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Border Adjustment Tax
Karen House
April 21, 2017, 1:53 p.m.

When Donald Trump swept into office, it was a thunderous rebuke of the governmental status quo by the common folk of the United States. The Trump camp was a motley crew of people – black, white, Hispanic, Asian, men, and women, but on the whole they were the regular people who work a job and raise a family and are sick to death with “rulers” who think they know more than us. It was “We The People.”

It was the same kind of people that shocked the world in Britain by voting to leave the unwieldy bureaucracy-that-rules-from-afar called the European Union.

Donald Trump promised many things: To build a wall guarding our borders, to repeal and replace Obamacare, to stop uncontrolled immigration from countries that spawn terrorism, to make it financially feasible for corporations to bring their profits home to America, to simplify the tax code, and to tax imports.

After a brief, breathtaking dip, the U.S. stock market recovered and climbed to record heights in what has come to be called the “Trump Rally.” Business actually liked what Trump was saying. It renewed their confidence that maybe finally government would get off their back and let them do business.

There is just one part of President Trump’s financial plan with which Wall Street disagrees: The Border Adjustment Tax, or “BAT.”

The idea behind the BAT is to tax imports, thereby making it more financially feasible for American industry to build plants in America and hire Americans… if they want to sell their product to Americans. In other words, if you want to sell to us, you have to hire our people to work for you.

In recent weeks, as Pres. Trump and his advisers attempt to wade through the thick mud in the D.C. swamp, things have gotten bogged down. It is taking longer to get legislation passed, and many times, it is changed quite a bit when it finally does pass. And so, the broadcasters who cover Wall Street have been killing time, asking business people what they think of Mr. Trump’s economic plan and its chance of getting approved by Congress.

The CEO of Macy’s was heard saying this week that the Border Adjustment Tax is “dead on arrival.” And he seemed vehement that it must die. It would cost Americans jobs, he said.

Other business people have expressed similar sentiments.

These people are either in retail sales (like Macy’s) or run a business dependent on cheap foreign labor to jack up profits. They love making cheap products in Third World countries for a pittance. They love selling their cheap products for much more than they’re worth to the American consumer. And they love hiring our sons and daughters for minimum wage to work in their stores. But they are bleeding this country dry.

The average American in the fifties could get a factory job and easily raise a family and pay for a house on one income. Think of that – one income. There was someone at home to raise the children. Nowadays, it takes two incomes to accomplish that, usually working at a fast food place or selling cable TV subscriptions.

The people in suits that we see on TV – in New York or Davos – simply don’t get it. They are completely out of touch with the average man or woman struggling to raise a family in the current financial climate. They don’t understand why Brits would want to leave Europe. And they never have figured out why in the world Americans picked Donald Trump to lead them.

The suits that live in luxury on million-dollar incomes are well-satisfied that the United States should become a “service-oriented economy.” Service… to whom?

What happened to making things? Growing things? Being able to get all we need from other Americans? Selling to other countries?

Already, there are companies taking steps to build plants in the United States, in anticipation of the BAT. Some are even looking at Dunlap as a location for their plants and have mentioned the risk of an import tax as their motivation. The jobs they have been providing to people in Pakistan or the Philippines could be in the Sequatchie Valley next year. Our young people might not have to go over the mountain to find work. Maybe they will stay here to work and raise their families.

As you are reading this, there is someone somewhere in America scouring the Internet or an antique store, trying to find something “Made In The USA.” Most of you reading this have done that at one time or another. Things made in America have a heritage of being the best – sturdy, well-crafted, meant to last a lifetime. And they have almost disappeared.

Perhaps Pres. Trump will stick to the plan that got him elected. Perhaps our Congressmen will understand why we elected him president. Perhaps our leaders (I know, vain thought) will begin to do what’s best for Americans, rather than what benefits a select few.

Let our Border Adjustment Tax be put in place… and leave the rest to us.