Diary

How Trump can make American Timber Great Again

Here in the Northwest we take timber issues seriously. We used to create 15 billion board feet of timber annually. That is the Pacific Northwest which includes Northern California, Oregon, Washington and Idaho with parts of Montana. In those regards we were the kings of lumber around the world. This was in the 80’s mind you, not current times. In 2016 we produced 20.1 billion board feet as a nation (link). Canada in contrast produced 28.35 billion board feet last year.

So if you want to make Canada cry, get high paying US jobs, and to have an economic boom all you need to do is over-turn the Clinton and Obama era restrictions. You know the ClintonNorthwest Forest Plan” maybe? Or how about the Obama era creation of National Monuments. Much of this was designed to either restrict fishing or to restrict forestry.

Face it Mr. President, Donald Trump, that if you do not remove their efforts then you will be seen as a continuation of their efforts. You can remove the issues preventing US logging, provide for tens of thousands of jobs in less than 1 year, dramatically increase the US GDP, reduce the Canadian GDP, and achieve all your goals in one quick swoop.

It saddens me therefore that you wish to instead create tariffs. Tariffs will not increase US timber production but instead will only increase the cost Americans pay for lumber products. In fact it is far worse than that since it would mean Canada might introduce a counter tariff where it could actually hurt us. Trade wars can be messy. There is also no doubt the Chinese, a huge consumer of lumber, would be able to purchase even more Canadian wood thus driving the prices we pay even higher.

To break down how many jobs this would be, let us do the math. There are 53,700 loggers in the United States currently. There is also lumber mill workers, truckers who haul the logs from the harvest to the mill, chainsaw chain manufacturers (Here is a shout out to Blount, a major manufacturer of such chains in the United States which employees a few hundred employees locally), and many other support services. For every logger there is a downstream job growth of 2 jobs according to the math provided by the Bureau of Labor Statistics. Douglas Fir, a major product of the Northwest prior to liberal policies, goes for $3.65 a board foot when bought in bulk. Therefore if Donald Trump passes some changes to the Clinton and Obama anti-forestry laws we could see a net growth of up to 51 billion US Dollars per a year, and a tax increase of more than 15 billion dollars (payroll, corporate taxes, and such). Mind you that 51 billion is just the end cost of the main product, the increased revenues going through chainsaw manufacturers, truck manufacturers, and such will result in a higher total GDP increase, maybe as high as 70 billion. That would result in a 2.8% increase to the GDP. You would automatically make Obama look a failure by this move.

Trump the average cost of a US Aircraft Carrier is around 5-7 billion dollars. You could buy 2 and use the change to provide for the air units on board the carriers.

The problem might be expressed by US Logging companies as “Canadian subsidies” but the truth is that US Lumber used to be harvested mostly from US administered lands, aka that 40% of the land governed by you guys in DC much to the angst of us in the Western States. Giving access to enough timber lands to be competitive would give the US companies a way to compete entirely with the Canadians and without undo issues. The problems is that there is less and less places for us to harvest lands. Look if the Northwest used to harvest 15 billion board feet and now it is not able to even produce 10% of that, then there is a serious issue with lack of availability which you would know would drive prices up.

The best way to trade war against another nation is by unleashing the Free Market, by removing restrictions on our companies and letting them do what they do best. Mr. President Blount sold recently for about 900 million dollars. There is a lot of money in timber, and the problem is that we keep reducing the opportunity to make money in the system with the nastiness of environmental activists who seek to make America barbaric again.

Please remove the Clinton and Obama era policies Mr. President and Make American Timber Great Again!

 

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