Memo from the Midwest: Industry and Agriculture under Trump

Well, over the past year, employment growth has been pretty lackluster in the Midwestern states that Trump was going to revive in terms of manufacturing … and in terms of agriculture…

Source: BLS, August employment release.

The national growth rate is 1.38%. Minnesota, Wisconsin, Michigan, Indiana, Ohio and Pennsylvania have experienced relatively slow (below mean) nonfarm payroll employment growth.

It’s of interest to note that the top six soybean producing states are Iowa, Illinois, Minnesota, Nebraska, Indiana and Ohio



29 thoughts on “Memo from the Midwest: Industry and Agriculture under Trump

  1. Moses Herzog

    Lots of different things and “political “slants” enter the mind while reading this. One random one. What if a candidate such as a a Tulsi Gabbard (it could be anyone really) took a large white board, or whatever, those things are called they use the wipeable ink marker on. Or hell, one of those stupid PowerPoint things. Whatever the hell…. And did a Ross Perot type explanation on soybeans tariffs, pork tariffs, electronics tariffs—and showed the monetary value of the gain/loss of their implementation or dis-implementation of the tariffs etc.

    Would everyone’s eyes get glazed over?? When Ross Perot did his presentations—-presentations done “U.S. Army style” or “U.S. Navy style” (i.e. gauged for the biggest idiot/country bumpkin in the classroom) it seemed to work, did it not?? If a candidate like Tulsi Gabbard or Bernie attempted to present this in a strategically placed 30 minute political add, mightn’t it work?? Or am I expecting your average white trash midwesterner to have the attention span of a Vietnamese grad student at Rutgers??

    1. Barkley Rosser


      I do not know what Gabbard’s position is, if any, but Bernie is probably the last person who should do this, and this is a broader problem for the Dems, including apparently new leader in Iowa, Warren. They are incoherent to hapless to just plain wrong on the trade issue, aside from a few who are way down near zero percent in support, like Bennett. Bernie’s response to Trump’s awful trade wars has been to brag that he is “tougher than Trump on trade!” Sorry, this is not the speech that Iowa soybean farmers need to hear, with Warren basically being just a kinder and gentler version of that. It is, however, a speech Ross Perot would give.

      The problem can be seen in Ohio with Sherrod Brown, another longtime fire-breathing protectionist. He has been supporting Trump’s steel tariffs, even as these have not done that much to prop up the steel industry or the coal industry feeding it. But the tariffs have hurt the steel-using auto industry, including playing a role recently in the closure of the famous GM plant at Lordstown, Ohio, near deeply depressed Youngstown. Brown was all over that closure, criticizing Trump for it, while not noticing at all that the steel tariffs he supports played a role in this.

      The Dems have a problem with this. Even in 2016, under pressure from the Bernie faction, Hillary backed off from her previous support of the TPP, which certainly had some flaws, and, of course, Trump dumped it the minute he got in as one of those evil Obama policies. Of course, the subtle aspect of that agreement, which is going ahead on its own without the US (and our egregious demands for protection of our pharma industry) that it was an anti-China grouping. If the US were in it, it would have been much easier for Trump to get some allies on board with his efforts to combat perceived unfair Chinese trade policies. But instead, he has alienated nearly all US allies on the trade issue so has been going up against China all by himself, with the results being the mess we see now.

      As it is, I fear the Dems are not going to be able to take proper advantage of this issue, whoever is their candidate in the end, due to this incoherence in their positions, with some of them simply off-the-wall and completely out-to-lunch, with this possibly being the absolutely worst of all of Bernie’s positions (many of which I support).

      1. Moses Herzog

        Tulsi Gabbard is now polling ahead of Yang and Booker in at least TWO recent Iowa polls. Now, that can be laughed at, which I am sure many will. But when the woman has been boycotted by both cable television and the DNC, in the rare moments she is not their whipping boy, it shows Representative Gabbard’s message resonates with many people when she is hitting the pavement at speaking engagements with near zero TV coverage and now separating herself from Booker and Yang inside the state of Iowa.

        The Iowa State poll, comprised of over 1300 voters:

        The Des Moines Register Poll has less than half the sample pool of the Iowa State Poll at 602 voters. Folks, the more interesting numbers and graphs in the immediate below link can be found after SCROLLING DOWN to near the end of the story:

        I am not now, nor have I ever, predicted Gabbard would win the nomination. What I have very strongly contended is, if the DNC and those corporations sponsoring cable TV hadn’t worked at excluding Tulsi Gabbard from the September debate, there’s no telling how much better she would be polling at this moment. Which, again, in the State of Iowa, Gabbard is beating both Yang and Booker—and gaining ground by the day.

        Why is the DNC and corporations sponsoring cable TV programming and content working at muffling Tulsi Gabbard’s political campaign and Tulsi Gabbard’s message?? Because they deeply care about Mr. and Mrs. John Q Public??? That’s a rhetorical question the reader of this comment will have to answer on their own.

        1. Barkley Rosser

          So, Mose, I just wasted time checking on Gabbard’s position on trade. She will be zero help on this matter. Opposed TPP like Hillary. Does not like outsourcing. Wanted “transparency” in the new NAFTA negotiation, failing to notice that most of what is in the new agreement was in the TPP that she did not like.

          Worthless. Useless.

          Any comments on the real story in your poll, that Warren has taken the lead in Iowa? That was what was the case in that poll after the first Dem debate, you know, the one you claimed did not exist. Are you going to accept Warren, or are you going to continue all your ridiculous nonsense about her Native American bungling back in the 1980s?

          1. Moses Herzog

            @ Barkley Junior
            You are “incredibly insightful” on politics Barkley Junior. Everyone on this blog is doing their best to learn from you:

            Barkley Junior says:
            “You really do not know the order of the races do you, Mose? SC will be the serious Harris-Biden showdown.”

            I’m waiting for that “serious showdown” you described happening in South Carolina Barkley Junior. Are you placing bets with Nancy Pelosi on which one of you gets diagnosed for dementia first?? My advice for winning that wager is staying away from the neurologist as long as you can manage it.

        2. Barkley Rosser

          You need to read the stuff you post before you do so, Moses. Gabbard does beat Booker and Yang in the Civiqs poll, but she does not beat Booker in the Des Moines Register poll, the one described by most as “the gold standard” of Iowa polls. Booker at 3 percent in that one while Gabbard and Yang are both at 2 percent.

        3. Moses Herzog

          I should apologize for this. The likely number of polled attending the Democratic caucus was 572. I mean I could argue what I said was still right, but it’s very misleading the way I stated it. So I apologize to anyone I misled.

      2. 2slugbaits

        Barkley Rosser They are incoherent to hapless to just plain wrong on the trade issue, aside from a few who are way down near zero percent in support, like Bennett.

        Totally agree. Then again, most voters are incoherent to hapless to just plain wrong when it comes to trade issues. That makes it tough for a politician, even if that politician knows better. That’s Bennett’s problem…he knows better and seems willing to speak truth to power on trade issues. That might explain his low poll numbers. Bennett is also right when it comes to the Medicare-for-All wet dream that Bernie and Warren keep peddling. If Warren becomes the nominee, then eventually she’s going to have to walk back that campaign talk of ending private insurance even if you like your private insuror. She won’t be able to maintain that position and still be a viable candidate in the general election. She’s also going to have to quit pretending that she can do Medicare-for-All without raising taxes on the middle class.

        1. Barkley Rosser


          Assuming Warren is the Dem nominee, which looks highly likely although not certain, she will have to do what Harris already did, accept a private insurance option. Harris’s mistake was to try to thread the needle between the two main factions of the Dems too early. This led to both sides dumping on her as disloyal to their side. So Biden in her poor second debate ranted at her as he did at Bernie and Warren about how muvh “Medicare for All” was going to coasr, while the Bernie-Warren faction dismissed her for allowing private insurance, shame on her. She has not recovered, although her position on this looks like probably the way to go.

          Again, as I have said earlier, I frankly find all these detailed debates over health care to be a total waste of time, especially if Dems fail to win the Senate. Then it will all be a big nothing. If they win, well, look at how hard it was for Obama to get anything on health care, and at first he had 60 Dems in the Senate, not the bare majority that Dems might be lucky to get in 2020.

          The serious issues really are more on judgeships and foreign policy, where the prez has power. The Iran mess is a serious one, and now we have this Ukrainian mess, which might lead to an impeachment (but no conviction). And then there is the trade issue, but as several of us seem to be noting, most of the Dems are falling on their faces on that one, with even Biden mumbling and fumbling and trying to flee from his past support of NAFTA. This is pathetic and disheartening.

      3. PAUL MATHIS

        Excellent Points Barkley

        With the economy being Trump’s best card to play and tariffs being his signature move, the leading Dems have no counter punch because they are boxed in on protectionism. Biden is the only exception and he has been attacked by Bernie for being in favor of NAFTA, etc.

        How can Dems exploit Trump’s weakness on trade wars if Warren, Bernie, et al. are more protectionist than Trump?

  2. Moses Herzog

    OMG, I HAD to share this. It’s so painfully accurate I almost died laughing the first 20 seconds after I saw this. I hope Menzie will forgive me for inserting this in his thread but it’s just too painfully accurate not to share:

    The best humor always has a thread of truth running through it. This humorous .jpg poster has truth roughly the size of The Three Gorges before they decided to F*** that one up also.

  3. pgl

    One has to wonder if Bruce Hall will once again tell us that all cars made in Michigan as driven by Americans and Ford/GM only sells to Americans. Now – he has not used these words exactly but all of his comments on the topic make this assumption.

  4. Moses Herzog

    I hope the greatest political analyst, of the Anno Domini era, the great PhD Barkley Junior, can expose this extreme “sexist” and extreme “misogynist” Michelle Goldberg. Who….. may I say…… is not only an extreme extreme “sexist” AND extreme “misogynist”, but also, frighteningly, an “ageist”, as this column shamefully posted in the New York Times shows, Miss Goldberg has an “intense hatred” for old women (for my dearest readers, what else could I call it but an “intense hatred” for the elderly?? As….. I have listened to the great political analyst of our times, PhD Barkley Junior, and I have now “seen the light”.

    Oh…the shame….. the shame…… the intense shame Michelle Goldberg must face now, once Barkley Junior opens her eyes to the light, that only The Prophet Barkley Junior carries inside his angelic, uncorrupted, and irreproachable soul. When Barkley Junior writes a post correcting the extreme “misogynist” and extreme “ageist” Michelle Goldberg….. the clouds will part from each other and a light will beam down on Miss Goldberg’s shoulders and burn out her sin.

    Oh Calgon….. take me away……

    1. Menzie Chinn Post author

      Moses Herzog: Let me merely observe that while Ms. Goldberg criticizes Speaker Pelosi’s actions, she does not name call, or describe her as “senile” and/or suffering from Alzheimer’s (I believe the two are not the same).

      1. Moses Herzog

        @ Menzie Chinn
        The differentiation bears pointing out. And reasonable minds can disagree.

        I should add here, when I made comments about Biden’s age MONTHS ago, there were no outcries on this blog of “sexism” on my part. My comments on Biden’s age—made MONTHS before (maybe even more than a year before, but I don’t wanna make false claims here) his most recent “gaffs” (his most recent ones being on an entirely different level, worse that is, than he had made in prior years when he was a Senator)—-have turned out to be pretty prescient on that matter. And I hate the drudgery of it, but if anyone doubts me on that I can attempt to hunt those 1–2 comments down to prove that to readers.

        Nancy Pelosi does show definitive signs of early dementia. I have commented on the blank look in her eyes—something similar to what Ronald Reagan had in the early ’80s. People can call this “cruel” of me to say, and that’s fine—but I know for a fact my neighbor has Parkinson’s. I haven’t told a a single soul since she shared this—and I certainly wouldn’t “dog” her about it. What is the difference??— the difference is, millions of Americans or millions of Californians don’t suffer due to lack of leadership, because my neighbor has Parkinson’s. In the military they call that “situational awareness”. The woman needs to pack it in—the same as Joe Biden needs to pack it in.

      2. Barkley Rosser

        I am unable to open Moses’s link although I saw enough to get that apparently Goldberg is criticizing Pelosi for not having come out for impeachment. As it is, it is looking quite likely that she will do so after a 4 PM meeting this afternoon in D.C. But maybe there is more to this probably-about-to-be-out-of-date column that I was unable to read.

        As it is, Moses, you seem to be ranting senselessly again. My suspicion is that this is a reaction to your getting caught making inaccurate statements about Gabbard’s poll results in Iowa. That was very reasonable of you to apologize for that blunder. I always apologize when caught making factual goofs. As it is, however, you should probably have just left it at that without this rant.

      3. Moses Herzog

        I should also point out 2slugbaits pretty firmly disagreed with me about Biden, who I have stated before, is one of the better commenters on this blog. As well as other commenters, who shall go unnamed, who often coattail on 2slugbaits’ comments. Well, they didn’t like that I dared say bad words about Joe Biden, THAT they made clear, but when I called a spade a spade as regards Joe Biden’s age problem, “sexism” was never brought up in the conversation by those who thought Joe Biden was the “ideal candidate” in the group. Of which, again, I can think of two commenters who thought Biden was the ideal candidate (relative to the other candidates). We can pull those archived comments up as well—-it seems petty—but when people want to argue their own words like children, or papers they sourced—then one is forced to be petty and pull out the old comments.

        1. Barkley Rosser

          You are completely delusional here on all this, Moses. You were not the first person here to raise questions about Biden’s age. Heck, some of us have been a lot more consistent than you have been and agreed with Jimmy Carter that both Bernie and Biden are too old to be president, but you are an old Berniebto still wallowing in crackpot conspiracy theories from 2016. They are both too old, and I have been periodcially saying that here from time to time for a long time. Hey, I was pushing Warren and Harris way back, partly because of the age problem with B and B.

          As for your nonsense about Pelosi, nobody here agrees with you. Your rants on this frankly come across as serious demented. If you really believe the drivel you spout about her, you seriously need psychiatric help, or more of it if you are already getting it. We all think this is just completely bat bananas insane.

        2. 2slugbaits

          Moses Herzog Just to be clear, although I like Biden, he is certainly not my ideal candidate. His track record in the Senate was spotty…maybe give him a B minus. And it sure looks like he is slipping mentally; e.g., he appears to slur his speech at times, he is easily confused, he appears tired towards the end of the debates, etc. But he’s also got a lot going for him. He would shore up Obamacare, which is a realistic and important policy goal. The Medicare-for-All stuff from Warren and Bernie (and note that Bernie is a family friend and I happen to like him personally) is just pie-in-the-sky. Worse still, it could easily cost the Democrats what should be a sure win. Biden is also right about a lot of macroeconomic issues. Hey…Jared Bernstein was his economic advisor during the Obama years. But most importantly, Biden is popular with rust belt working class whites and he is very popular with older black voters. At this point he has the best chance of beating Trump, and for me that’s all that counts. If the polls showed Warren or Bernie leading the pack and up 15 points over Trump, then I’d happily support them. But right now Biden appears to have the best chance of beating Trump. And that’s really all I care about.

        3. baffling

          i for one have argued biden is really too old. as for the “ideal candidate”, this is the problem for democrats right now. they do not have an “ideal candidate”. the cupboard is relatively bare. we don’t even have a mitt romney type, who is uninspiring but has the potential to be elected because he will not go off the rails. warren is probably the best of the bunch right now, although i have concerns she can win the election. mayor pete has potential, but needs more seasoning. it really is pathetic that in the trump era, democrats have been provided a very beatable opponent, but cannot even get in the ring at times.

  5. joseph

    Moses Herzog: “I know for a fact my neighbor has Parkinson’s. I haven’t told a a single soul since she shared this—and I certainly wouldn’t “dog” her about it. What is the difference??— the difference is, millions of Americans or millions of Californians don’t suffer due to lack of leadership, because my neighbor has Parkinson’s.”

    So just because your neighbor has Parkinson’s you assume she is mentally deficient and incompetent? You are one severely messed up dude. Your neighbor has much more to fear from bigots like you than you from her.

  6. dilbert dogbert

    Re: Nancy P
    I think Nancy would agree with Will Rogers who said: I am not a member of an organized political party – I am a Democrat.

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