Loquitur

Americans fight the battle against the trade war

Comic by Eric Stone

Imagine finally being confident in voting for a president who supports your field of work only to find out a year and a half later that you could possibly lose the job you have had your whole life. This is happening to millions of blue-collar workers all across the United States as the trade war continues its wrath.

“Make America Great Again”

Ever since the beginning of his campaign president Trump’s slogan has been: “Make America Great Again.” A big part of that plan is to create more jobs for Americans within the blue-collar field and to diminish overseas factories as much as possible.

At the time, that plan sounded ideal to many current blue-collar workers who have seen so many of their co-workers lose their jobs due to cheaper international factories. But with the continual trade war on imports and the plan to put a tariff on steel and aluminum, many of those workers are actually struggling worse than before.

Trump’s biggest reason for the tariffs is that he wants the United States to not be able to be pushed around by other countries. He firmly believes in bringing back ‘American’ jobs like coal miners and steelworkers.

Although some of those workers still exist today, they are extremely overpowered by technology.

In 1960 it required 10.1 man hours to produce one ton of steel, but in 2017, it only requires 1.5 hours. Just because tariffs are being put on imported steel does not mean all the steel worker jobs are going to come back.

Farmers who export their crops, such as soybeans and corn, are also suffering due to the trade war. Tariffs that other countries are putting on American goods in response to Trump’s tariffs is making it difficult for these farmers to sell their goods internationally.

Taking the tariff home

As college students, it is hard to imagine how this trade war could affect us personally or why we should even care. Most of us are not farmers and most of us will not end up working hands-on with aluminum, but this trade war still has a major impact on us.

Boeing is the world’s largest aerospace company and leading manufacturer of commercial jetliners and defense, space and security systems and is located only 30 minutes outside of Cabrini’s campus in Ridley Park, Pa. So many local students have parents, family members or friends who work there.

Stats from statisa.com. Graphic by Hope Daluisio.

Boeing is a steel buying company who does not support the tariff on steel and aluminum. If prices get too expensive, many of those family members could lose their jobs and that Cabrini student would no longer be able to afford to continue their education.

As young adults, we go out to bars to drink out of beer cans, plan to buy new cars and rent apartments or houses. If the trade war and tariffs continue, we might not be able to afford that case of beer, buy that new car or rent that apartment because they all require heavily tariffed aluminum and steel to create.

Going into battle unarmed

It is easy to think that making imports more expensive can only be beneficial to American workers, but that is not the case. As a country, we are far beyond the point of only relying on American-made products. Most of the time, even American-made products were manufactured on imported machinery.

Although many American workers can benefit from tariffs— just as many, if not more, are harmed by it. Work they have known and mastered their entire lives is being completely rewired right in front of their eyes.

Trump’s idea of putting tariffs on imports to have other countries respect the United States is not an efficient way to prove dominance and prosperity. The trade war harms the workers, consumers and the economy, and the American lifestyle is going to quickly change for worse if it does not end soon.