This week, Ford Motors announced that they have lost $1 Billion in profits due to steel import tariffs. It’s no surprise that the neoliberal media immediately had a field day promoting that story. The problem is that it is a complete PR fabrication by Ford.
On a side note, I have not heard what Conservatives are saying on the matter but no doubt blaming China. That’s barely worth addressing. China is beating us at business using our own tactics. It’s that simple. The difference is that they’re not trying to enforce economic superiority with militaristic threats while we are doing exactly that.
Back to the subject- There are specific aspects of this issue that the media does not address. Notice they make absolutely no mention of how much money Ford made from the bipartisan tax cut handed to them?
The media also does not mention that Ford bought back over 116 million shares of their own stock in recent years. I wonder how much money corporate executives pocketed from that?
The media barely spends 0.5 seconds mentioning that Ford has outsourced huge portions of production to other countries, including China, which very much leads them into this position.
The media intentionally absolutely obscures the fact that it is not Ford who will be affected by the increased cost of steel. It is consumers who will be affected due to the cost of increased vehicle prices. Including for used vehicles. When new vehicles increase in price, so does the price of used vehicles. Ford is not being specifically targeted by increased steel prices. Those increases are across the board for all vehicle manufacturers, so vehicle prices as a whole increase. If Ford vehicle increase by $1000, so does Chevy, so does Hyundai, so does every other vehicle line in production, so it has zero effect on competitive pricing.
Yet none of the above is the biggest deception Ford is attempting to pull off. The biggest lie they are telling is the claim that they just suddenly made this decision due to tariffs. The truth is that this has been planned for a long time, probably years. The evidence for this is in the specific details they offer regarding the decision.
First, they claim they lost $1 Billion. Yet this led them to a decision to enact a corporate restructuring plan that will cost the company over $25 billion. Tell me, if you lost $100 in revenue, would you spend $2500 trying to regain it? That makes no sense at all to anyone who bothers thinking logically.
Then we have to consider just how specific that quote is. Why $25.5 Billion? Because they have already looked at the specifics involved in such a decision. Restructuring a manufacturing business spread across multiple continents is no small task. It is something which takes a lot of research, planning and calculating to achieve. For one thing, you would want to make sure the money you spend restructuring does not cost more than you save. The whole point they are trying to achieve is maintaining a certain profit level or increasing that profit margin.
Logistics. No real details yet have emerged that I have heard on their plans. However, any route they take toward restructuring requires considerable logistical planning:
Retooling. If they choose to retool existing factories, that will require reduced or suspended manufacturing while doing so. Meaning reduced or suspended profits due to decreased production during that time. Considering this would require customized equipment and supplies for the purpose, that does not happen quickly.
Relocating. If they choose to move manufacturing to another country, that means they have already examined the necessary resources necessary to do this. Even if it is in a country and location they already produce vehicles, it requires examining space requirements. Can they expand the existing location? Is there sufficient work force available with the desired skills? What about resources like water? Waste facilities and methods? Transportation for raw and premade materials coming in, finished vehicles going out? Does any of this require updated trade agreements with host countries and localities? All of this has already been examined.
In the event they are moving manufacturing to an entirely new location, then it would require all the above plus knowing if they would even be welcome in the new location at all. Plus if there would be any increased cost of doing business there.
Do you recall when Tesla was looking for a location for their Gigafactory? Or when Amazon was scouting a location for a new headquarters? Those decisions did not happen overnight, they took many months to determine. And that was after any necessary determination that the expense and effort was necessary and/or profitable, which took more months before any announcement was released to the public.
Like I said, Ford is not alone. Earlier this year Harley-Davidson made the announcement that they were closing a plant in the US and moving to Thailand. They had already scouted and negotiated a location and specifics of that move before any public announcement, then claimed the decision was made due to tariffs seemingly hours after tariffs were announced.
Recently Carrier HVAC announced they are moving manufacturing to Mexico. Once again, claiming this was due to trade rules set in place.
In none of these cases has the media bothered asking the relevant questions or discussing what is involved with business experts with experience in such decisions, unless to create a specific narrative.
None of this means I in any way support Trump’s despicable trade policies. I’ve pointed out on numerous occasions how damaging trickled-on economics are and have always been. How corporate profits are destroying this country.
As disgusting as it may sound, I have to admit there is a part of me that rejoices at these things happening. Simply by virtue of the fact that they serve to more clearly illustrate exactly how and why corporate-leaning government policies truly are. In a time when Americans are struggling to survive, wages are stagnant or declining, businesses are closing in record numbers, corporations are claiming record profits. From where? When you have less money in your wallet, your benefits cost more than ever or no longer exist, how are they making such outrageous profits? Why has the stock market been at record highs? Is your retirement account worth far more than it was a few years ago? Has your income increased as a result of government policies? Or simply because you are working more and getting less?
Americans need to get it in their heads once and for all that corporations have no loyalty to them, this country or humanity. WAR Street and our elected officials beholden to them do not in any way represent our interests or concerns. Anyone that is not part of the 0.1% yet supports their agenda is nothing but a slave and a puppet. They have been bought, bribed or indoctrinated, possibly all the above.
There is only one sure method in which we can overcome this system. A grass roots movement for elections funded through taxes. ALL elections, bottom to top. Equal funding and ballot access for the top 3–4 parties, not two. Ranked choice voting with paper trails. End gerrymandering.
Then we can work on making lobbying a criminal offense for lobbyist and lobbied official with mandatory prison time for each. Never allowed to hold elected office again.
Only then can we expect to have a truly representative government for the first time in the history of this country.