The Washington PostDemocracy Dies in Darkness

Opinion GM’s plant closures are a direct result of Trump’s policies

General Motors’ Lordstown, Ohio, plant on Tuesday.
General Motors’ Lordstown, Ohio, plant on Tuesday. (John Minchillo/AP)

The announcement by General Motors to drop car lines, close plants and lay off workers is more than just a signpost of where the economy is going [“GM closing plants, laying off 15,000,” front page, Nov. 27].

GM’s decision is rational thinking in the complex world of auto manufacturing. Shareholders reward profits and those companies that respond to market forces. Investors did not see a mistaken bet. In fact, GM’s stock price rose 4.79 percent on the news.

More important, GM’s decision to drop car lines is just one more example that public-policy choices really matter for the country’s economic future. President Trump rolled back fuel economy standards. He rolled back climate change initiatives. He now has cheap fossil fuels, including at the pump. In foreign policy, he exited the Iran nuclear deal and is making a deal with the devil in Saudi Arabia to get the Saudis to pump more oil to keep prices low. The bottom line to all of Mr. Trump’s policy choices for the auto industry is a cold, wet blanket on demand for sedans. Fuel efficiency as a purchase motive is greatly reduced. 

The bottom line for the economy is that a lot of people will lose their jobs, capital investment will take a hit, and towns in Ohio and Michigan will lose a lot of tax base. Ohio and Michigan just got exactly what they deserve in voting for Mr. Trump: a transactional president, a short-term thinker, leading with an eye on the rear-view mirror, clueless about the far-reaching consequences of public-policy decisions.

Daniel Keifer, Abington, Pa.