It was the best of times, it was the worst of times.
That’s how it was for working Americans this week.
President Trump delivered on his promise to stop letting America play the sucker to global trade grifters.
He slapped tariffs on two Korean companies, Samsung and LG, who’ve been selling imported washing machines in the U.S. far below the actual cost of producing them.
This grants a stay of execution for Americans working at the Whirpool plant in Clyde, Ohio, whose jobs were threatened by foreign-made appliances sold below fair market value.
It was amusing to watch the media react in horror, right on cue predicting an imminent and inevitable trade war. They were apparently oblivious to the fact that in 2013 Obama’s Commerce Department imposed tariffs on these same trade cheaters for the very same reason. No forecasts of Armageddon then.
The experts – who so far have been wrong about just about everything – reached for the old chestnut that tariffs are bad, bad, bad because they mean higher prices for consumers. Did they ever stop to ask themselves how many washing machines an American household buys every year? As a percentage of the typical family’s annual budget, washing machines are right up there with the mortgage, insurance, utilities, food and transportation. Not.
These elite pundits are more than happy to pay a little more to sip “fair trade” coffee so villagers in Colombia or Sumatra can have a better life. Maybe they could extend the same compassion to the citizens of their own country and take comfort knowing that Americans in some village in Ohio will have a job and a shot at a better life rather than a welfare check and a shot of fentanyl. Think of Whirlpool’s appliances as “fair trade” washing machines – because that’s what they are.
Meanwhile, the future is not so bright for some workers in the energy sector in Pennsylvania. The largest oil refinery on the East Coast has just declared bankruptcy.
As WND has reported, the EPA requires that ethanol, a so-called renewable fuel, be blended into gasoline and other refined oil products. Giant global oil companies with the equipment to blend fuel as well as refine it can easily comply with the requirement. But small independent refiners in places like Pennsylvania and Texas lack blending facilities and are forced to buy ethanol “credits” known as RINs, or renewable identification numbers.
The price of these paper chits has soared as Wall Street traders have cornered the market. (Wall Street giant JPMorgan Chase is one of the biggest speculators in the credits.)
Now, the cost of the renewable fuel credits has driven Philadelphia Energy Solutions into bankruptcy.
Its Pennsylvania refinery employs about 1,100 people, converting some 335,000 barrels of crude oil per day to products such as gasoline, jet fuel and diesel.
Since 2012, the refiner has spent more than $800 million on credits to comply with the EPA, making it the biggest expense after crude purchases, according to the company.
Independent refiners have joined forces with the union representing their workers and conservative icon Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas, to call on the administration to fix the broken the EPA biofuels program.
Fixing the program would spur ethanol exports and maintain current levels of biofuel production. Corn farmers wouldn’t be hurt and neither would air quality.
Thousands of good-paying jobs and the nation’s independent refining capacity are at stake.
President Trump is making good on his promise to stand up for working Americans and eliminate wasteful regulations.
Reforming the biofuel program would do both at once.