Monday U.S. Senator Doug Jones told a townhall audience in Hamilton that he is concerned about the economy.
Jones acknowledged that the economy was doing strong, but warned that it ‘fragile.”
Jones said that it is not a good sign that the Federal Reserve lowered interest rates. “That have detected some weakness in the economy,” Jones said of the decision to lower rates.
Jones said that President Trump was right to stand up to China. “For too long China has been able to get way with a lot.” Jones says that the Chinese are guilty of currency manipulation, dumping, and the theft of intellectual property.
Jones grew up in Fairfield and he blamed Chinese dumping of steel partly for the decline there.
“At one point, U.S. Steel had 23,000, people working at the Fairfield Works. Today there is less than a 1,000 people working there.”
Jones expressed frustration in the President’s strategy because he also attacked our allies. By picking fights with everybody at the same time, that meant that our allies, “aren’t helping us with China. We are going it alone on China.”
Jones said that a tariff is just another tax. The tariffs drive up the cost to produce cars at Mercedes, at Honda, and at Hyundai because there are parts from all over the world on all of these vehicles that are assembled here. The tariffs mean that you would pay ten to 25 percent more for everything produced in China.
“I am worried about our agriculture because of tariffs,” Jones said. “Soybean farmers and cotton farmers are getting hit hard.”
“You can’t sell the soybeans,” Jones said. The administration is provided aid to farmers, but “Farmers don’t want a hand out they want a market. The Chinese bought half of our soybeans. If something does not change farmers are going to lose that market in China. There are more and more bankruptcies among farmers there are more and more suicides among farmers.”
The suicide rate among American farmers has soared to where it is now double that of even veterans.
Jones said that the farmers have been sticking with the President, as they should.
Former State Senator Roger Bedford (D-Russellville) praised Jones for his work on the bipartisan farm bill.
Jones said that the Senate passed a Farm Bill with broad bipartisan support. Bipartisan farm
“We got some really good things there,” Jones said.
Jones said that he worked on getting protections for cotton farmers and making sure that cotton had a federal program.
Jones did praise the new “NAFTA”, the Mexico, Canada Agreement as being an improvement over the previous agreement, though he said that he would like to see some environmental issues addressed in there.
Doug Jones was elected in a special election in 2017. He is a former U.S. Attorney and previously had worked in the Senate as an aide to the late Howell Heflin (D- Alabama).