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Thread: U.S, Steel Plants Closed To Facilitate Theft Of Pension Funds

  1. #21
    the "good" prag pragmatic's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Madeline View Post
    "Bad corporate management" sounds as if the CEO's were buying company planes.

    Everyone from the local newspaper editor to the guys who pick up my trash has a theory as to what killed American steel companies. "High labor costs", and hell yes, these were well-paid jobs with great benefits. But American workers should not have to accept the level of wages (and no benefits) that Chinese companies "pay" their enslaved workers.

    (Maybe tariffs on the Chinese steel would help....??)
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  2. #22
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    Quote Originally Posted by excalibur View Post
    Yeah, let 's divert this to Romney. LOL


    From the OP:

    [b]
    Notice they ignore the Unions inflating wages and pensions and health benefits

  3. #23
    New Member BigBob's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Madeline View Post
    No, it won't. Those men are grief-stricken still, all these years later, not just about losing their jobs but about losing their identities. Many, maybe most, were 3rd or 4th generation steel workers. They were HUGELY proud they did very tough, tough jobs in dangerous and hellacious conditions.

    There will be NO shortage of job applicants, and a decent percent of them will have experience.

    One of my friends up here worked in a steel mill in Elyria, no union, no idea if the job was permanent, about 10 years ago, and he was a disabled 55 year old then. If that job was still there, he'd have worked it until it killed him.

    Possibly literally.
    My kids in Pittsburgh say the opposite for their area in Pennsylvania.
    Thanks from Madeline

  4. #24
    Veteran Member Madeline's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by OldGaffer View Post
    Romney had looting pension funds down to an art form.

    Romney was never in Michael Milken's class. Or Carl Icahn's, or T. Boone Pickens, etc. He was
    engaged in a career our economy needs and we all respect, which had gone INSANE and mostly still is. How was Romney to find the "moral high ground" at work in the midst of that orgy of greed?

    I chose not to practice tax law, after getting my Ll.M. in it, in the 1980's. It was such fun to study; like doing these weird brain teasers all day. But school and real life were shockingly different for me. Six months after I started working as a tax lawyer, I knew I couldn't help rich people fuck over everyone else for the next 30 years without punching them all in the throat. So I went to work for the government, creating justice for victims of rich people who had conned them out of their money. (It's true what the bible says about a camel passing through the eye of a needle.)

    But Romney didn't have that choice. There was no hedge fund with only poor people as investors. He would have had to walk away from investment banking altogether to escape his moral ambiguity. Go buy a few goats and a log cabin in Kentucky, maybe. IDK.

    My lovely, kind, ethical brother has been in banking since the Savings & Loan Scandal, of the 1970's. Remember that? That was where these S&L owners sold worthless promises to pay in future to the working man and the elderly. People believed these "CD's" were backed by the FDIC, and they were meant to. Meanwhile, there was never any intent to pay, and millions had their lives ruined. Because, of course, these "CD's" were never guaranteed. Some were just incredible, promising interest at rates like 29%. OF COURSE unsophisticated customers bought them, especially from their "family banker".

    (My brother refused at the time to ever sell one to any customer.)

    I cannot agree that his interest in money makes Romney EBIL. But then, it certainly did do that to Icahn.....or Icahn was already EBIL? The motives of humans are probably irrelevant. Reagan signaled the Anti-trust laws and other important SEC protections would no longer be enforced. And these Vampire Capitalists emerged to prey on us all.

    A trend that has not been reversed since. It is the centerpiece of the American Progressive movement, to make those vital reforms. Capitalism can be a horrible thing, without limits VIGOROUSLY defended by our government.

    Human greed is an incredible, destructive force.
    Last edited by Madeline; 4th March 2018 at 02:57 PM.

  5. #25
    Veteran Member Eve1's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Madeline View Post


    The public's perception is that very high labor costs forced the U.S. steel industry to collapse, but that is only one part of a more complex scenario. The owners of companies were unjustly enriched -- some would say engorged -- by cash on deposit inside pension trust funds for the benefit of retirees and workers, which may have been as much as $15 billion in total. Laws in place to prevent this kind of theft proved to be inadequate, especially in the face of failure to investigate and prosecute on the part of the DOJ, under Dubya and then Obama.

    These articles linked below give a snapshot view of this.

    This bit of history matters because the thieves have already made off with the loot. The profits from closing U.S. steel companies has been harvested. The public needs to adjust its views as to the viability of this industry in the U.S. accordingly; the companies are no longer Al Baba's Cave.

    Whether new owners or the old owners, reorganized, can make a profit now, with help from Trump's tariff's or other protection from cheap imported steel cannot be evaluated without all the "dark money" and moving parts laid bare.



    Whoops! There Goes Another Pension Plan - The New York Times
    Until and unless the US dollar comes down in value nobody but the US will be buying US steel and only because tariffs make them equal to other steel from other countries but only in the USA. Putting tariffs on everybody elses steel coming in will result in only the US paying for Steel. Other countries will be getting their steel from countries like Canada and China and because they will be paying less for the raw material of steel their goods will be cheaper. I fail to see how this helps US business. The days of doing business only in the US are dead. You have to be able to compete globally. If the price to manufacturing yours goods is $10 a unit but everywhere else's price of manufacturing goods is $8 a unit the US is going to lose market share around the world. What happens? Even more jobs being moved to where the price to manfuturing is lower.

    PS Trump's new tax plan makes it easier to move money not only into the US but out of it !!!

  6. #26
    Veteran Member Eve1's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by pragmatic View Post
    (Maybe tariffs on the Chinese steel would help....??)
    Chinese steel accounts for 2% of the US steel used in the USA. They produce steel for themselves and the rest of the world at a rate of 50% of the world supply purposely over producing about 7% of demand to keep prices low. China produces more steel in one month than the USA does in an entire year. It's the US dollar that loses USA steel's market share in North America and Europe. Its far cheaper to buy more from places where your dollar goes further. Simple.

    I have 1 American dollar and in Canada I can buy $1.30 worth of steel. I have 1 American dollar and in Russia I can buy $1.63 in steel. Why in the world if I have a factory anywhere in the world would I buy US steel?
    Last edited by Eve1; 4th March 2018 at 03:21 PM.

  7. #27
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    Quote Originally Posted by Eve1 View Post
    Chinese steel accounts for 2% of the US steel used in the USA. They produce steel for themselves and the rest of the world at a rate of 50% of the world supply purposely over producing about 7% of demand to keep prices low. China produces more steel in one month than the USA does in an entire year. It's the US dollar that loses USA steel's market share in North America and Europe. Its far cheaper to buy more from places where your dollar goes further. Simple.

    I have 1 American dollar and in Canada I can buy $1.30 worth of steel. I have 1 American dollar and in Russia I can buy $1.63 in steel. Why in the world if I have a factory anywhere in the world would I buy US steel?
    You show why we need tarriffs

  8. #28
    Veteran Member Madeline's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Eve1 View Post
    Until and unless the US dollar comes down in value nobody but the US will be buying US steel.
    And....? Why shouldn't we buy American?

    ......and only because tariffs make them equal to other steel from other countries but only in the USA.
    Yes, that's the general idea.

    Putting tariffs on everybody elses steel coming in will result in only the US paying for Steel.
    Kindly expand this thought. You can't be suggesting that other nations will stop consuming steel. Make their refrigerators, etc., out of some alternative metal?

    Other countries will be getting their steel from countries like Canada and China and because they will be paying less for the raw material of steel their goods will be cheaper.
    @Eve1, all due respect.

    No.

    I fail to see how this helps US business.
    The tariff is meant to benefit U.S. WORKERS. I think the scenario you suggest is preposterous.

    The days of doing business only in the US are dead. You have to be able to compete globally.
    Why? If I invent a new type of widget that, when used, keeps trespassers off your lawn, and you buy it, where's the fatal flaw in my business plan? My company is doomed to fail, in your view, as long as I fail to export any of my magic widgets?

    If the price to manufacturing yours goods is $10 a unit but everywhere else's price of manufacturing goods is $8 a unit the US is going to lose market share around the world.
    Japan has a healthy steel industry. Why is that a success America cannot replicate?

    Where's the harm in trying? The harm to American WORKERS, I mean?

    What happens? Even more jobs being moved to where the price to manfuturing is lower.
    There's no way to fall off the floor. Chinese retaliation is worth anticipating, but they can't harm our heavy manufacturing sector, because the U.S. no longer has one.

    Which is the specific harm this proposed tariff is meant to reverse. The reversal of that trend is good for AMERICAN workers. It's good for workers everywhere, even in China.

    PS Trump's new tax plan makes it easier to move money not only into the US but out of it !!!
    There's no border patrol for money. Leaving aside criminal activity, you can predict whether a policy being suggested is good for ANY set of workers, in any nation.

    A rising tide lifts all boats.

    Money will go where capitalists think profits will be maximized, as always. The tariff might -- might! -- level the playing field with a nation where workers start at age 5, work until they die, and suffer on the job injuries of a horrific type between times.

    Have you, by any chance, heard of the 1984 explosion at the Union Carbide India Limited Company, killing 25,000 people?

    Twenty five thousand! It's the worst industrial accident in human history.

    Guess how much Union Carbide has paid, over the years, in damages to the victims' families?

    Nothing. Not a dime. Even though there's no question, the managers there allowed such negligent handling of raw ingredients, the explosion was bound to happen.

    Guess how much reform of India's workplace safety laws this horror show inspired?

    None.

    Guess how much Union Carbide has paid since 1984 to clear up the environmental damage?

    Not one thin dime.

    (I can't link to a news report if this event, but the Wikipedia article is sufficient for the sake of this thread.)

    Yes, absolutely, American WORKERS are more expensive, and labor is by far and away the chief determinate of the cost of steel.

    We don't have to send out kindergarteners into factories to commence their working lives in order to compete with China.

    Instead, we can try to box China in to such an extent, they have NO choice but to pay their workers better, etc. We can make the practice of using, abusing and discarding slaves UNPROFITABLE for China.

    Maybe. It's the ONLY moral choice, going forward, and we should at least TRY.

    It's possible to succeed on the strength that America makes the best steel, because we do/did. We fucking INVENTED industrial steelmaking.

    We don't have to aim to take the market share we had in the 1950's. Even a niche market toehold will bless my community, and given what you claim are your values, you should WANT to help us.

    China's horrific treatment of Chinese workers is no good for the third world, and it's no good for the first world.

    What worries me is, you seem downright hostile to American steelworkers. You also appear to be repeating the palavar being spoken by corporate Democrats in Congress, who are OBVIOUSLY fighting to protect the obscene levels of profit now enjoyed by the 0.01%, worldwide.

    And, wit all due respect, you don't seem to have invested any time learning and forming your own POV on this. Just following Pelosi and HuffPo, like a brainwashed cult member.

    Why is that, madam?

    For the 4 years I have belonged to PH, only a handful of members demonstrated any real facility with the science of economics. I certainly disclaim any. I would say you never felt you were ready to run the Treasury Deprtment, either.

    But less than 24 hours after Trump proposes a tariff, you have a well researched, thoughtful opinion about it? That just coincidentally mirrors Pelosi's?

    I gently, kindly suggest, you are a victim of propaganda, madam. IDC if you never agree with me on tariffs.

    But I do care whether you are willing to shout abuse at me AND refuse to even ask me questions as to why I see things differently.

    It's great to have firm opinions. It's not great to have a corporate Democrat tell you what your firm opinions are to be.
    Last edited by Madeline; 9th March 2018 at 03:39 AM.
    Thanks from pragmatic

  9. #29
    Ignorance Is Virtue BitterPill's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Madeline View Post


    The public's perception is that very high labor costs forced the U.S. steel industry to collapse, but that is only one part of a more complex scenario. The owners of companies were unjustly enriched -- some would say engorged -- by cash on deposit inside pension trust funds for the benefit of retirees and workers, which may have been as much as $15 billion in total. Laws in place to prevent this kind of theft proved to be inadequate, especially in the face of failure to investigate and prosecute on the part of the DOJ, under Dubya and then Obama.

    These articles linked below give a snapshot view of this.

    This bit of history matters because the thieves have already made off with the loot. The profits from closing U.S. steel companies has been harvested. The public needs to adjust its views as to the viability of this industry in the U.S. accordingly; the companies are no longer Al Baba's Cave.

    Whether new owners or the old owners, reorganized, can make a profit now, with help from Trump's tariff's or other protection from cheap imported steel cannot be evaluated without all the "dark money" and moving parts laid bare.



    Whoops! There Goes Another Pension Plan - The New York Times
    It is curious American steel companies can't seem to compete with Canadian steel companies, but I suspect I know one reason. Canadian steel companies don't have to pay for their employees' healthcare.
    Thanks from Madeline

  10. #30
    Veteran Member Madeline's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by labrea View Post
    He's a looter.
    That's a value judgment. Romney rationally sought profit by all legal means, which he had a fiduciary duty to his clients to do.

    One of my favorite daydreams is, I become a mob lawyer. (Doubtless, IRL this would be horrible, but hey. It's my fantasy!)

    My clients are despicable, horrible thugs. The worst of the worst, BUT as long as I'm their lawyer, I owe them everything I can legally do to protect them and advance their interests.

    IME, rich people are as morally repugnant as the Meyer Lansky gang ever was -- and I think Lansky had JFK killed.

    If Romney had promised to try to maximize a client's earnings and then did not, because that profit was not made "nicely enough", Romney would have been ethically, civilly and criminally liable for that breach of duty.

    Being a handmaiden to the 0.01% is a dirty job, but Romney could not change that.
    Last edited by Madeline; 9th March 2018 at 03:58 AM.

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