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Volvo may cancel 4,000 worker job expansion in Trump-friendly South Carolina after being rocked with tariffs: report

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Car assembly line worker -- Shutterstock

Foreign-based car manufacturers who have invested billions of dollars in new car plants in South Carolina and other southern states that were solidly in President Donald Trump’s camp are now having second thoughts about hiring due to new tariffs that could make the cars prohibitively expensive if they exported to Europe and China.

According to the Wall Street Journal, BMW, Daimler and China’s Zhejiang Geely Holding’s Volvo Cars have been making massive investments in production facilities with the intent of making more luxury automobiles in the U.S. that would then be sent overseas.  However, Trump’s imposition of new tariffs on Chinese goods — causing China to engage in a trade war by imposing their own 40 percent tariff on auto imports — has manufacturers considering scaling back production and, with that, not hiring new assembly line workers.

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The report states that “Volvo Cars also opened a new $1.1 billion plant near Charleston, S.C., last month to produce its S60 midsize sedan for North American markets,” with plans to begin production of a SUV model that they hoped to export to China.Under that scenario the company would go on a hiring binge, boosting current staff from 1,200 to 4000 workers. That plan is currently being questioned.

“Half of the 4,000 jobs will build cars for export,” Chief Executive Hakan Samuelsson said in a recent interview. “That could be jeopardized if something were to restrict trade.”

BMW, which has invested $8 billion in the plant in Spartanburg since 1992, is faced with the same 40 percent tariff on any vehicles shipped into China, which has rivals who manufacture outside of the U.S. excited about increased sales.

“This is a favorable situation for us because the products from manufacturers in the U.S. are becoming less competitive,” Lutz Meschke, the finance chief of German auto maker Porsche.

On top of that, Meschke boasted that prices for Porsche’s Macan and Cayenne SUVs could actually see a drop of as much as 7 percent in China, “while similar products from BMW and Mercedes-Benz could rise by as much as 15% in the wake of higher duties on their U.S.-built vehicles.”

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Adding to car makers woes are increased costs for parts, which some manufacturers build overseas and will also be subject to Trump’s tariffs, thus adding to the final cost of the vehicles.

According to the report, “Big auto makers have built global manufacturing and supply networks that depend on the free flow of goods across borders. These are now threatened by the trade dispute, which could force companies to cut back manufacturing for export and make more vehicles and components in the markets where they are sold.”

You can read the whole report here — subscription required

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2020 Election

‘Humiliating self-own’: Trump mocked after touting binder full of his ‘accomplishments’ — but photo shows blank page

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President Donald Trump on Wednesday tweeted photographs of his press secretary delivering a binder full of his purported accomplishments to CBS News reporter Lesley Stahl.

“Kayleigh McEnany presenting Lesley Stahl (@60Minutes) with some of the many things we’ve done for Healthcare. Lesley had no idea!” the president tweeted.

However, many Twitter users noticed that one photograph showed Stahl opening the binder – revealing a blank page.

"Are there Nobel prizes for most humiliating self-owns? If so, Trump definitely deserves one for presenting Lesley Stahl with a blank book and claiming it's some huge gotcha moment," remarked author Steve Silberman.

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2020 Election

Here’s how The Christian Post ‘sold its soul’ to Trump — according to its former politics editor

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Political analyst Napp Nazworth watched as The Christian Post (CP) made its "gradual descent" from being anti-Trump to pro-Trump, often questioning whether or not he should jump ship from the publication. But what happened on Dec. 23, 2019, made the decision painfully clear.

"I was told by Michelle Vu, my boss at The Christian Post, to publish a pro-Trump op-ed as an editorial, meaning it was to express the position of the media organization," Nazworth wrote at Arc Digital. "'It can’t be an editorial,' I explained, 'because I don’t agree with it and I’m an editor.' Vu said she would call me back."

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Republicans grow increasingly nervous over potential loss of Senate seat GOP has controlled for decades

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Rep. Roger Marshall (R-KS) wants to fill the state's open Senate seat that been in the hands of Republicans since 1932, and was once widely expected to do so, but thanks to the economic fallout from the coronavirus pandemic, the seat is more likely to be a toss-up, according to the Washington Post's Annie Gowen.

Marshall’s Democratic opponent, Barbara Bollier, 62, is a state senator who recently left the GOP, and has focused her platform on battling the pandemic and expanding health care. Gowen reports that she has racked up a "record third-quarter fundraising haul of $13.5 million, and has raised a total of $20 million. Marshall raised $2.7 million in the third quarter and has a total of $5 million."

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