Kentucky car dealer tries to sell Congress on ditching trade war

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WASHINGTON (Gray DC) -- A Central Kentucky car dealer makes his sales pitch to end the President’s trade war.

Steve Gates called himself a, “third-generation car guy,” as he addressed the powerful Senate Finance Committee. He warned the White House plan to pump up taxes on imported steel and aluminum would be a major road block.

“It would be devastating,” he told this reporter following the hearing.

Gates said car dealers and manufacturers largely absorbed the cost of current tariffs. But, he told Senators going further down the trade war road could crunch sales and lighten the wallets of every driver in the country.

“Price of car goes up, price of parts goes up, that means your insurance goes up,” he said explaining the economic ripple effect.

With few exceptions – Senators on the right and left in the hearing today voiced sympathy with Gates’ concern over tariffs. “I call tariffs a tax on American families,” said Committee Chairman Sen. Orrin Hatch (R-UT).

The constitution gives congress the power to set taxes on foreign goods, but, over the last several decades, lawmakers largely left those decisions to the White House.

In a break with most academics, the president’s trade advisors argue history makes the case for tariffs. “They have created prosperity, and right now the president’s tariffs policies are doing just that,” National Trade Council Director Peter Navarro.

Spokespeople for President Donald Trump’s administration said the policies are bringing back manufacturing jobs in places like rural Kentucky.

Navarro argues the short-term pain on auto-manufacturers will be worth it if China is strong-armed into playing by international trade rules. “If this president doesn’t stand up for America right now, we will essentially lose our economy and manufacturing base,” he said.

Some senators suggest it’s time to reverse course and take tariff responsibility back, but for now, President Trump remains in the driver’s seat

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