Farmers’ Crops Are Rotting in the Fields Thanks To Trump

At this juncture it would be difficult, if not impossible, to list the myriad ways Trump has hurt America and, more importantly, Americans. Whether it was his actions such as devastating executive orders abolishing protections for the environment, or his threats to withhold funding that sent the insurance industry into a panic-driven increase in healthcare insurance premiums, he has proven himself to be a friend of no-one but Nazi fascists, white supremacists, and Donald J. Trump. However, although the media is being swamped with outrages against decency committed by the occupant in the White House on a daily basis, they should show a bit more interest in the plight of the agriculture industry and Americans’ access to its produce.

Back in late April after a farcical “Roundtable on Agriculture” and executive order signing ceremony, Trump did what was expected and lied through his teeth about his high regard for “agriculture and rural prosperity in America.” For those of us who have been keeping score, Trump has singlehandedly wrought more damage on the agriculture industry with a couple of ill-advised moves than any administration in history. And the American people are going to pay the price; many, many farmers have already paid the price.

After praising himself at the “Roundtable on Agriculture” Trump announced:

They [farmers] had a very good day.  We’re doing well, very well.  Things are turning around.  I know they’re turning around for you folks, so I just want to welcome you very much to the White House.

So this is promoting agriculture and rural prosperity in America.  And, now, there’s a lot of words I won’t bother reading everything.  But agriculture and rural prosperity in America, that’s what we want.  And we don’t want to be taken advantage of by other countries — and that’s stopping, and that’s stopping fast.”

Kind of like “getting tired of winning,” the only thing that Trump is stopping is agriculture and rural prosperity that is indeed turning around; but it is going in the wrong direction for the American agriculture industry and in the ‘winning’ direction for the rest of the world. And, what that wrong direction amounts to for farmers is watching their crops rot in the fields because they are facing an impossible task of finding field laborers with expertise to harvest and process the crops to get them to market in a timely fashion.

In the third or fourth report in a couple of months about how Trump’s immigration and trade policy is singlehandedly hurting an already struggling agriculture sector, farmers are crying, literally crying, that they cannot find the people qualified to harvest their crops. Unlike most other industries, agriculture is an extremely time sensitive industry where harvesting crops at precisely the right time is the key to success. But harvesting in a timely manner is an issue many farmers aren’t even having to face because they cannot find field workers to harvest at any time due to Trump’s immigration policy.

Farmers in California have continued reporting that they are having extreme difficulty in finding, much less hiring, enough experienced people to do the dirty work during harvest season causing crops to rot in the fields. According to a report by NBC News, that difficulty has already “triggered losses of more than $13 million in just two counties;” and the harvest season is just getting underway. What that means for American consumers is that vegetable and fruit prices are going to rise substantially because the migrant farm workers with expertise to harvest quickly and efficiently are nowhere to be found.

All of the blame for the shortage of field workers is being attributed to “the ongoing battle about U.S. immigration policy” since Trump won the election; the troubles started months before he was in the White House. Although migrant farm workers are integral to agriculture nation wide, “the vast majority of California’s farm workers are foreign born, with many coming from Mexico.

As noted in a report from the PEW Research Center, not only are migrant workers not making the trip North to work and help feed Americans, after Trump’s election more Mexicans are fleeing America than are coming here. And it is noteworthy that because of Trump, there is nothing farmers can do to entice immigrant labor to risk working in the fields; even if they are American citizens or are authorized to work in the United States; and who can blame them?

The blame certainly is not on the farmers, unless it is for voting for the imbecile who did tell them his raison d’être in the Oval Office is purging Mexicans from the nation that won him the unwavering support of the white supremacist cult. Now those farmers who admit they supported Trump have to take extraordinary steps to lure migrant workers to the fields with no success.

Those extraordinary steps include trying to make the dirty jobs more appealing and worth the risk of being hunted down, arrested, and roughed up by Trump’s ICE brown shirts. Farmers are offering actual “salaries” well above the minimum wage as opposed to “piece work,” offering paid time off for vacations and illness, and 401(k) retirement plans. Despite those benefits and higher salaries, it is not nearly enough. And the travesty is this issue is plaguing farmers across the nation.

Despite what Trump says, the American agriculture sector is in big trouble due to his racist immigration policy and isolationist trade incompetence. In July, it was reported here that Trump’s threat to pull out of the North Atlantic Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) prompted Mexico to shift to its “plan B” that entails making trade deals for its agricultural products with other nations.

Just talking about scuttling a trade pact since he took office prompted Mexican farmers to go to their Plan B and has driven “American soybean exports to Mexico to decrease 15 percent, corn has dropped 6 percent; and chicken dropped 11 percent; it is the largest decline of 14 years.”  Trump’s big mouth is making those “rural states” that helped put him in the White House worried sick that their primary industry will take more significant economic hits than have already occurred.

Add to that terrible farm news was Trump’s unilaterally withdrawing from the Trans Pacific Partnership (TTP). It was an incompetent error that incited Japan and the European Union to reach a monumental trade deal that leaves America’s agriculture sector with crushing tariffs on its products that were slated for extinction under TPP. Now, the tariffs remain on American products while the EU, Japan, and remaining signatories to the “free trade” agreement will eliminate tariffs for participating nations putting America’s farmers in a horrible position; inability to compete.

Although it appears Trump’s immigration and trade incompetence will only have a deleterious effect on the agriculture sector, and it is already costing them dearly, it is the American consumers who are going to pay a healthy price, literally, for fresh fruit, vegetables, and livestock products.

Every time a farmer has to watch their crops rot in the field, or our former trading partners ship their products to other nations with competent trading policies, the price of food for Americans is going to rise significantly. And it is noteworthy that all of this is down to the incompetency of the Trump administration; not the farmers, not the migrant farm workers, and not America’s trading partners.

Image: TheGuardian

Trump Is Singlehandedly Decimating America’s Agriculture Sector

If Donald Trump has a reputation in business, it is as a crooked operator who bilks his creditors, investors, contractors, and suppliers alike and files bankruptcy at about six or seven times the rate most people get a divorce. Trump brought that notorious business acumen to the Oval Office and has already put the hurt on American agriculture with an ill-advised threat to pull out of the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA). As reported here about a month ago, just the uncertainty of Trump’s intent for NAFTA has cost the American agriculture industry dearly as Mexico rapidly resorted to its “plan B” and made fabulous deals with several other reliable nations and markets. The losers, as usual, are some of Trump’s staunchest supporters and the rest of the population that will suffer the consequences of an isolationist malcontent in the White House.

It has been a couple of months since Trump pulled out of the Trans Pacific Partnership (TPP), but now the already struggling agricultural sector has another reason to mourn the idiot in the White House. The massive 12-nation trade agreement was set up to be extremely friendly, and highly profitable, to American agriculture because it covered “a whopping 40 percent of the world’s economy.” Since expanded agricultural trade and elimination of tariffs for American products was hard fought, and won by President Obama, for American farmers the Trans Pacific Partnership was a lifeline.

The agriculture sector hailed President Obama’s efforts, and success, at giving American farmers their long sought after chance to eliminate tariffs imposed by nations in the TPP. Those tariffs restricted “the onetime breadbasket” of the world from selling its meats, grains and dairy products to massive importers of agricultural products such as Japan and Vietnam. Now, those products are going to be sold by many other nations that comprehend the benefits of “free trade” sans “punishing tariffs” and eagerly grabbed the TPP lifeline for their agricultural sector.

With an isolationist fascist and incompetent business failure in the White House, that “lifeline” for America’s farmers vanished faster than America’s “already struggling agriculture sector.” The only positive in this horrendous news is that the “struggling agriculture sector,” a huge Trump support group, will suffer before the rest of the population; but they still continue to support him because he pledged to make America white again. According to a report in Politico, even farmers who are scared to death their businesses are set to succumb at the hands of a notoriously inept businessman in the White House still support Trump.

Trump’s incredibly boneheaded stunt of pulling out of the world’s biggest trade deal is being described as  “a double hit on most agricultural producers,” and one in particular is a prime example of what happens with an isolationist moron in the White House.

In Eagle Grove, Iowa, the trade deal promised an increase of $10 billion in agricultural output over the next decade according to conservative estimates by the U.S. International Trade Commission. It is noteworthy too that the $10 billion figure is “an increase” in output that means a monumental increase in income, jobs and profits.

Now, those “increases” will not materialize because of Trump and it portends even more damage than just losing a projected $10 billion and the jobs it would deliver. Not only did Trump’s decision to withdraw from the trade pact wipe out American farmers’ ability to sell their goods to the 11 other nations making up 40 percent of the Earth’s economy with no tariffs, it virtually eliminated America’s agriculture sector as a global competitor.

It opened the floodgates for “rival exporters” such as Australia, New Zealand and the European Union to negotiate even lower tariffs with importing nations. Add to that a recently announced extraordinarily enormous trade agreement between the European Union and Japan and it doesn’t look promising for America’s struggling agriculture sector; especially after President Obama negotiated phenomenally good deals for American producers. Trump’s screw-up created greater competitive advantages for several other nation-producers over American agricultural exports. America’s farmers should expect even more bad news in the coming months, if not weeks, as the rest of the world stops needing American agricultural products.

According to a Politico analysis, the remaining 11 countries still in the TPP are actively engaged in a stunning 27 separate trade negotiations with each other; including with other major trading powers in the Pacific region like China and massive blocs like the EU. Those 27 deals without the United States range from exploratory negotiations to deals already signed and awaiting ratification. And, because of Trump, seven of the most significant deals that would have been extremely beneficial for America’s agriculture sector have been concluded without U.S. participation or inclusion since Trump withdrew America from the substantial trade agreement five months ago. Anyone in, or remotely connected to, the agricultural sector should be horrified at what their white hero did to their families, their industry, and their means of income.

One North Carolina-based family pork and poultry business made a huge investment in processing plants in anticipation of an equally huge return due to TPP favoring America’s farmers. Now Ron Prestage says, “I’m scared to death;” and he should be.  Mr. Prestage said his family already started digging the wells and moving dirt for another new processing plant and he fears they may have gone “beyond the point of no return on the new plant.”

According to an agricultural economist at Iowa State University, Dermot Hayes, the idea of farmers and the agriculture sector making big investments based on an epic “free trade” deal is not just normal; it is a good and savvy business investment. Mr. Hayes said in referring to the Prestage operation and other pork-industry investments, “At the time those investment decisions were made, the U.S. had never turned down a free trade opportunity.

Of course the United States has never had a self-professed genius with no interest or knowledge of international trade in the White House either, so maybe Trump shafting the agriculture sector was unexpected; especially from his staunch supporters in the agriculturally rich Midwest.

Mr. Hayes noted that the livestock industry in particular had “in its sights a future of expansion amid soaring export growth.” But with Trump withdrawing from TPP, all of that expansion and soaring export growth “has pretty much disappeared.”

It wasn’t just the livestock industry that harbored the highest expectations on the back of President Obama’s hard work.

Most in the industry expected a boom from exports as a result of TPP, with continued strong sales made possible by NAFTA.”

In one growing and highly profitable market for American farmers producers were set to expand sales of organ meat and other items not easily sold domestically, because Vietnam was completely eliminating its tariffs on American products altogether under TPP. It is why “free trade” is beneficial for all the party’s involved – no or low tariffs are a dream scenario for exporters but not acceptable to a “no-account business genius” like that imbecile Trump.

Now, because there is an idiot in the White House, those tariffs, like every other nations’ tariffs, remain in place for American agricultural products because the United States ruled by dumb Don is not interested in “free trade.” Unfortunately, a growing number of countries are not interested in any kind of trade with America for one good reason; they have already negotiated and signed trade agreements with many other reliable and fair trading partners.

Trump’s record in business is littered with broken and bankrupt companies due to his so-called “renowned business acumen,” and now the record can add America’s agricultural sector among the pile of Trump’s destruction. And in case any American thinks that because they aren’t farmers Trump’s handiwork will not affect them, wait until they have to pay $10 to $15 for a tomato out of season and then watch America’s agriculture industry go bankrupt; all because they supported a corrupt con man who promised to make America white again.

h/t Politico

Japan and the EU Show Trump Real Global Leadership At G20

This week all eyes were on the meeting of the Earth’s 20 largest economies and particularly American idiot Trump’s meeting with his puppet master Vladimir Putin. What seems to have been lost, at least thus far, in the highly anticipated gathering was an announcement that because Donald Trump is as ignorant about world trade as he is the U.S. Constitution, America will no longer be the leader in global trade; it will likely not be second either. There had been plenty of warnings that Trump ceded America’s global economic lead to China with any one of the global agreements he unilaterally decided didn’t make America great, but it appears that the global lead is going to Japan and the European Union with China in second place and Trump’s “great America” falling far behind.

Some may recall that one of the reasons President Barack Obama, and this nation’s leading economists, manufacturing industries and corporate leaders, gave for being intricately involved in the Trans Pacific Partnership was to allow America to dictate its own economic destiny. Because Donald Trump is such a failure at business, and he is a flaming failure, and because he is an ignorant sot and megalomaniac, he extricated America from the TPP.

According to Trump, he and only he can “make the best deals” and only he can force the rest of the world, including our valued allies and trading partners, to bend to his will. So, on Trump’s first full day in a place he doesn’t belong, he unilaterally withdrew America from the TTP and pledged to force Canada and Mexico to renegotiate the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA).

Those actions solidified Japan and the European Union’s commitment to take control of their global economic futures and force America out of its leadership role in global economics and trade and relegate it to a less than significant role. The two economic powerhouses waited to announce what is being hailed worldwide as a “massive trade deal” until the G20 meeting this weekend. By putting off their announcement, all 20 of the planet’s economic leaders were present to witness Japan and the EU “take the leadership reins away from America” because Trump has “withdrawn America from the global trading arena” to be “great again.”

As the Trump was dazed and confused, and wandering around lost on a stage in Poland, Japan and Europe were “sending a pointed message to the U.S. We’re taking your place as global leaders in free trade.”

The “massive trade deal” more than rivals the largest free trade accord in the world, NAFTA, and as a senior fellow at the Peterson Institute for International Economics, Caroline Freund stated:

Two big, highly globalized economies are stepping up and showing they’re going to continue liberalization — with or without the US,”

As noted in the Washington Post, the massive trade pact between Japan and the EU “is yet another momentous consequence of Trump’s decision to withdraw from Trans-Pacific Partnership negotiations during his first full working day as president.”

Those consequences are in addition to the damage Trump inflicted on America’s massive agriculture industry with the threat of withdrawing from NAFTA, or at least “renegotiating” what he thinks would be a better deal. By now only an idiot refuses to admit that dumb Don Trump is too ignorant to know what a good deal is, much less negotiate a “a better” one. At a meeting last month American, Mexican, and Canadian trade representatives concurred that they all “want NAFTA left alone.” Trump may have easily screwed over investors, students, suppliers and contractors in his corrupt business “deals,” but powerful nations’ economic leaders are not going to be swindled by the likes of Trump.

In recent years Japan’s top priority has been the TPP because it would have allowed it to trade with the largest and most advanced economy in the world, the United States of America. And it would have become a key player in the “largest free trade bloc in global history” accounting for a whopping 40 percent of global GDP. It also would have given Japan a “strategic counterweight to communist China’s hegemony in Asia.

That prospect inclined Japan to put aside a promising trade agreement with the European Union; that is how promising a prospect for all the players the Trans Pacific Partnership was. Now there is an even more promising deal and besides not being one of the players, America will not be involved because Trump.

According to Edward Alden, a senior fellow at the Council on Foreign Relations and noted trade expert:

I have no doubt the final rounds [of the negotiations] were accelerated to try to conclude the deal as quickly as possible and send a message that the EU and Japan are prepared to lead on trade – without the US. The fact that it was concluded right before Trump’s first G-20 summit is a symbolic poke in the eye to the Americans.”

America under the antagonistic Trump regime has incurred more than a few “pokes in the eye” in just a few months. A recent global poll found that Trump has singlehandedly “tarnished America’s image” on six continents, and that doesn’t include making a laughingstock out of himself at the G8 meeting last month. Because of his predilection to running his big bigoted mouth, he has created a world of economic hurt for the American agriculture industry with not one, but two ill-advised and bigoted policies. He has also damaged the American tourism industry because very few foreign travelers want to set foot in a nation of racists and bigots.

The kind of America that Trump thinks is great will continue alienating our friends, allies, and trading partners; something that was not occurring prior to Trump being allowed to move into the White House. America may still be great as far as having a powerful military, but like any business or corporation with a clueless and single-minded simpleton at the helm, the United States surrendered its global leadership on trade because Trump.

Trump’s Big Mouth Is Hurting American Farmers

 

It is likely that more than a few Americans have heard the phrase, “running your mouth,” and they probably know that it means “talking shit, stirring shit, or letting your mouth run off without thinking.” Of course this is a perfectly apt description of the current occupant of the White House who has done little more than “run his mouth” since before idiot Americans installed him in the Oval Office. By now only a comatose American is unaware that Trump’s habit of running his mouth has caused more than a few of our allies and neighbors to distance themselves from the America Trump rules. Maybe some Americans even know that Trump has tarnished America’s image on six continents because he just can’t stop running his mouth; especially over issues he has no business talking about, like trade.

Trump has demonstrated that although he has no qualms hurting every American alive who isn’t filthy rich, it is his base of support who are bound to feel the effects of a bloviate know-nothing first. And one of those groups has already complained bitterly that Trump is hurting their livelihood with his big mouth, and now they are speaking out again that Trump is creating a world of economic hurt without implementing a policy he has been running his mouth about ad nauseam; international trade.

Farmers across the nation were already bemoaning loud mouth Trump’s so-called immigration crackdown that is making it nearly impossible for them to find experienced field workers, and now they are crying over Trump’s anti-trade pact rhetoric that is costing them dearly. Trump ignorantly claims the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) destroyed America since its inception, especially singling out manufacturing jobs, but like everything Trump runs his mouth about he is wrong. Like the coal industry Trump champions, manufacturing jobs have been primarily lost to mechanization, not trade pacts. It is noteworthy that what few remaining manufacturing jobs have been lost were sent to China, not nations in NAFTA.

No matter if someone hates international trade agreements or not, NAFTA has been a boon to the agricultural export industry and the farmers and organizations that make up the industry are reporting their trading partners south of the border are not pleased any more than the American farmers are.

A couple of months ago the president of the U.S. Grains Council, Thomas Sleight, had to fly to Mexico to calm his organization’s worried trading partners who gave him a “frosty” greeting. It is an understatement to claim the Mexican agricultural trading partners are unimpressed with Trump; and not just because he regularly portrayed the Mexican people as “rapists” and “criminals.” Mr. Sleight said his customers were “annoyed” and “were insulted, really.” He added that “you don’t do that to your best customers.”

Sleight also related that “his customers” wanted to know “just why the president thought NAFTA was such a bad deal;” particularly when the NAFTA-created agricultural trade is highly regarded on all sides of the border as a “raging success.”

Indeed, since NAFTA was signed, Canada and Mexico have become, by far, “America’s largest export markets for American corn, pork, dairy, soybeans and poultry.” In fact, overall, total exports resulting from NAFTA grew from just $9 billion in 1993 to $41 billion by 2014. What that means for American farmers is that a little over “one of every ten” planted acres in America feeds Mexicans and Canadians; and those Mexicans and Canadians are pouring billions of dollars into America’s economy.

As Mr. Sleight noted when Trump was running his big mouth and badmouthing NAFTA as a raging failure, all he accomplished besides pissing off our neighbors is “create a problem for the American agricultural industry that had previously never existed.” But that’s what happens when a two-bit know-nothing “lets his mouth run off without thinking;” not that Trump ever does much “thinking.”

In Georgia recently, the top agricultural officials from Mexico, Canada and America met to discuss the upcoming NAFTA renegotiations and the “overwhelming consensus was that they all wanted NAFTA left alone.”

However, due to Trump’s big mouth and opposition to international trade agreements; “farmers in the Midwest, import-and-export associations in southern Arizona, and the biggest national agricultural groups are already seeing a negative impact and it may be too late to undo some of the damage.”

While Mr. Sleight was attempting to calm the Mexican farmers’ worries, all he “constantly heard was talk of their ‘Plan B’ in case they couldn’t buy or sell their products in the U.S.” In fact, many Mexican customers had already met with trade representatives from Argentina because that nation is not averse to international trade and would welcome tapping into a large portion of the $41 billion in agriculture sales. The ‘Plan B’ news prompted Sleight to say, “You know, those markets are critical. If we were to lose those you can’t make that up. You can’t just snap your finger and make that up.

Even without “renegotiating” NAFTA, Trump’s big mouth has cost American farmers dearly besides their inability to find field workers with expertise. Since he took office and Mexican farmers began exploring their Plan B, “American soybean exports to Mexico have dropped 15 percent, corn has dropped 6 percent; and chicken dropped 11 percent; the largest decline of 14 years.”  And those “rural states” that helped put Trump in the White House are worried sick that their primary industry will take more significant economic hits than have already occurred.

The president of the Fresh Produce Association of the America’s, Lance Jungmeyer, spoke for the Arizona-based import-export association and said Americans will suffer from a lack of seasonally-fresh fruits and vegetables if Mexico goes to its “Plan B. Now you go to the store and you get whatever you want.”

Jungmeyer also said that no matter what happens with NAFTA negotiations, the damage thus far it exactly what investors warn about when some idiot starts running their mouth.

When you have a threat, or even the possibility of a threat, of shutting down trade, that creates a real concern in people’s lives. They certainly are very worried about what next year looks like.”

That uncertainty about trade, a bonafide economic threat, entails nearly everything remotely related to Trump running his mouth and just one reason why he is despised on six continents. But although he represents a threat to world peace as much as world trade, it is the American agriculture industry that is feeling the economic pain now. If there weren’t innocent Americans and Mexican farmers feeling the pain, there would be a sense of justice for the people that elected Trump to feel a $41 billion hit on their industry and state economies. But sadly, they aren’t the only people in line for a healthy dose of damage from the loud mouth in the White House. Maybe when the American people have to pay $13 for a fresh tomato or bell pepper out of season, they will remember why and think twice about ever casting a vote for a con man that “talks shit, stirs shit, and lets his mouth run off.

Ford Punks Trump By Outsourcing American Jobs To China

If there is only one thing most people know about a bully, it’s that their “bark is worse than their bite.” That idiom refers to a person “who is all bluster” verbally, but “lacks the courage when challenged to back up their threats.” By now it’s likely that the phrase “don’t let him scare you” is shared among a growing number of Americans who realize that Trump “is all bluster” and nothing else.

It is almost certain that Trump believes that because he gets to live in the White House, he also gets to be a tyrannical dictator with unchallenged and unchecked power and authority. Of course he has been disabused of that idea often because this nation’s Founding Fathers foresaw a time when some lunatic malcontent in the Oval Office would have to be held in check by one of the equally-powerful other branches of government. It’s why Trump hates the U.S. Constitution he claims is “archaic” and “really bad for the country.”

According to an announcement by the Ford Motor Company, Donald Trump must really think the second largest automaker is “really bad for the country” because it defied him and announced a move that is contrary to what Trump demanded.  Ford also understands that Trump’s bark is worse than his bite; maybe someone told the car giant “don’t let him scare you” and they acted accordingly.

Last year, the Ford Motor company publicized its plans to move its production of “the Focus”  to a new plant that was under construction in Mexico; the company cited cheap labor costs as its reason to outsource American jobs. However, In January of this year Ford scrapped those plans and the rumors were that the 2nd largest automaker was afraid of the bully Trump. But despite Trump’s nearly year-long repeated criticism that Ford was a bad actor for investing in Mexican jobs at the expense of American ones, the car giant is still moving its production facility out of country; in spite of Trump’s threat of economic punishment.

Ford announced yesterday that it is “investing in Chinese jobs at the expense of American ones” and dumb Don was punked again; because he’s all talk and lacks the courage to back up his “bluster” promising to save jobs from outsourcing. He is also likely aware that challenging a corporate giant like the Ford Motor Company is a fight he will lose in a Republican Congress and conservative Supreme Court. But he sure talked big on the campaign trail issuing threats on a daily basis.

Throughout the Republican primary and general election campaign, the Trump threatened to levy huge taxes against any automaker, especially Ford, that moved to import cars into the U.S. from other nations. Obviously, Ford knew Trump’s tax threat was toothless and in choosing China over Mexico, the company not only called Trump’s bluff, it killed American jobs for greed and saved itself about a billion dollars it will not have to invest to build a new manufacturing facility in Mexico; the company also exposed Trump as all bluster..

Trump started running his mouth as early as 2015 when he announced his candidacy and immediately began “sharply criticizing” Ford’s then-proposed new operation in Mexico to take advantage of cheap labor costs. Trump kept up the bully talk throughout the campaign and regularly made solemn promises that he, Donald J. Trump, was going to severely punish Ford or any automaker that moved its production facilities out of country; he even threatened severe action if an automaker dared increase its production output from outside the U.S. and then import those vehicles back to America. At one rally in Iowa, Trumps specifically threatened Ford saying:

I would say to the head of Ford, ‘Sorry, I’m not gonna approve. You’re gonna pay a tax for every car and every truck and every part that comes across that southern border, you’re gonna pay a 35% tax, OK?'”

Ford’s response: “Okay, then we’ll move those American jobs to China and avoid that Southern border like plague.

Today the Trump isn’t threatening Ford with a 35 percent “tax,” or any kind of punishment.  At the White House briefing yesterday, beleaguered Press Secretary Sean Spicer commented on Ford’s announced move to China; sans any criticism or further threats. What he did say about the move was that the “general consensus” is that as soon as Trump slashes corporate tax rates, companies will be anxious to “come back and bring back jobs in manufacturing here in the United States.”  It is worth reiterating that Ford never cited corporate tax rates as the reason it’s outsourcing more American jobs, the company specifically cited dirt cheap labor costs.

Trump’s Commerce Secretary, a former banker and leveraged buyouts of distressed businesses specialist Wilbur Ross, responded to Ford’s announcement and failed to level any threats. Ross said:

The Ford decision shows how flexible multinational companies are in terms of geography, I believe that as President Trump’s policies and reforms take hold, more companies will begin to locate their facilities in America.”

Ross’ remark is curious because it apparently isn’t an issue for Trump if an automaker outsources its production, and American jobs, to a foreign nation so long as the company is “flexible in terms of geography” and avoids moving south of the border.

It isn’t exactly clear what Trump’s issue is with Ford moving jobs to Mexico as opposed to China, but perhaps it’s because the Mexican government mocked Trump mercilessly for boasting that he would make our neighbor to the South pay for his “big beautiful wall.” It is noteworthy, by the way, that Ford also said that NAFTA, or a “renegotiated NAFTA,” had no impact and was not any part of its decision to move its production facilities to first Mexico, and then China. It was the nearly billion dollar investment savings, cheap labor, and awareness that Trump’s threat was just a bully’s bluster.