My view on tariffs

July 25, 2018
by Philip F. Jacobus, CEO
I just don't understand this tariff business.

It seems to me like we were coasting along nicely, the stock market is doing well and I have the feeling that the economy is doing well. It seems that there's a lot of confidence in the market and unemployment is low. I was always taught, if it's not broken, don't fix it.

I am not an expert on tariffs, but my impression is that there's all sorts of give and take between countries and I suspect, like every negotiation over the years, we've agreed to this and they've agreed to that and that result isn't perfect, but somehow it all fits together like Jenga.

I'm not sure I agree that the best approach is to knock everything down and start all over again from scratch and I'm not sure that I agree that the best approach is to do it with every country at once, even though they're seemingly our allies.

I also wish there was a way that we could maintain good relations with NATO, but that's another topic.

In any event, this idea that the administration is now proposing a $12 billion emergency relief fund for farmers seems ill advised to me.

Think about it... by imposing a tariff, our costs will increase. Our trading partners will also add tariffs which will make U.S. products and services more expensive outside our boarders. So, things will cost us more and we will sell less. By my estimation, neither of those are good things.

Now, as tax payers, we're going to pay $12 billion — either now, or in the future if that becomes part of our deficit — and I don't see that as a good thing.

What do any of you think?