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By Robert A. Vella

In yet another example of The Establishment versus The People, opposing forces are lining up in a heated dispute over U.S. steel imports.  On one side is the domestic steel industry, labor unions, Midwest workers, and politicians who support middle class jobs in America.  The other side is represented by foreign producers, globalists, market speculators, and neoliberal free traders in both political parties.  The salient issue involves the imposition, or lack thereof, of import tariffs which the Department of Commerce is currently authorized to enforce in order to prevent illegal dumping of the U.S. market.

Last month, a bipartisan group of 57 U.S. senators signed a letter to the DOC:

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Today, U.S. Sens. Sherrod Brown (D-OH) and Rob Portman (R-OH) led a group of 57 of Senators in calling on the Administration to protect American steel manufacturers and the jobs they support. Brown’s and Portman’s efforts come in advance of a major trade case before the U.S. Department of Commerce (DOC) that involves Oil Country Tubular Goods (OCTG). OCTG are used for domestic oil and gas exploration—especially shale—and are produced by Ohio companies U. S. Steel in Lorain, Vallourec Star in Youngstown, Wheatland Tube in Warren, and TMK IPSCO in Brookfield. The Senators urged DOC to closely consider the facts of the case and fully enforce our trade laws to ensure American businesses and workers are not harmed by these imports.

“We write to express our concerns with the Commerce Department’s preliminary determination in the antidumping investigation of Oil Country Tubular Goods (OCTG) imports from Korea,” the lawmakers wrote. “This case has nationwide economic implications, and any final determination must be based on accurate data and objective methodologies. As the Department continues the investigation, we ask that you fully consider the domestic industry’s allegations and take action against any unfair dumping to the fullest extent of the law.”

On Monday, Minnesota governor Mark Dayton (D) spoke at a rally in Virginia, MN and warned about the dangers of cheap steel imports from South Korea.

But, perhaps the most vocal advocate for steel import tariffs and the idea of economic populism is MSNBC’s Ed Schultz.  On Tuesday’s edition of The Ed Show, Schultz blasted President Obama on this issue, saying:

“The President is asleep at the wheel.”

And, he added this terse remark:

“President Obama, you need to get off your ass.”

Schultz continued covering this story in more depth on Wednesday.  Watch the videos here:

Fighting for US steel jobs

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With the GOP establishment and corporate Democrats working together to enact free trade deals which have eviscerated domestic manufacturing and destroyed the middle class over the last three decades, we are left wondering what will be the ultimate fate of the American worker.