President Donald Trump’s tariffs––25 percent on steel and aluminum imports––has reduced the workforce of Mid Continent Nail Corp., a Missouri plant, by 20 percent and “could be out of business by Labor Day — or that remaining production could move to Mexico or another country,” The Washington Post reports.
That’s the opposite outcome from what the president and his supporters claimed would happen once his tariffs went into effect and, The Post notes, which “have instead hampered a Mexican company’s multimillion-dollar effort to create jobs in the United States.”
Indeed, when Deacro, the Mexican company, purchased Mid Continent Nail Corp., the plant’s workers had expressed fears that their jobs would be outsourced to Mexico. That’s not what happened at all. Mid Continent’s factory doubled in size, bolstered, in part, by fewer restrictions on steel exports after the North American Free Trade Agreement. The plant’s workers enjoyed a time of relative prosperity and Mid Continent “shipped steel into Missouri, willing to pay skilled workers more to take advantage of cheaper energy costs in the United States and a location that allowed swift delivery to U.S. customers.”
Layoffs have already begun; the company now employs fewer than 400 workers, down from about 500 before President Trump’s tariffs took effect last month.
“We’re in a situation where we’re fighting against our own country,” said Chris Pratt––no, not that Chris Pratt––an operations general manager at Mid Continent. “It seems like a battle we shouldn’t be having to fight.”
Pratt says the company is “in a situation where we’re fighting against our own country.” He added: “It seems like a battle we shouldn’t be having to fight.”
According to Jim Glassman, a Mid Continent spokesman, “moving nail production to Mexico or another country is a possibility, but it is a bad alternative. Mid Continent does not want to move and is not planning to do so.” He said that the plant’s workers remain hopeful that “President Trump will save their jobs.”
One of these workers is Philip Bennett, a machine repairman. Bennett has health insurance through the company that covers his five-year-old daughter, who has a congenital heart condition for which she’s undergone multiple surgeries.
“There’s a lot of good things that he is doing. But he’s affecting me now, and I don’t appreciate it,” said Bennett, who voted for President Trump. “I mean, I don’t expect him to come down here. It’d be nice — and see what he’s affecting, and see the people he’s hurting.”
And hurt them the tariffs have: While the workers fear additional layoffs and an eventual closure of the plant, The Post notes that “not a single Mexican employee has been fired.”
When interviewed by reporters from Deacro’s headquarters in Monterrey, Mexico, Luis Leal, the company’s vice president of trade, said: “The strength of the domestic market [in Mexico] has helped us.”
The hits the president’s tariffs have dealt the economy continue to be felt, but if you ask the president, the economy is “stronger than ever before.”
The economy of the United States is stronger than ever before!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) July 17, 2018
In recent days, the president has taken to boasting of economic and job records, though the data––now and then––shows that he inherited a healthy economy from President Barack Obama. His comments appear to be a distraction from the scathing criticisms he’s facing since his performance during a press conference in Helsinki, during which he sided with Russian President Vladimir Putin over his own intelligence agencies and their assessment that Russian operatives interfered in the 2016 presidential election and undermined American democracy.
3.4 million jobs created since our great Election Victory – far greater than ever anticipated, and only getting better as new and greatly improved Trade Deals start coming to fruition!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) July 18, 2018
“Trump recognized Russian Meddling MANY TIMES.” Thank you to @foxandfriends and @FoxNews for actually showing the clips. The Fake News wants no part of that narrative! Too bad they don’t want to focus on all of the ECONOMIC and JOBS records being set.
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) July 19, 2018
The president has not responded to any observations about the effects his tariffs have had on factories like Mid Continent Nail Corp., whose workforces are comprised of many people who voted for him with the expectation that he would remedy a decline in American manufacturing.