The opening chapter on trade in my book, “Economics is Like Sex” starts like this: Why are economists in favor of international trade when businesses and employees all seek government protection from imports? Why do nations trade with each other if citizens believe they’re worse off? Like most economic puzzles, it’s a matter of accounting for the things you can’t see. And when it comes to economics, there’s probably no bigger misunderstanding than the benefits of trade.
You may not realize it, but every day everyone is engaged in trade, and everybody benefits. Trade isn’t just for big-ticket items . . . Trade is all around us.
I have supported President Trump in many of his ideals, including his pledge to drain the swamp and his clear take-no-prisoners approach to standing up for the American businessman. He’s ushered in historic tax cuts and rolled back oppressive Obama-era regulations.
But I cannot support his trade tariff initiative. It is a disastrous proposal that would have devastating effects in Indiana’s 6th District, where manufacturing and agriculture loom large. Agricultural and manufacturing represents the bulk of the gross domestic product in the 6th District, adding to our vulnerability in the event of a trade war.
I’ve visited many of our manufacturers across East Central Indiana, and it’s no exaggeration to say they are quite concerned about the impact President Trump’s 25 percent tariff on steel and 10 percent tariff on aluminum imports would have on their industries. Many are pulling back on plans for expansion as this debate plays out.
Our district was hit hard during the recession and we’re just now starting to see signs of improvement. The unemployment rate remains at or near the national average. But we have far to go before we can claim stability. Outside of service and health sector jobs, our economy is driven by manufacturing and agriculture. Even the threat of trade tariffs will throw these industries into a tailspin.
While the president seems to have eased the penalty against our trading partners, Canada and Mexico, the proposal – in its entirety – remains problematic and, could start a trade war. We cannot let that happen. I urge President Trump to regroup and rethink this proposal.
It’s not a stretch to anticipate retaliatory tariffs targeting American agricultural goods and made-in-America products. This kind of tit-for-tat would have devastating effects on family farmers, small business owners and manufactures that form the backbone of our economy in the 6th District.
There is no doubt, we need fair trade. But we need free and fair trade that will bring jobs to our district. I urge the president to think through the consequences of this proposal, listen to his advisers and his constituents. We can find a better way to achieve the goal of a fair and balanced trade initiative that promotes growth and protects our manufacturers and farmers. I look forward to being part of that important change.
Jonathan Lamb is running for 6th District U.S. Representative on the Republican ticket. He is an economist and entrepreneur, having started seven companies. He owns LambONOMICS, an economic forecasting and consulting company, and OptoeV Inc., a provider of U.S. patent-pending farm equipment. Lamb is a graduate of Yorktown High School and Ball State University where he received degrees in economics and risk management from the Miller College of Business.FacebookTwitterGoogle +