Free Trade

The Rust Belt Made Trump President. The Bet Hasn't Paid Off.

If Trump loses his bid for re-election, it will be because Rust Belt voters abandoned him after four years of misguided economic policies.

|

Four years ago, Donald Trump's final pitch to voters came during a near-midnight rally in Grand Rapids, Michigan, on the eve of the election.

"If we win Michigan, we will win this historic election, and then we truly will be able to do all of the things we want to do," Trump said. "They won't be taking our jobs any longer."

He did win Michigan—and Ohio, and Pennsylvania, and Wisconsin. A Rust Belt sweep carried Trump to his unlikely victory in 2016. Those same four states will probably play an outsized role tomorrow in determining whether Trump gets another four years in the White House. There will be many ways to read the outcome of this week's presidential election, but on some level it is undoubtedly a referendum on the promises Trump made to voters in the industrial (and post-industrial) parts of the country.

Within days of the 2016 election, Trump and his top economic advisor, Peter Navarro, were talking about helping those Rust Belt voters by slapping tariffs on goods from Canada and Mexico. It took until March 2018 for Trump's long-sought trade war to get going, and until July of that year for it to become focused on China. Now, more than two years later, the tariffs Trump imposed on steel, aluminum, washing machines, solar panels, and loads of goods made in China have cost American consumers and businesses more than $57 billion annually.

Trump has always claimed that China is paying the cost of the tariffs, and that has always been a lie. More articulate proponents of the president's trade policy claim that the cost of the tariffs is worth their benefits: There's no gain without some pain, they argue.

But as the president faces re-election, the gains are hard to find. And that's especially true in the Rust Belt. Manufacturing job growth in those four key 2016 swing states slowed almost to a standstill even before the COVID-19 pandemic hit, as Trump's tariffs hiked costs for imported goods and materials used by American manufacturers. Those higher import taxes, in turn, blunted business owners' ability to make the investments that create new jobs.

The economic data tell the most obvious part of the story. When Trump was inaugurated in January 2017, those four crucial states were home to 2.33 million manufacturing jobs, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. By July 2018, a few months after Trump launched its tariffs on steel and aluminum and the same month the White House announced its first round of tariffs against Chinese-made goods, the number of manufacturing jobs in those four states had climbed to 2.38 million.

In February 2020, the last full month before the pandemic struck America, those same four states reported nearly exactly the same total: 2.38 million manufacturing jobs. Over the course of those 20 months from July 2018 through February 2020, the number of manufacturing jobs in Michigan declined by about 40,000, while the other three states reported small gains.

The story is similar across the rest of the country: From mid-2018 through the first two months of 2020, manufacturing job growth has been effectively flat after nearly a decade of consistent if unspectacular pre-trade-war growth. The tariffs that were supposed to revitalize American manufacturing instead caused a lost year.

Dig deeper, and it becomes even more clear that the Rust Belt paid an outsized price for Trump's trade policies. A new study from the St. Louis Federal Reserve looks at how "exposed" each of the 50 states is to disruptions in global trade—that is, which states have industries most dependant on importing industrial components, for example, or exporting farm goods.

Unsurprisingly, the report concludes that "states that were more exposed to trade with the world have performed worse [during the trade war] in terms of employment and output growth than have states that were less exposed." Among the worst-hit states are Michigan and Ohio.

The trade war has also coincided with a flat-lining of domestic business investment, as Trump's tariffs have taken a bite out of companies' bottom lines. "Increasing tariffs also creates greater economic uncertainty, potentially dampening business investment and creating a further drag on growth," warned the Congressional Research Service in a report published earlier this year. Overall, the tariffs have had a "negative aggregate effect on the U.S. manufacturing sector," the report found, as the economic benefits of increased protectionism were overwhelmed by increased input costs created by the tariffs.

The steel industry, which was supposed to be a prime beneficiary of Trump's trade policies, is facing a "dim future" as job growth vanishes and price slump, The Wall Street Journal reported last week.

None of this surprised the vast majority of economists, who already knew that tariffs are "costly, ineffective and politically messy," writes Scott Lincicome, a senior fellow in economic studies with the libertarian Cato Institute, in a thorough run-down of Trump's trade failures in The Dispatch.

Yet Trump has vowed to keep his tariffs in place if he wins a second term, and he has bragged on the campaign trail and in debates about the "billions and billions" of dollars the federal government has collected in tariff revenue—most of which has been doled out to farmers harmed by other aspects of Trump's trade war.

On Thursday, Navarro told MSNBC that he sees the upper Midwest as "the Trump Prosperity Belt." And on Monday night, Trump will once again visit Grand Rapids, Michigan, for his final campaign rally before Election Day.

If the vote turns out differently this time around, Trump should blame his own economic policies. Rust Belt voters gave Trump the chance to do what he wanted to do—but the trade barriers that were supposed to resurrect American manufacturing have done more harm than good.

NEXT: Why Is Donald Trump So Mad at Anthony Fauci?

Editor's Note: We invite comments and request that they be civil and on-topic. We do not moderate or assume any responsibility for comments, which are owned by the readers who post them. Comments do not represent the views of Reason.com or Reason Foundation. We reserve the right to delete any comment for any reason at any time. Report abuses.

  1. Rust Belt voters should know that the Koch / Reason policy of unlimited, unrestricted immigration isn’t solely for the benefit of billionaires. I mean, sure, helping billionaires is part of it. Mr. Koch is a smart businessman; he wouldn’t fund open borders advocacy if it wasn’t in his financial interest.

    But, in fact, open borders will benefit everybody. The lack of highly skilled immigration from Mexico was a major reason the Drumpf economy was abysmal even before the #TrumpVirus. Biden’s victory, and the resulting Koch-friendly immigration reforms, will demonstrate this.

    #VoteBidenForOpenBorders

    1. STAY AT HOME & WORK AT HOME FOR USA ]H̲o̲m̲e̲ ̲B̲a̲s̲i̲c̲ ̲J̲o̲b̲s̲….. ̲E̲v̲e̲r̲y̲b̲o̲d̲y̲ ̲c̲a̲n̲ ̲e̲a̲r̲n̲ ̲u̲p̲t̲o̲ ̲$1̲5̲k̲ ̲e̲v̲e̲r̲y̲ ̲m̲o̲n̲t̲h̲ ̲f̲r̲o̲m̲ ̲h̲o̲m̲e̲ ̲b̲y̲ ̲w̲o̲r̲k̲i̲n̲g̲ ̲o̲n̲l̲i̲n̲e̲. ̲I̲ ̲h̲a̲v̲e̲ ̲r̲e̲c̲e̲i̲v̲e̲d̲ ̲$1̲7̲2̲9̲4̲ ̲l̲a̲s̲t̲ ̲m̲o̲n̲t̲h̲ ̲b̲y̲ ̲d̲o̲i̲n̲g̲ ̲t̲h̲i̲s̲ ̲e̲a̲s̲y̲ ̲a̲n̲d̲ ̲s̲i̲m̲p̲l̲e̲ ̲j̲o̲b̲ ̲o̲n̲l̲i̲n̲e̲ ̲f̲r̲o̲m̲ ̲h̲o̲m̲e̲. ̲I̲t̲s̲ ̲a̲n̲ ̲e̲a̲s̲y̲ ̲a̲n̲d̲ ̲s̲i̲m̲p̲l̲e̲ ̲j̲o̲b̲ ̲t̲o̲ ̲d̲o̲ ̲o̲n̲l̲i̲n̲e̲ ̲a̲n̲d̲ ̲e̲v̲e̲n̲ ̲a̲ ̲l̲i̲t̲t̲l̲e̲ ̲c̲h̲i̲l̲d̲ ̲c̲a̲n̲ ̲d̲o̲ ̲t̲h̲i̲s̲ ̲j̲o̲b̲ ̲f̲r̲o̲m̲ ̲h̲o̲m̲e̲. ̲E̲v̲e̲r̲y̲b̲o̲d̲y̲ ̲c̲a̲n̲ ̲g̲e̲t̲ ̲t̲h̲i̲s̲ ̲j̲o̲b̲ ̲n̲o̲w̲ ̲b̲y̲ ̲j̲u̲s̲t̲ ̲c̲o̲p̲y̲ ̲t̲h̲i̲s̲ ̲s̲i̲t̲e̲ ̲i̲n̲ ̲b̲r̲o̲w̲s̲e̲r̲ ̲a̲n̲d̲ ̲t̲h̲e̲n̲ ̲f̲o̲l̲l̲o̲w̲ ̲i̲n̲s̲t̲r̲u̲c̲t̲i̲o̲n̲ ̲t̲o̲ ̲g̲e̲t̲ ̲s̲t̲a̲r̲t̲e̲d̲…….. ↠↠↠

      H̲E̲R̲E̲►COPY THIS WEBSITE………Visit Here   

    2. the Trump’s M.A.G.A., KKK groups gangs are ready with their weapons for attact is Trump looses the battle,this people are armed & dangerous Trump’s fans followers the M.A.G.A. gangs Republicans against Trump…….VISIT HERE FULL DETAIL.

    3. I get paid more than $120 to $130 per hour for working online. I heard about this job 3 months ago and after joining this i have earned easily 15$ from this without having online working skills. This is what I do ═❥❥═❥❥ USA PART TIME JOB.

  2. How much is China paying you, Eric?

    1. Hunter pays him a 10% vig.

      1. Oh shit you’re about to get disappeared.

        1. I make up to $90 an hour on-line from my home. My story is that I give up operating at walmart to paintings on-line and with a bit strive I with out problem supply in spherical $40h to $86h… someone turned into top to me by way of manner of sharing this hyperlink with me, so now i m hoping i ought to help a person else accessible through sharing this hyperlink…

          ================►Hone Work Profit

    2. Boehm is a media hack and will be crying his ass off when Trump gets reelected.

      1. Odds are 50/50 (at best) that Trump gets re-elected, but Boehm spends too much time blathering about Trump’s tariffs. The tariffs were/are not a good idea – but those rust belt workers also understand that President Kamala Harris will make their lives worse. Steel mills won’t run on solar and wind power. All the jobs lost from “transitioning” away from fossil fuels are not going to be replaced with equally well paying jobs calking windows and putting insulation in attics. When gasoline is $4 a gallon again (or higher), that will hurt their household budgets. She will also try to replace their employer provided health insurance with single payer. I suspect Trump will keep more of their support than Boehm suggests.

        1. I quit working at shop rite and now I make $65-85 per/h. How? I’m working online! My work didn’t exactly make me happy so I decided to take a chance on asd something new after 4 years it was so hard to quit my day job but now, I couldn’t be happier So i try use.
          Here’s what I do…….WORK 24

    3. No, he truly believes his position. I’ve been in his shoes on that. I still waffle one way or the other, but I can say throwing the doors open to illegal labor while locking down our legal laborers is downright immoral.

  3. Hmm the chart shows a flat spot in mid 2015 to 2017 as well. And Trump wasn’t president and those tariffs were not in place. So what is that or are you just ignoring things that don’t fit your narrative.

    1. Do you really think Boehm would do that? Just go on the internet and tell lies?

  4. No way to tell if the Rust belt would have done better under Hillary Clinton than under Trump. I suspect with Democratic policies the rust belt would have done worse.

  5. Tariffs always and everywhere are paid by the nation imposing them. What part of “tariffs are taxes” do you guys not understand? Saying that China pays for the tariffs is as silly as saying China will pay out tax increases. Tariffs are a direct tax on US citizens importing goods, who invariable pass on the tax to the US consumer. China may be exporting less to us in the long run, but no fucking way are they paying the tariffs. To claim otherwise is to be ignorant of what a tariff is.

    Now one could argue that a tariff helps Americans more than it hurts Americans, but that’s not the argument being made by the administration. The argument being made is that “China will pay for it”.

    1. Brandybuck gets it! Yeah for Brandybuck!

      Clear-cut case below, showing the UTTER FAILURE of protectionism in general, and Trumpist protectionism specifically:

      Meanwhile in the real world…
      https://reason.com/2019/04/22/trumps-washing-machine-tariffs-cleaned-out-consumers/
      Trump’s Washing Machine Tariffs Cleaned Out Consumers
      A new report finds the tariffs raised $82 million for the U.S. Treasury but ended up increasing costs for consumers by about $1.2 billion.
      PROTECTIONISM DOESN’T WORK!!! DUH!!!
      Protect American washing-machine makers from Chinese competition? The FIRST thing that American washing-machine makers do, is jack UP their prices… AND the prices of dryers to boot, too! To SOAK the hell out of all of us consumers!!!
      From the above-linked Reason article about washing machines…
      “All told, those tariffs raised about $82 million for the U.S. Treasury but ended up increasing costs for consumers by about $1.2 billion during 2018 … (deleted). Although the trade policy did cause some manufacturers to shift production from overseas to the United States in an effort to avoid the new tariffs, the 1,800 jobs created by Trump’s washing machine tariffs cost consumers an estimated $820,000 per job.”
      Summary: Nickels and dimes to the USA treasury; boatloads of pain for consumers. USA jobs created? Yes, at GREAT expense! Putting these 1.8 K workers on a super-generous welfare program would have been WAY better for all the rest of us! Plus, you know the WORKERS don’t make super-huge bucks (no $820,000 per job for THEM); the goodies flow to the EXECUTIVES at the top of the washing-machine companies! The same ones who play golf with The Donald, and join him for gang-banging Stormy Daniels! Essentially at our expense!

      1. “Brandybuck gets it! Yeah for Brandybuck!”

        Everyone knows that is your sockpuppet.

    2. Who are you talking to? Literally no one had made any comment about tariffs being good – but you preemptively jumped in?

      1. Trumpistas have this unfortunate tendency to believe lies from The Donald, is the problem here! And The Donald is STILL doing it!

        https://www.nbcnews.com/politics/2020-election/live-blog/2020-10-22-trump-biden-election-n1244210/ncrd1244426#blogHeader

        Fact check: Who pays tariffs? Trump says China, Biden says taxpayers
        Trump, responding to a question about confronting China, said the country is “paying billions and billions of dollars” to the U.S. and suggested this was money his administration has used to bail out American farmers.

        Biden interjected to say that was “taxpayer money” going to the farmers.

        So, who is paying for tariffs?

        We’ve fact checked this before, and Biden’s right. Tariffs are taxes on goods coming in to the U.S., paid by the importer; those taxes are largely tacked onto the purchase price paid by American consumers.

        End import. SQRLSY comment: Who knew? Not loyal Trumpistas, who fall hook line and sinker for ALL Trumpian lies!

        1. So you weren’t talking to anyone Brandybuck.

          1. There’s no one home inside the minds of brainwashed, devout Trumpistas. The lights flicker now and then, but no one is home. So yes, when you try to reason with most Trumpistas, you’re not actually talking to anyone!

            1. Why are you still blathering at me Brandybuck?

              1. Not for you, brainwashed, devout Trumpista, because there’s no “there” there! As was mentioned above. But OTHER readers may read this, and recognize truth!

                I have often stumbled over the “boulder in my path” called “attempting to reason with the unreasonable”. I am trying to remove this boulder from the paths of unwary others who may tread these same paths!

                1. Why are you STILL blathering at me Brandybuck?

                  1. I am hoping that you will grow some functional neurons someday sooner or later, and practice using them. It is probably a vain hope. But hope springs eternal in the human breast!

                    1. Your creepy obsession with Trump and his followers is your problem Brandybuck, why do you keep bleating it at me.

                    2. He has to do something between reading the atlantic, yelling racist shit, and shit eating.

                2. Haha. Removing boulders and shit. Awesome.

                  Ya know, the word “hero” is thrown around far too often, but……

        2. Since when Biden care about taxpayer money? Is he not the one who wants huge increase on taxes? Trump is lying about tariffs but Hes right about china not being an open economy. tarif are useless (always been) but there are alternatives, every part of china economy that is not free should be barred to trade on US soil, very easy and very effective.

      2. Retaliatory tariffs are fine. The only thing worse than trade isolationism is letting foreign actors have unacknowledged abuses in trade towards you. Curre t theft is estimated at 1-3% of GDP. Not acknowledging this fact also hurts consumers and at a higher cost that retaliation to stop abusive market behaviors.

        In an ideal system there are no tariffs. But people stop discussing ideal states in freshman physics.

    3. If the USPS is going to be SUBSIDIZING shipping from China then those subsidy recipients shall pay the ‘tariff’ (i.e. Subsidy tax).

  6. The recent jump in paychecks has come with an unusual characteristic, as workers at the lower end of the pay scale are getting the greater benefit.

    . . . .

    What has set this rise apart is that it’s the first time during an economic recovery that began in mid-2009 that the bottom half of earners are benefiting more than the top half — in fact, about twice as much, according to calculations by Goldman Sachs. The trend began in 2018 and has continued into this year.

    —-CNBC, March 2019

    https://www.cnbc.com/2019/03/13/workers-at-lower-end-of-pay-scale-getting-most-benefit-from-rising-wages.html

    These increases were largely attributable to Trump’s policies–including deregulation and corporate tax cuts. The coronavirus may have impacted Boehm’s memory, but the rest of us should keep this in mind.

    1. P.S. The unemployment rate hit a 50 year low, again, largely because of Trump’s policies.

  7. Damn Eric and those pesky facts. Gonna irritate all the fascists today.

    1. Lol you are gonna cry tomorrow.

    2. It’d be cool if Eric had actually had some facts instead of inferences that don’t even match the data.
      Explain mid 2015 to 2017 when Trump’s tariffs didn’t exist, Jeff.

      You’d lie to your mothers for the sake of Orangemanbad.

      1. Nice strawman. Nobody is saying tariffs are the only reason why manufacturing might not grow.

        But these latest tariffs sure appear to have cooled off the growth in a manufacturing sector that had benefited dearly from Trump’s tax and regulatory policies. The evidence at least supports that. What’s your theory on the stagnation in 2019?

        1. “Nice strawman. Nobody is saying tariffs are the only reason”

          So you can’t explain it got it.

        2. “Nobody is saying tariffs are the only reason why manufacturing might not grow.”

          No one is saying that either, strawfucker.

        3. How many articles has boehm written literally pushing this narrative Leo? Why has he not addressed any other factors? Your strawman is sadly the real strawman here.

    3. “pesky facts”

      like the flat spot he ignored which destroys his narrative

  8. “From mid-2018 through the first two months of 2020, manufacturing job growth has been effectively flat after nearly a decade of consistent if unspectacular pre-trade-war growth. The tariffs that were supposed to revitalize American manufacturing instead caused a lost year.”

    What happened between January of 2017 and mid-2018 and why?

    1. What happened between January of 2017 and mid-2018 and why?
      Growth because of tax cuts, primarily. Thanks Trump.

      What happened after mid-2018? A business tax increase on anybody who imports key components to manufacturing. Thanks Trump.

      1. Take a look below.

        I opposed the tariffs then, I oppose the tariffs now, and I will always oppose the tariffs in the future.

        The job market for unskilled workers was never so good as it was during Trump’s first term–in spite of the tariffs–because of Trump’s other policies.

        Take a look at some of the links below.

        Wage growth was higher for unskilled workers than it had been in a decade–wages were growing faster for unskilled workers than they were for their managers.

        Meanwhile, the unemployment rate hit a 50 year low.

        If that’s the result of Trump’s tariffs, we should hope for more of them. That wasn’t the result of Trump’s tariffs. It was in spite of the tariffs. And if you don’t want us to get our clock cleaned by people who support tariffs in the future, then you better get your facts straight.

        1. That might be true if there were any indication that wages were rising significantly during this period. After all, if there’s high demand for labor and low supply, wages should increase dramatically, right?

          There’s not, I looked. Manufacturing wages were pretty steadily rising during the last five years with no inversion of the curve in 2019.

          Doesn’t seem to support your theory.

          1. Sorry, click on the 5Y view on that chart. I thought the link would update accordingly away from the default 1Y view.

            1. My theory?!

              Wage growth flattened out at a higher unemployment rate–especially in the aftermath of ObamaCare.

              There’s no theory involved. Wages increased at a much higher pace during Trump’s term–across all unskilled workers–and the unemployment rate hit a 50 year low.

              . . . in spite of tariffs.

              No one but Boehm is looking at the period between Trump’s election and the pandemic and talking about what a failure it was for manufacturing workers or any other unskilled workers. It was a fucking bumper crop!

              1. There was no change in the rate of wage growth between 2016 and the end of 2019 according to my link. Yet unemployment changed dramatically during that time. There’s no indication in the data that there was a shortage of workers, as you assert below. If there were a shortage during this time, the rate of wage growth would have increased in 2019.

                Your theory that a worker shortage caused the manufacturing job growth isn’t founded by the wage data.

                If you accept that reducing taxes would increase manufacturing growth, what would you expect to happen when taxes are increased? Are tariffs a form of tax?

    2. Also boehm seems to ignore that it takes time to establish increased manufacturing due to other regulations.

  9. Rust belt guys are going to swing hard for Harris/Biden.

    1. They didnt in 2016 and Trump is more popular than in 2016.

  10. Imagining a Rust Belt without fossil fuels…

    1. 100 emoji

  11. “Over the course of those 20 months from July 2018 through February 2020, the number of manufacturing jobs in Michigan declined by about 40,000, while the other three states reported small gains.”

    That’s interesting because in the financial news I was reading, one of the biggest complaints among manufacturers at the time was the inability to find and attract low wage workers. At one point, I was reading about recruiters trying to hire workers with prison records, anything . . .

    Could it be that the reason the number of jobs didn’t increase at that time was because the unemployment rate was so low, it was hard for manufacturers to find more workers?

    The unemployment rate was at its lowest level in 50 years–because of Trump’s policies.

    “Unemployment rate falls to its lowest level in 50 years”

    —-ABC News, October 4, 2019

    https://abcnews.go.com/Business/unemployment-rate-falls-lowest-level-50-years/story?id=66058946

    1. Hiring people with criminal records sounds like a really really good thing. Nothing keeps people in the poverty crime cycle longer than being unable to get a job that lets them do something else with their lives.

  12. Blaming Trump for the state of unskilled workers during his first term is like blaming Ronald Reagan for losing the Cold War.

    We didn’t lose the Cold War. We won.

    And the parents of unskilled workers don’t remember ever having it so good in their lifetimes as their kids had it during Trump’s first term in office.

  13. If Trump loses his bid for re-election, it will be because Rust Belt voters abandoned him after four years of misguided economic policies.

    I don’t know about that. If there’s on thing the rust belt likes, it’s protectionism, tariffs, and ‘made in America’s.

  14. This is a really, really bad take.

    Let’s just assume for a moment that Eric is correct- that Trump’s policies have hurt the Rust Belt. Why does that make Eric think *that* is the straw that will break the camel’s back?

    “Trump won because he promised Rust Belters tariffs, but he won’t win again because he delivered on those tariffs!” Really? That is what is going to happen?

    Look. Trump won on an inside straight. Hillary had turnout numbers a mere 100,000 lower than Obama’s second election. The difference is that Trump generated around 3 Million more votes than Romney did the previous election (and he still lost the popular vote by some 3 million votes). It just so happens that Hillary’s missing 100,000 votes were in very key states.

    It may be that the 100,000 votes Biden needs to win this are disaffected voters from the rust belt, but it is just as likely that they are lazy liberals kicking themselves for staying home in 2016 when hil was a sure thing.

    1. Biden doesn’t have near the enthusiasm among voters that Clinton did. His 100, 000 missing votes will be people who sent in their ballots too late because they didn’t know the rules in their state.

  15. Oh, 2016 wasn’t a bet on Trump. It was a repudiation of Clinton.

    1. Your citation fell off.

      Trump is more popular than 2016.

      Biden is less popular than Hillary.

  16. Sigh. The TDS slant and anti-GOP slant from Boehm is sad and pathetic. This story is a manipulation of economic data. While there is valid criticism of Trump’s tariffs, that isn’t being made here. Btw, Biden is likely to continue them.

    The TWO stories in one day about Republican efforts to disqualify votes in Texas is an even more egregious manipulation of the facts. The GOP is correct in Texas. The curbside voting is only allowed for qualified individuals; not everybody and anybody. Them’s the rules. Are Libertarians at Reason opposed to rule of law?

    I’d expect this type of reporting from Vox or the AP. It’s sad this is what Reason has turned into.

    1. The unreason staff hacks have been shilling for Democrats for years.

      They hate libertarianism too.

      Watch the tears drop from staff eyes over the next few days as election returns come in and Trump defeats Biden so bad. Then the excuses will from from this rag.

  17. The Bet Hasn’t Paid Off.

    Also, you should have saved this for the 4th. We don’t know if the bet’s paid off yet – the race hasn’t been run.

  18. Manufacturing growth is flat because automation and the digital age made a lot of hand on work obsolete or unnecessary. The decline of retail means whatever factories that were putting together clothes or books were likely closing down or not expanding. And a lot of those jobs were likely outsourced anyways.

    If I recall correctly, most of the auto manufacturing plants are in the south, where economic conditions are more business friendly. Energy production occurs in the coastal regions and some southern areas. The economy was doing relatively well in those areas with or without tariffs. The rust belt was probably losing a lot of its manufacturing due to years of liberal mismanagement and taxes.

    Trump was obviously foolish to make grand promises for a region that was on the decline. But I see no evidence that tariffs kept manufacturing jobs from expanding in the rust belt. Tariffs are bad for consumers but in reality most Americans wouldn’t stop buying Coors or whatever because the tariffs on aluminum raised beer prices by a dollar.

    1. Inflation that the government wont admit is there is more likely the reason for rising beer prices because all prices have risen.

      Some recent price increases are Kungflu price fixing and real supply cost increases.
      USDA- Summary Findings
      Food Price Outlook, 2020

  19. Trump would have been in serious trouble if the Democrats offered up anything but Biden, Harris, or Clinton. I’m voting Trump after spending 5 years pointing out the hypocrisy of that charlatan because of the Democrats’ horrid ticket. That and “Spike” outing the LP as a clown car.
    But Trump really hasn’t been that bad, it’s largely media distortions and propaganda that make it seem that way.

    And there is no way the belt goes for Biden/Harris. They stand against everything those people stand for. Ohio/Pennsylvania Democrats went for Trump long ago. The professional sports debacles have solidified that. Michigan, etc are probably in the same boat. And the lockdowns simply ended the game.

    But anything’s possible with fake votes.

  20. Always good to see Reason authors supporting the only fascist country in the world engaged in slow burn genocide.

Please to post comments