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Title: Trump Voters Stand by Their Man as He Wrecks Their Jobs
Source: Reason
URL Source: https://reason.com/blog/2018/07/09/lose-your-job-to-own-the-libs
Published: Jul 9, 2018
Author: Eric Boehm
Post Date: 2018-07-10 05:23:20 by Deckard
Keywords: None
Views: 82
Comments: 12

In Poplar Bluff, Missouri, support for Trump's tariffs is about tribalism more than anything else. That's dangerous and scary.

Andrew Kelly/REUTERS/Newscom

His supporters were so enamored with him, then-candidate Donald Trump claimed in January 2016, that "I could stand in the middle of 5th Avenue and shoot somebody and I wouldn't lose voters."

Thankfully, the president isn't shooting anyone in the street. But Trump's theory about his supporters' enduring love is being put the to test in a southern Missouri town where the White House's trade policy is killing jobs.

And the crazy thing is, Trump might be right—so far, at least.

The Kansas City Star dispatched a reporter to Poplar Bluff, home to America's largest manufacturer of nails, to find out how the steel tariffs were affecting Trump-supporting residents. Trump won 79 percent of the vote in Butler County, where Poplar Bluff is located. But the town of 17,000 could be decimated by the closure of the Mid Continent Nail Corporation, whose owners have warned that they may have to lay off hundreds of workers or even close their doors entirely as Trump's tariffs increase the price of steel—a rather fundamental fixed cost when you're in the business of making steel nails.

"This company, I think, couldn't be a better example of the kind of damage that's being done to America's manufacturing jobs as a result of this extremely misguided policy," company spokesman James Glassman told CNN last week.

Yet the Star's reporter found residents who would "never hold the loss of those jobs against Trump" even as they acknowledge that his trade policies could cause serious problems not only for the workers at Mid Continent but for the town and region as a whole. Even though tariffs are "going to drive up the cost of everything, people are still going to stand behind him," a chef named Eric Turner tells the Star.

And then there is this telling, and slightly terrifying, passage:

Sean [Foust] said if his friends who work there do lose their jobs, "I don't think it will turn them" against the president, even if "on the surface, it's going to look bad." Why is that?

Mostly, tribalism. "There's nothing he could do," the son said, to alienate Republicans. And the same holds true for Democrats, since "everyone's so set in their ways."...

Nearby in the downtown parking lot, in between the train tracks and the farmers market, a man wearing a shirt emblazoned with a red, white and blue peace sign, who only gave his first name, John, said he's "pretty worried" since two of his friends have already been laid off. But more important to him is that "there were so many illegals in the area taking jobs away." And Trump "is better than the Muslim we had in the White House." For him, a real threat to jobs is less frightening than an imagined one.

Could tribalism—or Trump's cult of personality—be such a powerful force in national politics that it overturns one of the oldest rules in the political book: that people vote with their wallets? Polls continue to suggest that Republican voters mostly support Trump's tariff agenda, even as analysis after analysis shows that the costs of the tariffs (and of the reciprocal tariffs launched by China and Europe) will overwhelmingly hit manufacturing and farming jobs—which is to say, jobs where Republicans and Trump supporters are over-represented.

Those polls, in turn, decrease the likelihood that Republicans in Congress will step up to stop Trump's trade agenda.

That people often vote against what seems to be in their own self-interest is not new. From Kansas to the West Side of Manhattan, it is a phenomenon that has been the subject of many a think-piece. There's probably something good—or at least vaguely noble—in the idea that voters can set aside pure self-interest to support what they see as policies aimed at the greater good, even if we might disagree, strongly, about what that greater good is.

When it comes to tariffs, though, it's not at all clear what greater good is being achieved with the sacrifice of jobs in places like Poplar Bluff. The Trump administration has not outlined a clear plan for what it is trying to accomplish. Officials in China, the nominal target of Trump's bellicose trade policies, are "absolutely confused" about what the Trump administration wants in terms of concessions, Politico reported last month. It is, of course, difficult to reach an agreement when neither side seems to know what the other side wants.

And it's not like people in Poplar Bluff have a lot going for them. Median household income is just above $30,000, and more than a quarter of the town's population lives below the poverty line. Butler County, where Poplar Bluff is located, has one of the highest unemployment rates in the state. One in seven residents work in manufacturing jobs, including the 500 or so employed by Mid Continent Nail Corporation. Who knows how many other non-manufacturing jobs are supported by the existence of a large business like that, and could be lost if it shuts down.

Mid Continent is one of thousands of companies to ask the Commerce Department for a special waiver that will allow it to avoid paying the higher taxes created by Trump's tariffs. Without the waiver, the 60 employees laid off in June could soon have company. Another 200 will be fired by the end of this month unless things change quickly, company executives tell U.S. News and World Report.

All of which leaves the impression that support for Trump's tariffs is not something generated by a sense of a greater good. It's not about voters agreeing to take a hit now because they understand it is necessary for something beneficial down the road. It seems to be, mostly, about tribalism. About the fact that our guy is "better than the Muslim we had in the White House," even if his policies cost my job.

At least that's how it seems for now. Once more jobs are actually lost, and perhaps once it becomes clear that the tariffs aren't accomplishing whatever goals Trump has, perhaps that will change. The partisan hatred might not go away, but maybe voters will stay home.

Until then, parts of so-called Trump country seem to be fine with their man destroying their jobs to own the libs. (1 image)

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#1. To: Deckard (#0)

Yes, we stand by Trump. No, he's not really wrecking our jobs.

Yes, it is tribal - for us and for you guys. Yes, we completely, utterly reject you, and we do not believe a single word you say.

Vicomte13  posted on  2018-07-10   6:02:56 ET  Reply   Trace   Private Reply  


#2. To: Deckard (#0) (Edited)

Steel tariffs are needed because China won't trade fairly.

Nearly 35 million net tons of steel were imported into the United States last year. That’s more than 100,000 tons a day. Imagine one-and-a-half Ford-class aircraft carriers sailing into America every day. That’s how much steel is coming in from foreign countries.

In recent weeks, there has been much debate about President Trump’s use of tariffs and quotas to address unfair steel imports. President Trump’s actions were necessary because numerous countries use a host of subsidies and dump steel exports all over the world.

In the U.S., imports took 27 percent of the market for finished steel products last year. That is the third highest market share on record, according to our data at the American Iron and Steel Institute (AISI) and the U.S. Census.

Global steel overcapacity has fueled this surge in imports, which has resulted in steel plants shutting down and jobs lost. And China is the biggest culprit. China produces half the world's steel and has increased its capacity by some 600 percent since 2000.

These significant capacity increases have taken place despite repeated Chinese government policy statements, pledges and proclamations aiming to restructure or reduce steelmaking capacity.

For example, China last year announced that it was closing 140 million metric tons of induction furnace capacity that had never even been included in any official capacity reports.

While direct imports from China have been reduced in recent years — in part due to several successful trade cases brought by the steel industry — high Chinese steel production and exports to third countries continue to threaten the U.S. industry’s health and ultimately our national security.

Unlike in the U.S., where companies exist to make a profit, state-owned companies in China and elsewhere primarily exist to employ people. As a result, they produce massive amounts of steel that is unused in their domestic markets and then dumped all around the world.

In some cases, those exports force other countries to export their own steel production that would normally be used domestically. In other cases, the steel that originates in China is trans-shipped through another country or further processed in another country before being exported to the U.S.

For example, Chinese billets are being further processed in Turkey into long products, which are then exported to the United States, while Chinese flat-rolled steel is being converted into pipe products in Korea, which are then, according to Commerce Department determinations, being dumped into the U.S. market.

There have been several attempts to address state-owned companies subsidizing their steel products and dumping them. President Obama created the Global Forum on Steel Excess Capacity to get all of the major steel-producing countries in a room together to try to find policy solutions.

This proved to be fruitless, as China spent more than a year refusing to even provide data about the fundamental problem, let alone giving any indications that it was serious about necessary reforms.

In addition, in the last Congress, the trade laws were strengthened to address foreign companies illegally bypassing antidumping and countervailing duty laws. But this also failed to solve the problem, as China responded to high U.S. duties by exporting large amounts of subsidized steel to third markets.

Given these past unsuccessful attempts to solve the problem and with the industry suffering, President Trump initiated an investigation under Section 232 of the Trade Expansion Act of 1962, with the Commerce Department ultimately finding that steel is both critical for national security and that the sustained flood of subsidized imports was threatening the industry.

Since neither negotiations nor targeted responses successfully solved the problem, President Trump implemented a more comprehensive remedy, imposing quotas or tariffs on most of our trading partners.

We’re just beginning to see the positive results of the president’s actions — domestic production is increasing, steel companies are investing more in communities throughout the country and steel jobs are being added for the first time in years.

Now some in Congress want to undermine Section 232 with no back-up plan for how to address the underlying problem. That is shortsighted and must be stopped. We applaud Sen. Sherrod Brown (D-Ohio) and other senators who are working to block these misguided attempts.

The president’s actions should be given time to work, while the administration continues to have discussions with our North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) partners and others on rebalancing our trade relationships.

http://thehill.com/opinion/finance/396089-steel-tariffs-are-needed- because-china-wont-trade-fairly

Gatlin  posted on  2018-07-10   6:09:58 ET  Reply   Trace   Private Reply  


#3. To: Gatlin (#2)

But the town of 17,000 could be decimated by the closure of the Mid Continent Nail Corporation, whose owners have warned that they may have to lay off hundreds of workers or even close their doors entirely as Trump's tariffs increase the price of steel—a rather fundamental fixed cost when you're in the business of making steel nails.

Trump: Making America Great Again!

“Truth is treason in the empire of lies.” - Ron Paul

Trump: My People Should ‘Sit Up in Attention’ Like Kim Jong-un’s Staff.

Deckard  posted on  2018-07-10   6:28:56 ET  Reply   Trace   Private Reply  


#4. To: Deckard (#3)

... could be ...
Awh shit....ANOTHER hypothetical. What is it with this “negative” news search?

When the media cannot find bad news to slam Trump, they must resort to hypothetical possibilities. Sad.

Psychology: Why bad news dominates the headlines.

Trump: Making America Great Again!
He absolutely is....GO DONALD !!!

Gatlin  posted on  2018-07-10   6:48:07 ET  Reply   Trace   Private Reply  


#5. To: Deckard (#0)

I could stand in the middle of 5th Avenue and shoot somebody and I wouldn't lose voters."

Oh yes if it was a Democrat POS.

A K A Stone  posted on  2018-07-10   7:28:19 ET  Reply   Trace   Private Reply  


#6. To: Deckard (#3)

Dicksuckers like deckard want cheap Chinese products because he doesn't give a shit about Americaan workers.

Trump already gave these guys about a fifty percent tax reduction. The cost of steel isn't half the cost. You're a dumb ass piece of shit drug pedler.

A K A Stone  posted on  2018-07-10   7:30:47 ET  Reply   Trace   Private Reply  


#7. To: Deckard (#3)

Trump: Making America Great Again!

Yeah because drug pushers like you never will. You just whine about moral things being done.

A K A Stone  posted on  2018-07-10   7:32:00 ET  Reply   Trace   Private Reply  


#8. To: A K A Stone, Gatlin, Vicomte13 (#5)

Trump: "I could stand in the middle of 5th Avenue and shoot somebody and I wouldn't lose voters."

I'm the smiling face on your T.V.
I'm the cult of personality
I exploit you still you love me

I tell you one and one makes three
I'm the cult of personality
Like Joseph Stalin and Gandhi
I'm the cult of personality

“Truth is treason in the empire of lies.” - Ron Paul

Trump: My People Should ‘Sit Up in Attention’ Like Kim Jong-un’s Staff.

Deckard  posted on  2018-07-10   8:16:40 ET  Reply   Trace   Private Reply  


#9. To: Deckard (#0)

Suck it, leftists. Highest employment in US history.

Hank Rearden  posted on  2018-07-10   9:54:45 ET  Reply   Trace   Private Reply  


#10. To: Deckard (#0)

I've always had mixed feelings about free trade. It does create cheap consumer prices. It also has hurt a lot of American industries. Has Trump's policies actually hurt that town in any way at this point?

no gnu taxes  posted on  2018-07-10   10:08:25 ET  Reply   Trace   Private Reply  


#11. To: Deckard (#0)

Could tribalism—or Trump's cult of personality—be such a powerful force in national politics that...[BLAH BLAH BLAH]...

*BS DETECTOR RED-LINED*

Liberator  posted on  2018-07-10   13:24:03 ET  Reply   Trace   Private Reply  


#12. To: Vicomte13 (#1)

Yes, it is tribal - for us and for you guys. Yes, we completely, utterly reject you, and we do not believe a single word you say.

+100. The so-called "reporters" or op-ed trolls have ZERO CRED.

Most "reporting" by default is SLANTED, FAKE or PROPAGANDA. Most of America knows it.

Liberator  posted on  2018-07-10   13:26:31 ET  Reply   Trace   Private Reply  


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