies, hurt American manufacturers, cost union jobs and set off a wave of inflation at the same time he has raised the national debt by a monumental amount.

He may be able to convince his base that it is all the fault of his enemies and the media but it’s going to be hard to explain how the Wall Street Journal, which is controlled by archconservative Rupert Murdoch, is now warning he is leading America in the wrong direction economically after being such a staunch supporter of his in the past.

That is no surprise to Democrats and independents, but it is startling to hear it from Trump’s allies, especially those who have a reputation for knowing how business actually works – which it’s clear the president does not understand.

It seems unlikely to have any impact on Trump unless somebody on Fox News mentions it – but the good news is that it may wake up enough voters to have a real impact in November.

Benjamin Locke

Benjamin Locke is a retired college professor with an undergraduate degree in Industrial Labor and Relations from Cornell University and an MBA from the European School of Management.

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