I’ll admit, I don’t know a great deal about tariffs, but, as a State Rep, it won’t be anything I would be expected to know. What I do know is that as a State Rep, I will have to take into consideration the long-term impact of EVERY decision I make. It’s the responsible thing to do, but something we haven’t always seen on the town, state, or federal level. Here in Salem, and in Concord, we have repeatedly seen the long-term impact of short-term savings.
 
And, now today, we learn that, because of an increase in steel tariffs, Harley Davidson has decided to shift some of its productions overseas. 40,000 motorcycles per year will be built in Europe for their European customers. (That is nearly 800 bikes per week!) Harley estimates that the tariffs will add $2,200 to the cost of each bike.
As as I started to read about this story, I started to learn. And as I learned, I came up with a lot of questions which will be answered over time:
  • As tariffs rise, and trade wars escalate, how many more companies will follow the example of Harley Davidson, and shift production overseas?
  • How many Americans will lose their jobs?
    • Harley has not confirmed whether jobs are leaving the United States, but the  International Association of Machinists and Aerospace Workers, the union representing many Harley workers, is concerned.
    • The Tax Foundation predicts 48,585 US jobs will be lost due to the recent tariffs.
  • Harley Davidson says they are going to absorb the additional $2,200 cost, but for how long?
  • How many other companies can’t — or won’t — absorb the increased costs?
  • As consumers, how will this impact the cost of the goods that we purchase?
  • What will happen if we slow down our spending?
  • Will Americans realize that these are tax increases on Americans?
  • And, as taxpayers, how will these tariffs/taxes impact us?
  • Are European Union and China correct in stating that trade wars could lead to a global recession?
Let’s look at a few examples of how this will affect us:
  • Steel is in our electronic products (phones, TVs), appliances, tools, and parts … parts used by consumers, our military, energy companies, farm equipment, airlines. Everything will cost more.
  • The cost of new cars is likely to increase. What will happen to the demand, and price, of used cars?
  • We have delayed maintenance on bridges to save tax money. Now they are red-listed as dangerous bridges and need to be replaced. With the new tariffs on steel, the replacements will cost even more — more to the town or state or federal government, and, ultimately more to the taxpayers.
So, how carefully are we considering the long-term impacts? Not carefully enough!

* I know more about tariffs now than I did before I started this article, but recognize I understand nowhere near enough if this was something about which I would be making decisions as an elected official. If I spend this much researching something that I will never have to vote on, can you imagine how much time I’ll spend on topics that I will have to vote on? That’s one reason why Bonnie Wright is Right for Salem!

 

Recommended reading:

  • https://www.pressherald.com/2018/06/25/harley-davidson-stung-by-tariffs-shifts-some-production-overseas/
  • https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/wonk/wp/2018/06/25/the-first-layoffs-from-trumps-tariffs-are-here/?utm_term=.e41e57573d4c
  • https://taxfoundation.org/tracker-economic-impact-tariffs/#enacted
  • Trade War Could Trigger Global Recession, China and Europe Warn – https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2018-06-25/china-and-europe-warn-trade-war-could-trigger-global-recession?utm_campaign