Friday, December 23, 2016

"I worked very hard with Bill Ford to keep the Lincoln plant in Kentucky."

Promising on Thursday to start a political blog on Friday is unwise. Yes, I see the irony and potential hypocrisy; at 2:15 a.m. they shine like beacons through the fog of an impending all-nighter.

Let's not waste any time.

Today marks the beginning of the one-month countdown to Trump's star-studded inauguration, and several of his campaign promises have already approached (or even passed) their reckoning with reality.

5. Tell Ford’s president that unless he cancels plans to build a massive plant in Mexico, the auto company will face a 35 percent tax on cars imported into the United States. Trump is confident he can get this done before taking office.
Mission accomplished, kind of, but not by Trump. He just found a way to take credit... likely not for the last time.
Production of the (relatively unpopular) Lincoln MKC, which Ford had been planning to relocate to Mexico, remains at the Louisville Assembly Plant. However, the company planned all along to compensate for its relocation by increasing Louisville's production of (better-selling) Escapes. There was no intention to close the Louisville Assembly Plant or send Kentuckian jobs to Mexico. 
On December 4th, Trump tweeted: "There will be a tax on our soon to be strong border of 35 percent for these companies" that outsource production of goods sold in the US. This threat doesn't seem to bother Ford, which still plans to move production of the Focus from Michigan to Mexico. (No US jobs will be lost; Ford plans to replace the Focus in Michigan with two new products.)
That being said, Ford expressed its confidence in Trump's economic plans -- especially those to strengthen currency-manipulation rules, weaken fuel-economy standards, cut corporate tax rates and broadly deregulate the automotive industry -- which could encourage the company and its peers to work with him on keeping operations at home. 
Perhaps the most disturbing aspect of these so-called negotiations is these companies' willingness to put up with Trump's taking credit for saving jobs that were never on the chopping block, because they're so enthusiastic about his plans to deregulate the auto industry -- i.e. cripple the EPA under Myron Ebell -- and court environmental catastrophe. 
Not to be dramatic about it, or anything.
What can we do?
Be proactive in your support of environmental advocacy organizations in the US. If you have money to spare, consider donating to the League of Conservation Voters, the Sierra Club, the National Resources Defense CouncilEarthjustice, and/or the Climate Science Legal Defense Fund. If giving time is more your style, there are great calls to action from SafecastNextGen Climate Action, and Earthjustice, among others.

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