Although the federal tax cuts promoted by President Donald Trump and passed by the Republican Congress, without a single Democrat vote in support of the plan, are not yet fully in place Tennessee voters support the plan according to a new Tennessee Star poll conducted in early September.
The tax cut plan produced immediate bonuses for many workers, but most voters won’t see the actual benefits until they file their 2018 tax returns in 2019. Nevertheless, the issue is becoming a talking point in the 2018 election cycle in Tennessee and other states.
The Tennessee Star poll asked likely November general election voters whether the new tax laws had produced any impact. Forty-one percent said the new tax laws had been “for the better” for them; 16.1% said “for the worse”, 34% “not much impact so far”, and 8.9% were not sure or didn’t know. Most economic experts have credited the tax law changes, along with Trump Administration regulatory reform, with spurring the financial gains generated in the past year that have produced record lows of unemployment among blacks and hispanics, record levels of employment and wage gains, and an apparent boom in manufacturing reinvestment.
Numerous “gloom and doom” predictions regarding the tariff increases that have been imposed by the Trump Administration in connection with their efforts to reduce the trade and tariff barriers that keep U.S. goods and services out of other countries while U.S. import barriers remain low are not affecting the support that Tennessee voters have for the Trump negotiation approach.
Voters were asked whether they “support or oppose the higher tariffs, which are taxes, on products that foreign countries sell in the U.S. that President Trump has put in place in order to force them to lower the tariffs on products that the U.S. sells in their countries.” A slight majority – 54.1% – indicated that they “support increasing tariffs on foreign products until they lower their tariffs on our products.” 34.1% oppose increasing tariffs on foreign products, and 11.9% are unsure or don’t know. The twenty point margin of support for the Trump approach reflects a high level of trust in the negotiation skills of the President.
Tennessee Star Political Editor Steve Gill, who formerly served as a U.S. international trade official for both the George H.W. Bush and Bill Clinton Administrations, says the Trump negotiation method seems to be working. “There is apparently a deal to reform NAFTA that has been reached with Mexico which will resolve the tariff issues with Mexico, and Canada is desperately trying to become a part of that ‘deal’; and European countries are close to resolving the tariff gaps with the U.S. that could leave China out on a limb by itself,” Gill notes. “The point is not to raise the taxes or tariffs on goods imported into the U.S., but to lower the taxes and tariffs that are keeping our goods and services out of those other countries. If and when that happens, U.S. farm and manufacturing exporters will see huge gains that will quickly erase any short term loses that were experienced in the process of opening those foreign markets.”
Gill expects there to be resolution of most of the tariff issues before the first of October, which will not only take it off the table as a political talking point and “fear” driven issue for the November elections, but actually produce another “win” for Trump heading into the mid-term elections.