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Don't blow it, Mr. Trump — a booming economy's growth is being threatened by further tariffs

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By Win Cramer, Washington Examiner

As a soccer fan, there is no better feeling than when your team is riding high on momentum, scoring at will, passing crisply, and running the offense to perfection. There is also no worse feeling than when your team stunts its momentum by inadvertently scoring against itself — an “own goal.”

The U.S. economy has seen unprecedented levels of growth and is riding the momentum. But like a team that can’t get out of its own way in soccer, the Trump administration is scoring against itself economically. And this is, inadvertently, having real-world effects on hard-working Americans and the American consumer.

In 2005, before our current administration was making self-inflicted economic wounds a matter of policy, JLab Audio was setting out to take a shot at the American Dream and working to move our economy forward. JLab was founded in Tucson, Arizona, where we made portable electronic equipment such as headphones and speakers. Like most businesses in America, we started out small, with three employees, one customer, and four products. In 2011, we decided it was time to pursue our vision full speed ahead, and we moved the company to California to help with branding.

Since 2011, our company has grown exponentially, from three people to a team of 40 with offices in California and Texas. We’ve been named to the Inc. 500 and 5,000 lists for small businesses four times, and recognized as the fastest-growing audio company in the United States. Our company is a living embodiment of the American Dream.

JLab’s American Dream, however, is in serious jeopardy due to the trade war waged by the White House. If the administration moves forward with a 25 percent tariff on $200 billion worth of Chinese imports, the consequences could be dire, especially for companies like ours.

These tariffs disproportionately hurt one of the strongest engines of our economy — the technology sector, which inlcudes JLab. Recently, the Bureau of Economic Analysis released data that gauge the health of the American economy. The report found an impressive 4.1 percent economic growth rate in the second quarter of 2018. A large part of this growth was the incorporation of new measurements that showed the tech sector is having a tremendous and outsized impact on GDP. But the trade war jeopardizes that success.

The tariffs will not only slam the tech sector, but they will also disproportionately affect small businesses. While some larger corporations may be able to weather the cost of tariffs, small businesses like JLab and others, which create the majority of jobs and employ the majority of American workers, will have a much more difficult time staying competitive.

We’re already seeing the damage caused by tariffs, but the uncertainty of possible additional retaliatory tariffs mean even more trouble ahead.

For example, before the idea of tariffs was floated, JLab had plans to scale up and push our company’s growth to another level. Now, because of the tariffs and the possibility of new ones, our company has had to put most of those plans on hold and re-evaluate every aspect of our business. To continue doing business, we have to account for any number of new tariffs that could affect us. This is taking up time that we should invest in growing our company and serving our consumers.

So, with all these negative effects from tariffs, why would the White House want to score against itself by implementing this ill-advised policy? Why would the Trump administration threaten the very environment for the robust economic momentum that it helped create?

I don’t have the answers to those questions. But if the administration wants to continue to see strong growth numbers, they should think again about repealing the tariffs already imposed, and steer clear of slapping any new tariffs on China and other countries’ goods.

In this strong economy, American businesses are primed to play their best — but only if all the players involved are shooting at the right goal.

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Politics - U.S. Daily News: Don't blow it, Mr. Trump — a booming economy's growth is being threatened by further tariffs
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