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Hullabaloo


Sunday, July 22, 2018

 
Heartland exports in Pence country

by digby




They have a problem:

One company and one family loom large over this city, intertwined for decades. Cummins Inc. is the biggest employer in Columbus, built into a $20 billion heavy equipment manufacturer with the help of Mike Pence, who as governor passed pro-business tax cuts and made trade visits to China on its behalf.

Pence’s older brother Edward joined Cummins after graduating from college and worked there for four decades, running one of its most lucrative engine plants before retiring last December. A second brother, Greg, is running for the 6th congressional district seat and visited Cummins during a recent campaign stop.

But the alliance of the past is being threatened by the administration Mike Pence now serves, as President Trump’s trade war with multiple nations clobbers Cummins and other local companies.

According to the Brookings Institution, the Columbus area is the most export-reliant region in the country, with just over half of its economic output linked to foreign purchases.

“I’m very worried,” said Tom Linebarger, the chief executive of Cummins, who met with President Trump over dinner at the White House in January in a bid to dissuade him from introducing steel and aluminum tariffs or tearing up free trade agreements.

Linebarger, 55, warns of job losses ahead because thousands of jobs at Cummins and elsewhere in the area depend on trade.

“We will do everything we can to mitigate . . . the impact to jobs,” he said. “It’s very clear, though, that we’re not going to be able to mitigate everything.”

Pence’s hometown oozes internationalism: 40 foreign companies have a presence, more than half of them Japanese engines and auto-parts plants, employing almost 10,000 people. The area’s schools collectively speak 51 languages. The city ranks second in the nation in the per capita percentage of H-1B visas for foreign workers.

Cummins plants produced the drill that powered the famous rescue of Chilean miners in 2010 and the emergency generator at the Statue of Liberty.

Now the aggressive pursuit of foreign trade that made this city a recession-busting economic miracle has made it decidedly vulnerable, with businesses already canceling projects and mulling the depth of job losses.

Those are human beings, many of whom voted for Trump. I guess they don't mind being human sacrifices for an unfit demagogue. I wonder how long that will last.

Meanwhile, here's the very stable genius on that subject:

President Donald Trump said the stock market rally since his election victory gives him the opportunity to be more aggressive in his trade war with China and other countries.

“This is the time. You know the expression we’re playing with the bank’s money,” he told CNBC's Joe Kernen in a “Squawk Box” interview aired Friday.

I hope all those Trump voting Indianans know that Trump considers them "the bank." And that he's playing with their money...

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