Today's edict came out at 6am with President Trump tweetcreeing that autos shall henceforth be manufactured in these United States. Once upon a time, we did manufacture cars in the United States and all those companies went broke or got massive Government bailouts at some point. In fact, the Federal Government took over GM and Chrysler in 2009, firing CEO Rick Wagoner and forcing a merger with Fiat after putting in $80.7Bn to sweeten the pot. The government ended up getting back all but $9.2Bn and managed to save Millions of jobs – ironically over the total objection of the GOP.
Ford got a $9Bn line of credit and a $5.9Bn loan in exchange for pledging to spend $14Bn developing battery-powered and hybrid cars and more millions of jobs were saved without telling them where or how they had to make those cars. Donald Trump met with Elon Musk yesterday, who does build his cars in the US but Tesla (TSLA) has LOST over $3Bn since 2010 and has no prospects of making a profit this year or next.
So, is Trump trying to finish the job and finally destroy the US auto industry or did Musk simply convince Trump to help him destroy his competition? The way to make America great again is not to forcibly prop up dying industries but to spur investment in the growing industries of the future – the way we did under Clinton when Silicon Valley and the chip industry became a thing.
And Musk is the worst possible example of American manufacturing because his cars are primarily built by ROBOTS, not humans – something Tesla is very proud of in their promotional footage – does Trump not know this? Tesla only has 13,000 employees who made 50,000 cars last year, if this is the Future of the Auto Industry then it's a very bleak one for American workers. Perhaps instead of forcing manufacturers to move back to the US, we should invest in companies that make the robots? Oops, that's already a fail as TSLA just bough a German automation company – now those guys are on the ball!