Congressman Darin LaHood appeared on WLDS 1180’s What’s On Your Mind recently, and gave his thoughts on the current economic slowdown.
“I still am optimistic on the economy, now I’ll tell you this, the trade war worries me because, we passed the tax bill two years ago, we have seen the growth in the economy, 2 ½% almost 3% growth the two quarters this year, very low unemployment, I mean prosperity is thriving across the country. But the trade war can hurt that, right? You know we have to remember 95% of the products we grow, produce or manufacture in the country goes somewhere else around the world. So we have to have those markets outside of the United States, and that worries me when you’re in a trade war with China.”
LaHood said that even though the tariffs are working, they may not be the long term soulution on trade with China.
“ I am not a fan of tariffs, tariffs are taxes, they are taxes on consumers they are taxes on businesses, they hurt our farmers, they hurt companies like Caterpillar and John Deere, and ADM, so we gotta get over this trade war. I think that is what you are seeing a little bit in the economy and a little bit of the slow down is that trade war with China. We can’t afford to be in a long term trade war with China, and that to me worries me the most about the long term viability of the economy, because all these tariffs are going to continue to cause prices to go up and that’s not good.”
LaHood said he would like to see President Trump partner with allies such as European and Asian countries that have similar trade issues with China, instead of a go it alone approach.
“In some ways I give President Trump a lot of credit, he’s the only President that’s ever used tariffs to get their attention. Has he gotten their attention? Absolutely. Is there economy down? Yes. The reason why they are manipulating their currency is because they’re hurting. There are a lot of companies in China that are looking at other places in Asia because they don’t want to do business in China. So he’s gotten their attention, but the problem with that is, there’s collateral damage when you do that. The fact that they haven’t bought a shipment of soybeans in a year and a half, it hurts our farmers. They aren’t buying Caterpillar equipment or John Deere equipment, that hurts our manufacturers here. So, while I understand it’s a real balancing act, because, yeah do we want China to change? Of course. Do we want to hold them accountable? Yes do we want them to abide by the same rules we do? Yes. But how long can you go in that trade war when you continue to hurt the Ag economy? Twenty five percent of the soybeans grown here in Morgan county go to China every year, and that market is zapped up. And so our farmers have stuck with the President, but that’s not unending, that tenuous is the way I would describe it so, we gotta get them to change and the President has really put pressure on them to do it.”
China became a member of the World Trade Organization in December of 2001. Congressman LaHood said that part of the intention by the W.T.O. was to coerce China into following fair trade practices. Policies that LaHood says, China still has yet to comply with.