By Evan Henerson
Earlier this week, during the charade that was "Made in America Week," the White House held a product expo during which it showcased signature homegrown items manufactured in each of the 50 states. So you had Koloa Rum from Hawaii, Caterpillar excavators from Illinois, Heath Crab Pots for Maryland and on down the line. The president wore a Texas-made Stetson. The full list is here.
We know you’re wondering about Wisconsin (aren’t we all?). Their entry was state of the art firetrucks manufactured by Pierce Manufacturing. They might have brought out a Harley-Davidson motorcycle for MIA booster Trump to sit atop and gun, but if they had, it would have been just a bit awkward.
Oh, Trump likes Harleys and proudly boasts of the company’s All-American pedigree. Trouble is, in a bit of not so delicious irony, news came down this week that Harley Davidson would be eliminating a bunch of manufacturing jobs at its Milwaukee-area and Kansas City plants, laying off about 180 workers. Oh, and they’re building a plant in Thailand.
And how was your Made in America week, everyone?
Here’s United Steelworkers District 2 director Mike Bolton, speaking to the Milwaukee Business Journal:
"Not long ago, President Trump hailed this company as a model of American manufacturing. Shortly thereafter, management announced plans to open production facilities in Thailand. Now we get word that 180 hard-working Americans will be [losing] their jobs.”
And here’s the USW’s statement re: the Thailand offshoring:
“Offshoring production is the wrong path to prosperity. It puts in jeopardy the success that has propelled Harley over the years: It is a brand of excellence that enables riders to confidently know that they are joining a special community of enthusiasts. Harley-Davidson should abandon their offshoring plans and expand their operations here in America.”
Granted, it’s not Trump’s fault that people aren’t buying Harleys fast enough to keep the plant at full capacity. Second quarter sales and shipping orders are down and the article notes that rider growth for motorcycling is flatlining, particularly with millennials.
Trump did meet with Harley officials shortly after his inauguration. The company expected a sales bump in the wake of his election and accompanying “America-first” rhetoric.
That didn’t happen, according to AB research:
“With unrelenting gridlock in Washington, the analyst doubts the new administration’s ability to advance on infrastructure spending, middle-class tax cuts or corporate tax cuts.”
Read the full article here.