America’s Biggest Nail Producer Is Getting Hammered By Trump Tariffs

Where did these nails come from? Are they all-American nails from Poplar Bluff, Missouri? Or communist nails from mainland China?Image Source/ZUMAPRESS

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Will the United States win its trade war with the rest of the world? Maybe, but there will be collateral damage in the meantime:

Mid-Continent Nail of Poplar Bluff, Mo., the largest U.S. nail manufacturer, cut 60 jobs on June 15 and plans to lay off an additional 200 workers in a few days, citing plummeting sales following the imposition of Trump’s metals tariffs….Mid-Continent Nail imports from Mexico most of the metal wire it uses to make nails. By driving up the company’s costs, Trump’s tariffs are making it nearly impossible for the 500-worker company to compete with cheap nails from China, [George Skarich, vice president of sales and marketing] said.

“The Chinese get a pass and we pay a price,” said Skarich. “Trump ran on jobs and making America great again, but he is making a decision that may help big steel, but it hurts downstream businesses like ours who employ a heck of a lot more people than steel does.”

“We didn’t see this coming,” says Skarich, echoing the words of farmers losing sales to Mexico, people in Kentucky losing access to Obamacare, working-class white folks losing their food stamps, and Harley-Davidson, which is moving some of its production offshore thanks to retaliation against Trump’s steel tariffs. And that’s just the start.

I’ll repeat my usual refrain here: Republicans can put a stop to this any time they want. But they won’t, even though they support free trade. This is how much they’re in thrall to Donald Trump. They won’t buck him even when (a) they disagree with him, (b) most of the public disagrees with him, and (c) his policies are causing pain to their own constituents. It kinda makes you wonder what the point of even having a Republican Party is these days.

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DEMOCRACY DOES NOT EXIST...

without free and fair elections, a vigorous free press, and engaged citizens to reclaim power from those who abuse it.

In this election year unlike any other—against a backdrop of a pandemic, an economic crisis, racial reckoning, and so much daily bluster—Mother Jones' journalism is driven by one simple question: Will America move closer to, or further from, justice and equity in the years to come?

If you're able to, please join us in this mission with a donation today. Our reporting right now is focused on voting rights and election security, corruption, disinformation, racial and gender equity, and the climate crisis. We can’t do it without the support of readers like you, and we need to give it everything we've got between now and November. Thank you.

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