The Spark

“The emancipation of the working class will only be achieved by the working class itself.” — Karl Marx

Trump’s Auto Tariffs:
More Smoke and Mirrors

May 28, 2018

Donald Trump instructed Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross to “investigate” whether auto imports represent a “national security threat,” and hinted he would protect “the great American autoworker” by putting tariffs on imported cars and car parts.

A Trump administration official said the move was aimed at forcing Canada and Mexico to give up concessions in talks over NAFTA. But that’s baloney.

Trump has no actual intention of upsetting the multinational supply chain that his fellow parasites and profiteers in the auto industry depend on.

By making headlines in this spectacular way, Trump only aims to rally working class voters to his side – voters he is expected to deliver to the Republicans in the next election.

Trump is trying to take advantage of an old lie, told for years to U.S. workers: the lie that we are losing jobs to other countries, because workers in other countries will work for less.

This is only a small much-exaggerated part of a far larger hushed-up problem. The big job cuts are made right here in the USA. Bosses right here are forcing workers to work harder, longer, and faster. One worker does what three or four used to do.

Auto production in the U.S. has actually increased, while companies get that high output using fewer and fewer workers. In 2005, about 16 million vehicles were built in the U.S. In 2014, after the deep recession, production again reached 16 million – but with 100,000 fewer workers employed!

Trump can hope for some success in using his lie, because for decades, Republican and Democratic politicians alike, as well as the main leaders of U.S. unions, have pushed that same big lie. Even Democrat Bernie Sanders, who claims to be a socialist, made the same kind of anti-free trade appeal as Trump in his last campaign. And UAW President Dennis Williams came out in support of Trump following the announcement, saying “The American workers have been handed a short stick for a long time.”

Now that part is the truth. American workers have been handed the short end of the stick, for a long time. But it’s because of the bosses right here who exploit us, overwork us, underpay us, and then lie to us about why it is happening. And if workers’ leaders repeat that lie, they are standing in our way.