President Donald Trump talks to the media before boarding Marine One on the South Lawn of the White House, Friday, Nov. 9, 2018, in Washington. (AP Photo/Evan Vucci) ORG XMIT: DCEV204

I, like most Americans, have been hearing plenty about trade tariffs, but today I got to see a glimpse of what President Donald Trump’s “bargaining tool with the Chinese” is costing me. As a “mom and pop” small manufacturer, we buy dozens of parts and components that go into our product.

I placed an order for 100 small, molded electrical connectors today and was charged a 12.5 percent tariff since the product is made in China. I’ve searched without success to find an American manufacturer offering this item. So it appears that the federal government just collected a 12.5 percent tariff from me that is going into the general fund of the government. Conservative Republicans who sent Trump to Washington love to chant “No New Taxes,” but I ask, just what should I call this tariff? Is it not simply a new tax with a different name? I’m now concerned that I’ll continue to be hit with tariffs on other items I buy that go into our machine. We went into 2019 holding our 2018 prices, so I either have to increase prices to my customers or reduce my profit margin. And by the way, I’m a lifelong independent voter with moderate views, so please don’t label me as a liberal Democrat simply because I question the wisdom of our president.

Rebounding economy, tariffs, real estate shakeups, tax breaks make 2018 business headlines

John Singleton

equipment manufacturer