(WISCONSIN) — Wisconsin’s manufacturing industry and farming community have taken hit after hit because of Donald Trump. From his chaotic trade wars to his failed COVID-19 response, manufacturers, factory workers, farmers and the communities they support are hurting worse than ever.
Trump’s erratic trade wars were devastating for Wisconsin manufacturers as thousands of factory workers lost their jobs in the Badger state.
Wisconsin State Journal: Finalized job numbers won’t be available until next spring, but Kurt Bauer, president and CEO of Wisconsin Manufacturers & Commerce, said many in the manufacturing industry — which represents nearly 16% of the the state’s workforce — are feeling a squeeze brought on by the nation’s trade disputes with China, the European Union, Mexico and Canada. A slowing economy and workforce challenges also are factors, he added.
Wisconsin Aluminum Foundry CEO: Here in Wisconsin the manufacturing recession is particularly palpable. Manufacturing accounts for over 15% of employment and nearly 20% of economic output. Employment in the sector has plunged in the past six months as demand for a range of manufactured goods has dried up. Indeed, in our business we laid off more than 10% of our employees late last year because we simply did not have enough orders to keep everyone busy.
News 8000: U.S. Rep. Ron Kind denounced President Donald Trump’s announcement Thursday that he is renewing a 10 percent tariff on Canadian aluminum as a blow to Wisconsin’s beer industry…What’s more, Kind said, “These tariffs will also disproportionately harm Wisconsin’s storied beer industry, which is already facing weakened demand due to a national shortage of aluminum cans and a stagnant economy.”
Now, manufacturers and farmers are being crushed by Trump’s failed COVID-19 response.
The Washington Post: But the novel coronavirus pandemic has sped up a long-term trend — the waning need for the paper used in magazines and printed advertising — and Verso Corp.’s Wisconsin Rapids Mill will finally fall silent at the end of the month. The shutdown, announced June 9, will knock some 900 people out of work and has sent tremors across the region’s economy, reaching from the plant’s gates through town and deep into the Wisconsin forests that supply wood pulp to make paper.
The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel: A second Wisconsin meatpacking worker has died of COVID-19, a 63-year-old Hispanic man whose condition declined so quickly that he couldn’t receive advanced treatment, records show. His wife watched him die via video. Meanwhile, the number of infected meatpacking and food processing workers is mounting. At least 835 have tested positive at 16 plants in Wisconsin, according to a count kept by the Journal Sentinel as part of its ongoing investigation into the facilities.
The Wisconsin Examiner: Coxhead said trade policies under President Donald Trump…contributed significantly to the plight of Wisconsin farmers in the last few years. The federal government’s management of the COVID-19 pandemic has further endangered the country’s — and Wisconsin’s — position in the world economy, he added
WI AFL-CIO State Treasurer: But what has really shown Trump’s callousness towards working people has been his response to the COVID-19 pandemic. Neither I nor any reasonable person would blame the president for the pandemic hitting — but he is fully responsible for waiting months to mount any supportive response and putting us in a situation that has cost us over 110,000 [160,000+] lives and millions of jobs. We know it didn’t have to be this way — had he just listened to the warnings he was receiving in January; had he just considered the lives of the people he swore to protect and make better we wouldn’t be in this situation.
Trump used the bully pulpit to encourage people to boycott Wisconsin-based Harley Davidson. The motorcycle producer has laid off hundreds of workers during the Trump presidency.
Milwaukee Journal Sentinel: Gov. Tony Evers urged President Donald Trump to change directions on trade Monday, telling him his “never-ending tariffs” are hurting Wisconsin farmers….He sent his letter as Wisconsin Democrats highlighted the one-year anniversary of Trump suggesting on Twitter that people should boycott Milwaukee icon Harley-Davidson Inc. for shifting some production overseas. The motorcycle-maker attributed to the decision to a trade dispute with Europe.
Farms have also evaporated under Trump because of his trade wars, which resulted in hollow deals that China is already reneging on.
The Washington Post: In the western part of Wisconsin, farmers have been hammered by a crisis in the dairy industry exacerbated by Trump’s trade war and have shown signs of leaning toward Democrats. Trump has, thus far, fallen far short of his promises to rebuild the Rust Belt’s manufacturing base.
The Wall Street Journal: More U.S. farmers are filing for bankruptcy, as federal payments projected to reach record levels this year fall short of compensating for the coronavirus pandemic and a yearslong slump in the agricultural economy.
Dairy Farmer Tina Hinchley: Almost immediately after taking office he plunged us into multiple trade wars, promising that the pain would be temporary and well worth it….The trade deals he signed are too little, too late for us Wisconsin farmers. We took years and years creating reliable and sustainable markets that he wiped out in just a few months, and what Trump gave us in return was essentially just a repackaged version of the status quo. What’s more is that he promised us huge purchases from China in the Phase One deal he signed six months ago, $50 billion in fact, and yet they agreed to only $14 billion which they are already reneging on.
Wisconsin Farmers’ Union President: Between his [Trump] trade wars and agriculture policy they were all fighting a losing battle, while the largest agricultural producers were able to stay profitable and even buy up so many of these farms. You see, the so called “bailouts” touted by Trump and his Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue…didn’t do enough to make up for the losses they helped exacerbate. The small amount of money family farms got was a drop in the bucket compared to what was being lost on a daily basis, and they simply don’t have the same cash reserves that the big companies do.