When it comes to a trade war with Mexico, President Donald Trump needs to listen to Texans before he turns our economy into a disaster.
Trump’s proposing a 5% tariff on all goods imported from Mexico, and everyday Texans are going to pay the price with what Sen. John Cornyn correctly assessed as “a massive tax.”
“We’re holding a gun to our own heads,” Cornyn bluntly told reporters earlier this week when asked about the tariff that could go into effect as soon as Monday.
Trump has threatened to increase the tariff rate to as high as 25% in the coming months if Mexico doesn’t substantially halt illegal immigrants crossing the border. In doing so, he’s pulling the rug out from under his biggest accomplishment since taking office.
Love him or hate him, Trump’s overseen a prosperous economy with low unemployment. A trade war with Mexico would likely plunge that economy into recession.
The Texas economy is typically strong and resilient, but a 5% tariff would descend it into chaos with heavy job losses and soaring prices.
The economic consultant firm The Perryman Group estimates as many as 117,000 Texans could lose their jobs because of the tariff. Nationally those numbers could surpass 400,000. Trump ran on a platform that included courting the American worker who felt like they had been left out of both major political parties. Now he’s undermining that message by threatening to take action that could put many of his supporters out of work.
Those freshly out of work Americans would find themselves in a world with huge price increases on everything from avocados to gasoline. Texans would bear the lion’s share of the economic toll — about $5.35 billion, according to the U.S. Chamber of Commerce.
Elsewhere, supply lines to auto makers, produce vendors and other businesses would begin to slow severely.
The U.S. imports about $372 billion of goods from Mexico each year, according to the Texas-Mexico Trade Coalition. Of that, $107 billion comes directly through Texas, which contains six of the 10 major import ports of entry.
“You’re going to see a huge impact not only on the border communities but throughout the state and throughout the United States,” coalition chairman Eddie Aldrete said.
In total, as Sen. Ted Cruz rightly noted, the tariff would amount to a “$30 billion tax increase on Texans.”
Texans can’t pay it. We don’t deserve to, and we won’t accept the bill because our president won’t listen to us.
Mr. President, hear our voice. We might talk a little slower, but we’ve got good ideas. Here in the Lone Star State, we know what works for Texas and what doesn’t.