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How Trump's Economic Policies are Hurting Workers

From longshoremen to soybean farmers, Trump's tariffs and tax policies are costing Americans jobs

Brian Young's picture
Oct 26, 2018

Over the Summer, Trump began issuing a number of trade tariffs against China. While some unions applauded the move as it would prevent lower cost products from flooding the market, other union members have been adversely affected.

For Longshoremen across the country, imports from China are way down, but so are exports going to China. Fewer imports and exports mean less work and fewer shifts for ILWU members. How much less traffic is coming through? According to Cager Clabaugh, President of ILWU Local 4 in Vancouver, Washington, in August of 2017, his port saw $27 Million worth of soybeans shipped to China, this August's total shipment: $0.

While soybean farmers, many of whom live in states that voted for Trump, are taken care of by the $12 Billion in federal programs to help farmers weather the effects of the tariffs, port workers, truck drivers and everyone else along the supply line is not taken care of. Clabaugh told the Washington Post that he is already working fewer shifts and recently had to cancel a family trip to Disneyland due to the slowdown. "We're not seeing anywhere near the volumes we're used to." Clabaugh said federal bailouts "may help big farmers, but will it trickle down to the truck driver who takes it to the railroad station? Or the rail driver who takes it out west? Or the longshoreman who loads it onto the ships?"

According to The Trade Partnership, an economic consulting group, for every job that the tariffs save five will be lost. They estimate that 146,000 people could lose their jobs thanks to Trump's trade policy. While some jobs in industries like steel will be saved, far more people work in jobs that use steel like auto manufacturing. Companies like Mid-Continent Nail, the US’ largest nail producer, has already begun laying off staff and have said they may have to close if the tariffs continue.

It’s not just steel and soybean producers that are being affected. The Tampa Bay Times said in April that it was forced to lay off 50 people because of a tariff on Canadian newsprint. Other newspapers in small communities, such as House Speaker Paul Ryan's hometown paper in Janesville, Wisconsin, have also been forced to lay off staff. Business Insider is reporting that industries from lobster fishing to metal shapers have all announced plans curtail workers hours and to stop expansion plans due to the tariffs.

The picture doesn’t get any brighter for American workers when another Trump policy, the GOP tax scam, is put into play. A new report from Democratic Senators on the Joint Economic Committee found that 15.4 million U.S. jobs – including call center jobs – are at risk of being offshored. This is largely because the tax bill incentivizes American companies to move their factories overseas. The report found that in states like Michigan and Wisconsin, nearly 16 percent of the private sector workforce may be threatened by shipping jobs overseas.

Once again, Trump’s policies are proving to not help the American worker, but instead severely hurt them. Millions of jobs sent overseas and jobs lost thanks to Trump’s trade war is the result of just two years under Trump.

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