The Washington Post has reported that Vice President Mike Pence’s hometown of Columbus, Indiana will be one of the hardest hit communities in the United States after President Donald Trump’s trade tariffs go into effect.
According to the Post, the reason for this is that a Brookings Institution analysis found that Pence’s hometown is the metro area most reliant on exports in the entire country. One-half of the Columbus economy — or gross domestic product — is made up of exports to other countries.
“Mike Pence’s hometown of Columbus, Indiana, is the most export-reliant region in the country. Now, it’s among the areas most vulnerable to job losses from Donald Trump’s international trade war.”
Mike Pence's hometown of Columbus, Indiana, is the most export-reliant region in the country.
— Chicago Tribune (@chicagotribune) July 22, 2018
Because of their region’s dependence on foreign trade, local business and political leaders in Columbus have been expressing grave concerns that the new tariffs on imports (which Pence has been strongly defending) will severely harm the area’s economic prospects.
For example, the largest employer in Columbus, Cummins Inc., may have to reduce its workforce a result of the Trump trade policy leading to large layoffs in a community that has been struggling to get back on its feet after the most recent recession.
The CEO of Cummins, Tom Linebarger, said that the Trump administration’s escalating tariffs “hurt its ability to import parts from other countries” and “make it more difficult to sell its own products overseas” because of retaliation in the form of increased trade tariffs imposed by other nations on U.S. imports.
“I’m very worried,” said Linebarger who met with Trump over dinner at the White House in January as he tried to talk him out of introducing steel and aluminum tariffs and to honor American free trade agreements.
Linebarger has sounded the alarm that there may be many job losses ahead since thousands of jobs at Cummins and elsewhere in the area depend on trade.
“We will do everything we can to mitigate the impact to jobs,” he said. “It’s very clear, though, that we’re not going to be able to mitigate everything.”
Trump announced he was putting in place large new taxes on steel and aluminum tariffs several months ago, and he has not wavered ever since.
He has turned a deaf ear to the desperate pleas from his fellow Republicans in Congress and from most of the country’s leading economists and business leaders, all of whom believe that free trade is better for the economy and creates more jobs.
Trump has often said he thinks a trade war is easy to win, so that is what he has single-handedly brought to the world economy. But very few people expect there to be a positive outcome from what Trump is doing — especially the people in Mike Pence’s hometown of Columbus, Indiana.