Steelworkers Voted Trump. His Tariffs Destroyed Their Jobs. Will They Swing the Rust Belt?
We’re starting to see more and more stories coming out about smalltown blue-collar white men who voted for Trump, thinking that he would “save” their jobs (and make them uppity colored people go back into their place).
Well, four years later, they’re starting to figure out that Trump is like a baboon behind the control panel of a nuclear power plant: he has no FREAKING IDEA what he’s doing. He just screams and pulls levers and pushes buttons and refuses to acknowledge that there are real-world victims of his ignorance.
President Donald Trump promised a new dawn for the struggling U.S. steel industry in 2016, and the lure of new jobs in Midwestern states including Michigan helped him eke out a surprise election win.
Four years later, Great Lakes Works - once among the state’s largest steel plants - has shut down steelmaking operations and put 1,250 workers out of a job. A year before the June layoffs, plant owner United States Steel Corp called off a plan to invest $600 million in upgrades amid deteriorating market conditions.
While the tariffs failed to boost overall steel employment, economists say they created higher costs for major steel consumers - killing jobs at companies including Detroit-based automakers General Motors Co and Ford Motor Co. Nationally, steel and aluminum tariffs resulted in at least 75,000 job losses in metal-using industries by the end of last year, according to an analysis by Lydia Cox, a Ph.D. candidate in economics at Harvard University, and Kadee Russ, an economics professor at the University of California, Davis. In all, they estimated, the trade war had caused a net loss of 175,000 U.S. manufacturing jobs by mid-2019.
It’s also those precious, precious coal miners. They are learning what it means to trust Donald Trump:
The wiping out of jobs in steel production is another nail in the coffin for the United States coal mining industry. It already faces a record number of bankruptcies from declining demand for power generation coal. The shutting down of blast furnaces will lead to a vast drop in metallurgical coal supply, leading to even more mine closures and bankruptcies. Metallurgical coal sells at a much higher price and is much more profitable than power coal.