Donald Trump’s trade war has failed American steelmakers

When it comes to his economic policies, Trump often brags about how he as single-handedly delivered the “greatest economy in the history of America” — an economy so great that he recently declared himself unimpeachable.

Trump often backs up his claims using data that, for lack of a better word, can only be described as fake news.

Last year, he called job creation under his administration “historic,” even though Obama had better numbers. In reality, 500,000 fewer jobs were created from January 2018 through March 2019 than the administration initially estimated.

Even as Trump writes off unfavorable economic news and predictions of a recession that he claims were caused by the Federal Reserve and the “Fake News” media and not his trade war, data continues to pour in that shows how his policies are damaging manufacturing, corporate investments, and job creation.

When Trump launched his trade war in January 2018 with tariffs on steel and aluminum, he justified his 1800s-styled protectionist policies by promising to protect the steel industry and save jobs. He made this promise despite historical evidence that tariffs do more harm than good, with higher prices and lost jobs being the inevitable result.

For example, in 2002 George W. Bush imposed tariffs on steel which causes prices on steel-dependent products to go up 40% at the expense of tens of thousands of direct and indirect job losses.

Now, in true “those who do not learn from history are doomed to repeat it” fashion, Trump’s trade war is delivering the same results as his Republican predecessor.

This week we learned that the Barber Steel Foundry in Rothbury, MI is closing at the end of the year due to “declining business conditions.” This is just the latest in a recent run of bad news for steel makers.

In July, NLMK Pennsylvania, a Russia-owned steel company, announced layoffs due to slowing production brought on by their inability to win exemptions to Trump’s steel tariffs. That was preceded by a June announcement by U.S. Steel that it would shut down two blast furnaces in Gary, IN, along with layoffs and reduced production in a Michigan plant.

These are not isolated incidents. Demand for steel and profits are down due to the trade war, resulting in less revenue. The three biggest U.S. steelmakers — Nucor, Steel Dynamics, and U.S. Steel — are expected to fall short of their third quarter projections.

U.S. Steel has been particularly hard hit as they are projecting losses to shareholders of 35 cents a share for the third quarter, nearly six times higher than earlier projections of 6 cents per share. Since Trump’s trade war took effect in March 2018, U.S. Steel’s stock is down 75%.

Still, Trump continues to spread his fake news about the “success” his trade war has brought the steel industry.

No surprise, really. When has Trump ever let the facts get in the way of his rhetoric?


David Leach is the owner of The Strident Conservative.

His daily radio commentary is distributed by the Salem Radio Network and is heard on stations across America.

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