Let me begin by pointing out that everybody — every single one of us — is biased, myself included. Our gender, upbringing, ethnicity, culture, socioeconomic class, religion, skin color, education level and so much more shape who we are and how we see the world; we can’t help it.
In my case, I am a woman, mother, daughter, wife, student, millennial, and gun-toting (and NRA-card-carrying) Army veteran, but I am also a journalist, and I do my best to keep my complicated personal politics out of my reporting and the editorial decisions I make.
I say this to highlight that the following statement is one backed by research and solid reporting, not personal politics. The statement is this: Our country has elected an inept leader who is surrounding himself with like-minded and unqualified individuals, and this industry is going to be one of many to pay the price.
As I write this column, it is the eve of Inauguration Day, and, from where I am sitting, I have seen little to indicate that President Trump is going to be able to deliver on a great many of the promises he made during his presidential campaign, including many of the promises that swayed some in this industry to vote for him. In fact, he has proven over and over that he is not a friend to small businesses.
For instance, “Trumpcare,” which is what many are now calling President Trump’s plan to repeal Obamacare, is likely going to be a job killer. According to Fox Business, a recent study by the Milken Institute School of Public Health at the George Washington University and the Commonwealth Fund estimate that the repeal of Obamacare could cost almost 3 million jobs by 2021. “Only about a third of the nearly 3 million job losses are expected to be in the health care sector,” the article states. “The remainder will come from other industries as consumers are forced to spend more on their health care and have less disposable income to spend elsewhere [e.g., food, clothing, entertainment].”
I don’t have to tell any of you what happens when expendable income goes away, as it did during the Great Recession. You know that people stop buying new appliances and choose to repair instead of replace. You know that new construction numbers go down, your business suffers, and people lose jobs — or worse.
Additionally, Trump has pledged to withdraw from NAFTA and implement a 35% tariff on imported vehicles and parts, which a January 2017 study from the nonprofit Center for Automotive Research showed, “would cause vehicle prices to spike, the U.S. market to shrink, and at least 31,000 U.S. auto manufacturing jobs to be lost,” reports Crain’s Detroit Business, a publication that extensively covers the automotive industry in Michigan and beyond. Higher vehicle costs means less money for consumers to spend on other things, not to mention the job loss in the automotive industry.
Trump also has a documented history of stiffing companies — often small businesses — that work on his many properties across the world. For example, late last year, two contractors, including plumbing and mechanical contracting firm Joseph J. Magnolia Inc., filed liens for the work they performed during renovation of the Trump International Hotel in Washington, District of Columbia. Both businesses claim they were never paid the nearly $3 million they were owed for work performed on the project in 2016.
Trump and his administration are seemingly uninterested in protecting and nurturing small businesses, so the onus falls on you to bring your issues and concerns to your local, state and federal elected officials. Without your input, these politicians cannot make fully informed decisions, so speak up loudly — and often. I know I will.
Visit www.usa.gov/elected-officials to find elected officials by location.