Richard Trumka: The Politicians Screaming About a Trade War Are Beholden to Wall Street

Wall Street’s hair is on fire about steel and aluminum tariffs imposed by President Trump, because closing mills and factories in the United States and moving them overseas is how investors enrich themselves.

And those wealthy investors reap even fatter profits when offshore mills and factories violate trade laws. Wall Street doesn’t care about the social and economic costs of unfair trade, because working people and our communities pay the price.

 

We care about working people and our jobs, and we care about holding bad actors accountable. That’s why the AFL-CIO has consistently made the case for the use of tariffs to crack down on trade law violations. In the case of steel and aluminum, it’s not just about unfair trade practices, it’s also about national security.

This isn’t about Trump. And it certainly isn’t about partisan politics. Many in both parties have failed working people on the issue of trade. The politicians who are screaming about a trade war have one thing in common: They are beholden to Wall Street.

The real trade war is being waged directly on working people — our jobs, our communities, our way of life. We’ve been getting our butts kicked for decades because the rules allow global companies to profit at our expense rather letting us rise together. It’s a rigged game. Just take a drive through my small coal-mining town in southwestern Pennsylvania if you want proof.

When American workers compete on a level playing field, we win. Tariffs are one important step to help us do exactly that.

How does that work? To understand, you first have to recognize these basic facts:

Read the full op-ed in the Washington Post.

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