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Guest Ytown Steel

Youngstown: Descent into Darkness

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Very well done, Ytown Steel.


"Nearly every problem that we have in the USA -- unaffordable health care, prison overpopulation, hyper militarization, climate change, racism, gun violence, poverty, poor education, urban sprawl and others -- cannot be positively addressed because bribery and conflicts of interest are legal under campaign finance laws which protect the uber-wealthy and the narrow self-interests who grossly benefit from our afflictions."

 

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Excellent slideshow Ytown Steel.  It's amazing to think that only 50 years ago, things were pretty good in Youngstown; almost unimaginable how things can change so quickly. 

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Excellent slideshow Ytown Steel. It's amazing to think that only 50 years ago, things were pretty good in Youngstown; almost unimaginable how things can change so quickly.

 

Even 30-some years ago it was assumed that Youngstown would go on being a world powerhouse in steel production. I posted the findings of a mid-1970s study on Youngstown's economic future elsewhere on this forum. The study was cautious but optimistic. After all, why would anyone think differently after 130 years of near-continuous expansion of the local industry? Yet just a year later, in 1977, the largest single plant closing in U.S. history would be announced -- Youngstown Sheet & Tube's Campbell Works.

 

Five years later, all of Youngstown's major steel plants had closed.


"Nearly every problem that we have in the USA -- unaffordable health care, prison overpopulation, hyper militarization, climate change, racism, gun violence, poverty, poor education, urban sprawl and others -- cannot be positively addressed because bribery and conflicts of interest are legal under campaign finance laws which protect the uber-wealthy and the narrow self-interests who grossly benefit from our afflictions."

 

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There was a movement known as the "ecumenical coalition" where local churches and union leaders tried to keep the mills open as a worker owned enterprise. They estimated it would have taken $300 million to modernize and convert the mills in order to make them sustainable. The coalition lobbied the government for a grant but they were refused, that was the end for steel in the Mahoning Valley.

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But even the International United Steel Workers Union (not USW Local 1462 in Youngstown) was opposed to the $150 million grant because it would keep a large mill operating in an environment in which steel prices were low and falling. The international union said some capacity needed to be shed in order to save remaining steel jobs. What the union didn't recognize was how much capacity needed to be shed (and jobs to be lost) before prices would start to rise again.


"Nearly every problem that we have in the USA -- unaffordable health care, prison overpopulation, hyper militarization, climate change, racism, gun violence, poverty, poor education, urban sprawl and others -- cannot be positively addressed because bribery and conflicts of interest are legal under campaign finance laws which protect the uber-wealthy and the narrow self-interests who grossly benefit from our afflictions."

 

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Everybody was too fat and happy back then. I remember that time very well. The problems were always someone else's fault.


"Nearly every problem that we have in the USA -- unaffordable health care, prison overpopulation, hyper militarization, climate change, racism, gun violence, poverty, poor education, urban sprawl and others -- cannot be positively addressed because bribery and conflicts of interest are legal under campaign finance laws which protect the uber-wealthy and the narrow self-interests who grossly benefit from our afflictions."

 

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