More Wishful Thinking

Those Rust Belt workers who voted for Trump thinking he’d have their interests at heart might want to look more closely at Wilbur Ross, Trump’s nominee for Commerce Secretary.  Ross, like Trump — although more successfully than Trump — is a king of bankruptcy, taking faltering companies for pennies on the dollar, restructuring them [think dumping workers and pension obligations], then selling them for huge profit.

His biggest score came in the steel industry. In 2002, he was the only bidder for LTV, a Cleveland-based steel business that was liquidating. He created International Steel Group and bought the bones of LTV for $325 million. Before he knew it, demand for American-made steel was white-hot thanks to the U.S. auto industry, increasing demand from China and tariffs of 30 percent that President George W. Bush slapped on imported steel. He then bought Bethlehem Steel out of bankruptcy (and after it had legally dumped its workers’ pension obligations), negotiated a new, albeit parsimonious contract with the steelworkers, and then took ISG public in December 2003. In 2004, he sold ISG to AccelorMittal, a giant Indian steel conglomerate, for $4.5 billion. He made 14 times his money in two years. That’s a real grand slam, even by boastful Wall Street standards.”

I think Trump’s election is going to go down in history as a triumph of wishful thinking. This new team in the White House is a lot of things, but champions of the working class they are not.

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