Middle-class Americans whose livelihoods have been thrown off course after being laid off by General Motors (GM) in Lordstown, Ohio, are fed up with the country’s political and business ruling class in Washington, DC.
For months, the community of Lordstown has had to grapple with GM closing the region’s assembly plant, which has resulted in the immediate layoff of about 1,600 American workers, and since 2017, GM has laid off about 4,500 American workers in Ohio.
The GM plant closure is also expected to leave more than 8,000 American workers jobless in and around Lordstown as well as cut out about $8 billion in economic activity in the area. Already, more than 900 workers in supporting industries have been put out of work.
At the same time, GM has announced that it will manufacture a slew of new vehicles in South Korea, while GM CEO Mary Barra still plans on idling three other American manufacturing plants — two in Michigan and one in Maryland.
Curtis Ellis: "We’ve put out the globalist welcome mat … and just let these transnational corporations take advantage of the American people." https://t.co/mzKHzPh2zX
— John Binder 👽 (@JxhnBinder) June 1, 2019
Laid off Americans in Lordstown, in interviews with the New York Times, expressed frustration and disdain for the country’s political and business elite, the ruling class that they say has ignored them for decades as free trade deals have gutted the middle class and allowed multinational corporations to send high-paying manufacturing jobs to China and Mexico in order to boost profits and cut costs.
Rick Marsh, who was laid off this year after working at GM’s Lordstown plant for 25 years and whose father had also worked at the plant, told the Times he voted for President Donald Trump after years of voting for Democrats, hoping the economic nationalist president would protect U.S. jobs and industries.
Today, Marsh suggested that he and the other middle-class Americans like him are more disenfranchised than ever.
“To me, it’s another flagrant sign that these people, they really don’t have a clue,” Marsh told the Times of the country’s ruling class. “They are so out of touch with reality and real people. All of them.”
Shawn Wodogaza, a recently laid off Lordstown GM worker, told the Times he voted for Trump as well but that he is lost politically; he and others feel that the plight of the middle class is lost on the country’s elected political establishments and certainly corporate executives.
“I don’t know where to go,” Wodogaza said in an interview with the Times.
“Well, now what? What the heck do we do? Do we go back to beating our heads against the wall? Or do we try something different?” Wodogaza continued.
Barra’s closing of GM’s Lordstown plant harks back to a nightmarish time for the country’s working and middle class in the late 1990s when the free trade deal known as NAFTA — supported by the Republican and Democrat political establishments and continues to be supported by Joe Biden — gutted coveted high-paying U.S. jobs and sent them to Mexico.
Marsh told the Times he is now living through that same hellish nightmare that his father did when NAFTA eliminated millions of U.S. jobs leaving nearly 50,000 American manufacturing plants closed.
“It’s literally in your face — the decline of manufacturing. You can work where I work and watch it,” Marsh said.
NAFTA, Marsh said, was when his understanding of politics changed — that the dichotomy was not so much Republicans vs. Democrats but rather the ruling elite vs. ordinary Americans. He told the Times:
“That’s when I realized these parties were not so different,” he said. “They are all there to make money on our backs.” [Emphasis added]
“Nobody had our backs in office, not Democrats or Republicans,” he said. “I’m tired of being sugarcoated and being robbed in the process.” [Emphasis added]
Barra blamed the United Auto Workers (UAW) for the Lordstown plant closure, though, as Breitbart News has reported, records indicate that union workers were prepared to accept nearly $120 million in annual concessions to keep the plant open. Barra, nonetheless, announced she would close the plant and has continued earning $22 million a year.
Experts have called on Trump to implement a 25 percent auto tariff to protect American auto worker jobs and the U.S. auto industry from Chinese domination. Likewise, Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT), vying for the Democrat nomination for president, has told Trump to immediately ban GM from receiving federal contracts due to their outsourcing, offshoring, and mass layoff scheme.
GM is also looking to manufacture an electric Cadillac in China and continue manufacturing its Envision compact vehicle in China. The made-in-Mexico Chevrolet Blazer will soon arrive in U.S. markets. Last year, GM became the largest automaker in Mexico, as it has cut jobs in America and increased production in Mexico.
American manufacturing is vital to the U.S. economy, as every one manufacturing job supports an additional 7.4 American jobs in other industries. Decades of free trade, with deals like the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA), have eliminated nearly five million manufacturing jobs from the American economy and resulted in the closure of about 50,000 manufacturing plants.
John Binder is a reporter for Breitbart News. Follow him on Twitter at @JxhnBinder.