Chickens Coming Home To Roost, Trade War Edition

Donald Trump’s plan to enact stiff steel and aluminum import tariffs has caused alarm among economists and pundits alike, which is really odd, since this is one issue he actually ran on and talked about all the time. This seems to be another case where people heard what they wanted to hear and ignored the rest.

Be that as it may, the announcement caused the stock market to crash (again, totally Obama’s fault, or maybe Hillary’s right?) and there have been some other, more immediately damaging repercussions for Tennessee Trump-lovers:

Electrolux puts $250 million U.S. investment on hold over Trump tariff hike

STOCKHOLM (Reuters) – Sweden’s Electrolux (ELUXb.ST), Europe’s largest home appliance maker, said on Friday it would delay a planned $250 million investment in Tennessee, after U.S. President Donald Trump announced tariffs on imported aluminum and steel.

On Thursday, Trump said the duties — 25 percent on steel imports and 10 percent on aluminum — would be formally announced next week, although White House officials later said some details still needed to be ironed out.

“We are putting it on hold. We believe that tariffs could cause a pretty significant increase in the price of steel on the U.S. market,” Electrolux spokesman Daniel Frykholm said.

Electrolux buys all the steel it uses in its U.S. products domestically.

“So this is not the possibility of tariffs directly impacting our costs, but rather the impact it could have on the market and that it could damage the overall competitiveness of our operations in the U.S.,” Frykholm said.

Electrolux’s Tennessee plant is in Springfield, a hard-right, deep-red district that overwhelmingly voted for Trump. It is represented in the U.S. Congress by the pro-Trump Diane Black, now running for governor, a woman who said helping Trump pass his tax cuts was the “proudest moment of her life” but who has remained silent about Electrolux putting investment in her district on hold.

You know, it’s so rare that these chickens come home to roost in the deep-red districts that are the source of such wingnuttery. Usually when a far-right policy is enacted in, say, a statehouse, the repercussions are felt in the blue urban areas. For example, when our state legislature passed an anti-LGBT counseling bill, the rural districts whose homophobic reps pushed this hate leg got off scott-free, while major conferences pulled out Nashville — represented by Democrats in the legislature, who had voted against the bill. As I’ve said more than once, boycotts and national shaming don’t work if they hurt your allies, not your adversaries.

But when it comes to trade policy and tariffs, those chickens are going to come home to roost in red districts, because global companies located their plants in cheap-labor, cheap-land rural areas. So far, Tennessee Trump voters have been able to have their cake and eat it, too. But globalism is a fact of life everywhere — even in rural Tennessee. Electrolux is anticipating higher U.S. steel prices and higher inflation. So, too, will Nissan USA, Toyota, Volkswagon, Mercedes-Benz, BMW … all of the major car brands who have plants across the rural South, and all of their multinational suppliers: Germany’s Mann+Hummel, which builds car parts at its plant in Dunlap, TN. Or YAPP Automotive Systems, a Chinese company with U.S. plants in Gallatin and Chattanooga. They make gas tanks for cars. Or the Spanish auto parts manufacturer Ficosa, which has a plant in Cookeville, TN where they make rear-view mirrors.

Do these companies use steel and aluminum? Some may, some may not, but that’s the thing about trade wars: when the bombs detonate, the repercussions are felt across all sectors. Beware the unintended consequences of your trade war, Trump lovers. The rhetoric of “America First” may sound good, but the reality will be far less pleasing. And there will be no blaming the Democrats this time.


Filed under 2016 Presidential Election, Tennessee

23 responses to “Chickens Coming Home To Roost, Trade War Edition

  1. Kathleen

    I was shocked, shocked to hear Chuckles The Toad actually provide context during his chat with Willie Geist on Sunday Today program. They were talking about his tariff edict and Chuckles said he’s been talking about this for 30 years and it shouldn’t surprise anyone that he’s taken action.

  2. Thomas F Wallace

    America first is a nazi idea that will eventually put us in a worldwide trade war or, in other words, World War III. But, I am sure that those who voted for him think that it is worth it to have their agenda fulfilled. They have their supreme court and their money in their bank accounts..

  3. Joseph Stans

    Hmmm. President for life?Wowwza! And I’m still trying to find my bluse sock.

  4. democommie

    I think that the serpent is starting to choke on itself.

  5. themadkansan

    …he really is gonna get us all killed, one way or another.


  6. I’m sorry for your fellow Tennesseans who will be hurt. No American want any state to suffer needlessly be the blue, red or purple.

    I’m starting to think that Trump really is the Manchurian candidate, (See the Venerable Dog Report,) receiving post-hypnotic suggestions from Putin. First he goes after the thriving solar energy industry, now he is attacking the very backbone of U.S. building and manufacturing.

  7. glasat

    Good citizens of Springfield, TN, I’ve saved you the trouble of looking this info up, in advance. Your local welfare office is at 809 S.Mabel Street. Oh, and….MAGA, y’all !!

    • democommie

      If it hasn’t already done so, Springfield, TN could be chosen as the namesake of The Simpson’s “Springfield”…

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  9. joe

    sorry, but Tenn deserves this for the politicians they elect.

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  11. democommie

    Only caught a minute of it, but Christiane Amanpour had Larry Summers on and he basically said that Trumpligulamygdala is a fucking moron–especially on his tweet about “trade wars are easy to win”. He noted that the Stock Market shed $400B in assets, within an hour of the tariffs being announced and said that the U.S. steel/aluminum industries “benefit” might be 1% of that number.

    I never finished college and I only ever took a couple of basic business courses but only an idiot would think telling your business partners that fucking them is a good idea because you will win is a good business model.

    Whither Jimbo(B), btw? I figured we might even see him make a rare (if it’s ever happened) weekend appearance, here. Somebody has to shill for the MAGAmoronz.

    • Jim in Memphis

      Again DC begs to hear my wisdom on a subject. I understand that you eagerly await my every word but someone has to keep working and paying taxes so your SS check will clear each month. Anyway as far as tariffs go I think it is a mistake and will only cause problems. We need less government interference in business not more. We need more free trade between countries – not less.

      On a side note unrelated to this, I see the mayor of Nashville’s chickens have also come home to roost. Too bad as I was interested in seeing what Nashville would do with her plans on mass transit. Maybe mayor Briley (some relation to Briley PKWY?) will move her proposed mass transit system forward.

      • democommie

        Not hardly Jimbo(B), as for you PAYING my SS, go fuck yourself. I have a friend who makes about 3/4M most years and he’s paying for me–and told me I was welcome as there’s no way in hell that he’ll ever get back.

        I was just surprised that a smart guy like you never saw the downside of voting for people who don’t give a flying fuck about anyone but themselves and their donors. Fuck the constituents–even the ones who voted for them.

        You like the assholes that are pulling this shit. Wallow in it.

      • Jim in Memphis

        I didn’t vote for Trump if that is what you are implying. And I find it incredibly naive of you to think that any politician from any party gives a flying fuck about you unless you are a big donor for them.

        How about the tariffs imposed under Obama – did you wallow in that shit? Tariffs on Chinese tires and solar panels led to increased costs for Americans. Did you bitch about those? Like I said, I am against the tariffs and a lot of the Republicans are also against them as well.

        As far as SS goes, I paid the exact same amount as your friend since the payments are capped after $127,200 last year. In fact depending on whether or not your friend is self employed I may have paid double what he paid. Also – be sure to remind him to check the box that he wants to pay Obama income tax rates in 2018 – I am sure he doesn’t want anything to do with the Trump tax cuts.

      • Jim in Memphis

        I assume you are calling these senators to complain about their support for the tariffs –

      • So you’re pretending to be surprised that 3 Democrats in the rust belt are trying to appeal to their working class voters? That’s odd. I’m so old, I remember President Obama trying to get “buy American” provisions inserted into his post-economic meltdown infrastructure and jobs bill and Republicans going absolutely apeshit about it.

      • Jim in Memphis

        I am not surprised by anything a politician does of any party. I was merely questioning if DC had the same outrage against them, the obama tariffs, etc.

  12. democommie


    It doesn’t matter if you voted for Trumpligulamygdala–you voted for all of the scum from your state that is using him to ram their tax cuts through.

    I don’t expect politicians to be decent or honest. I do know that the democrats in my state aren’t so busy trying to outlaw gaymawwiage and unisex bathroom for Transgender constituents that they ignore genuinely important issues.

    Maybe the democrats don’t give a shit about me, the GOP is actively working to hurt me and that’s fine with assholes like you as long as you can still make a buck.

    As for paying your fair share v my friend. He’s been paying the max for about 40 years, now. And he really doesn’t give a shit about the tax cuts. He would dearly like to see the hyper wealthy getting the shit taxed out of their sheltered incomes. Trust me on this, he would think you’re a cheap prick.

    Tariffs are generally weapons used by one government against other governments for the relief of a narrow slice (mostly capitalists) of the population. The solar panel tariff is particularly ironic given that it was Ronald Reagan who gutted the renewable energy program.

    I don’t like tariffs–I love aggressive enforcement of the laws on the books and I favor taxing the living shit out of people who make their money by offshoring their manufacture and then selling it in the U.S. for better profit while gutting the unions and fucking the U.S. middle-class by not paying taxes.

    Many republicans are upset about the tariffs because their major donors are upset about them. Otherwise they wouldn’t give a flying fuck, just like they don’t about regulating firearms in the U.S. Most of the dems that article mentions are DINO’s or afraid of being primaried out of their jobs (as they should be) by someone who can still hear what his constituents are saying.

    You were thrilled to see Hilz lose. You were gonna get everything you wanted. Be careful what you wish for.

  13. democommie

    Jimbo(B) is just havin’ a time, these days, ‘cuz now he’s got a great tax thing going (well, not great, ZERO taxes–that would be great) where he gets to keep even more of the money that he “earns”.

    BTW, Jimbo(B) are all of those jobs your company does completely free market? No gummint subsidies, no tax forgiveness that gives them an “advantage” not enjoyed by their competitors who don’t know how to game the system and make it GIVE them money that it collects from other people?

    • Jim in Memphis

      Unfortunately there is no such thing as a completely free market. So instead the government chooses winners and losers based on how much influence they can get with their local politicians. You like it when the government chooses liberal things to support and are against it when conservative groups or people benefit. I am sure some of the projects I work on get discounted tax payments or PILOTs but I don’t have any control over that.

      • Jim in Memphis

        If you are arguing for a “fair” government then I would be all in favor of a simple flat tax that applied to all citizens for all income – earnings, interest, business, corporate profits, etc. There would be no need for special exemptions or write offs. A simple one line tax form that shows income * tax rate equals taxes owed. It would save me alot of time and money I have to spend on preparing tax returns.