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Published: Thursday, March 08, 2018 @ 6:25 PM
Updated: Thursday, March 08, 2018 @ 6:25 PM
LOS ANGELES — A broad swath of U.S. industries is unhappy with the tariffs that the Trump administration is imposing on aluminum and steel imports, warning the penalties will jack up costs, raise prices for consumers and potentially put people out of work.
Despite objections voiced by many business trade groups and lawmakers, the White House forged ahead Thursday with its plan to levy tariffs of 25 percent on imported steel and 10 percent on aluminum. The tariffs, which President Donald Trump says are needed to protect U.S. workers, are scheduled to take effect in 15 days.
Several industry trade groups pushed back against the necessity of the new policy, saying the tariffs will lead to higher costs for businesses and could spark a broader trade war.
"Today's action could ultimately cost far more American jobs than it would create, and raise costs on consumer products," said Gary Shapiro, president and CEO of the Consumer Technology Association, which represents more than 2,200 companies.
"The imposition of tariffs will undoubtedly result in previously uninvolved sectors being retaliated against and create a dangerous race to the bottom, which is a threat to our domestic economy and the entire global trading system," Shapiro added.
U.S. automakers are among the businesses with the most at stake, given they account for 38 percent of the aluminum and 15 percent of the steel consumed in the country, according to Ward's Automotive Reports.
There are about 1,100 pounds of steel and 400 pounds of aluminum in the average two-ton U.S. vehicle, according to the Center for Automotive Research, an industry think tank in Ann Arbor, Michigan.
The Alliance of Automobile Manufacturers, a major industry trade group, warned the tariffs will also drive up the price of steel made in the U.S. — a cost that it predicts will be passed along to consumers through higher prices on vehicles.
If the entire cost is passed to consumers, which may not be possible, it could add about $300 to the price of the average vehicle, said Kristen Dziczek, director of Center for Automotive Research's Industry, Labor & Economics Group.
But automakers could absorb price increases or figure out some other way to offset the increases, Dziczek said. Plus, companies usually lock in steel and aluminum prices with long-term contracts, so it could take years for price increases to kick in, she said.
General Motors doesn't expect the tariffs to hurt that much, partly because of its long-term contracts.
"We have shown we have the ability to adjust and adapt to a variety of market changes around the world and that will be our approach on this issue as well," said the company that owns popular auto brands such as Chevrolet, Buick and Cadillac.
Beer lovers also may feel the ripple effects of the tariffs, according to the Beer Institute, a trade group representing the world's largest brewers. It estimates the 10 percent tariff on the aluminum encasing most of the beer sold in the U.S. will increase the cost of the beverage by $348 million annually and threaten more than 20,000 jobs in the industry.
"Imported aluminum used to make beer cans is not a threat to national security," said Jim McGreevy, the Beer Institute's CEO.
The tariffs would have a far reaching impact that goes beyond beer cans and cars to other products that people wouldn't expect, such as furniture and lamps, said Hun Quach, vice president of trade at the Retail Industry Leaders Association, a retail trade group counts such members as Walmart, Best Buy and Home Depot.
Quach dismissed Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross's recent comments that these tariffs would mean insignificant price increases on cans of Campbell soup and Coca-Cola. She argued that view doesn't take into account the volume of cans and other items that companies have to buy that would result in significant costs to their bottom line.
The tariffs also come at a time when retailers are rushing to remodel their stores and build huge e-commerce distribution centers that require steel, Quach noted.
"Our point is that these tariffs are going to have a bigger impact on our American economy than what their goal is," she said.
The head of the National Retail Federation, whose members include department store chains, grocery stores and other merchants around the world, also raised objections to the tariffs Thursday, calling them a tax on all Americans.
"A tariff is a tax, plain and simple," said Matthew Shay, president and CEO of the NRF. "Consumers are just beginning to see more money in their paychecks following tax reform, but those gains will soon be offset by higher prices for products ranging from canned goods to cars to electronics."
Housing trade groups also took a dim view of the tariffs, saying the policy would lead to higher costs and hinder development at a time when the nation faces a severe shortage in homes and rental housing.
"Policies that increase the cost of development stand in the way of meeting urgent housing demand as well as imperil the economic and employment gains achieved through tax reform," said Cindy Chetti, senior vice president of government affairs at the National Multifamily Housing Council, which represents 1,200 apartment housing owners, managers, developers and investors.
The National Association of Home Builders noted the tariffs would pile on more costs on builders and, ultimately, homebuyers.
The tariffs could lead to job losses at aerospace and defense companies, said Eric Fanning, president and CEO of the Aerospace Industries Association, which represents more than 300 manufacturers and suppliers.
The tariffs are welcome news for aluminum and steel companies, however.
Even before Trump signed off on the new tariffs, U.S. Steel provided him with a proof point for his rationale by announcing it would reopen part of a Granite City, Illinois, plant that closed in 2015 in a move that the company blamed in part on "unfairly traded imports."
The reopening will bring back about 500 U.S. Steel workers who had lost their jobs in the closure.
U.S. Steel CEO David Burritt hailed Trump for taking steps "to begin to level the playing field so companies like ours can compete, win and create jobs that support our employees and the communities in which we operate as well as strengthen our national and economic security."
Published: Thursday, March 22, 2018 @ 1:40 PM
— Need some extra cash or an ongoing side hustle?
It can pay (literally) to get a little creative. In fact, in today's inventive economy, it can pay even more if you go beyond "creative" and into the realm of pretty weird. Still, as long as they're legal (and the following suggestions are), what does it hurt to bring home the bucks in an odd fashion?
Serve as an online mock juror
Here's how it works: parties to a legal case require jury-eligible citizens from particular venues. Those selected listen to the case and decide the issues in the same way they would on a convened jury. Most sessions last either eight to 10 hours on a weekend or five to seven hours on weekdays and pay between $100 and $150 per session, just as soon as the "verdict" is returned.
Get paid to be a buddy
Consider the RentaFriend website, which takes applications for people who are wiling to provide (strictly platonic, no touching allowed) friendship in exchange for hourly pay that starts around $10. Fringe benefits include free meals and entertainment like concerts and sporting events.
The reasons people rent friends include needing a date for a business event or wedding or wanting someone to do stuff with in a new town. Some of the friends employed are able to offer additional services, like tutoring in a foreign language or etiquette advice. Do note that RentaFriend doesn't perform background checks on either its friends or its members.
Deliver phone books to real live doorsteps
While those yellow phone books may be old-school, individuals and charity groups who deliver them make modern-day money for their efforts.
Yellow Books doesn't pull any punches about the difficulty of the work: "Make no mistake, this is no walk in the park," they say. "It's good old-fashioned door to door deliveries so that means lacing up those runners, heading out into the fresh air and getting that blood pumping!”
On the plus side, you only have to be 18 or older, you can earn more the harder you work, you get paid four or five times per week during delivery season and you can often choose your turf. Yellow Books recommends checking out the active delivery locations listed on its "Where & When" page and then attending a 30 minute orientation to get started.
Drop in on lazy dogs. Or maybe iguanas
While Rover is known as the nation's largest network of pet sitters and dog walkers, it also offers a "drop-in" option. That means you can create a business through them (if you pass the qualifications test) where you mostly stop by to feed and check on low-maintenance dogs, cats or caged pets.
Play video games
Apparently, a few experts actually make a living playing the popular golf arcade game Golden Tee. In 2017, GO Banking Rates advised gamers to check out the earning potential of playing games while streaming live on video platforms like Twitch. "There, fans can interact with you as you play. Of course, it helps if you're actually good at the game, and can talk strategy and character builds. On Twitch, streamers with a few thousand followers and five-figure views earn an average of $3,000 to $5,000 per month playing 40 hours per week, and that's just off subscriptions. On top of that, ad revenue averages about $250 for every 100 subscribers."
According to the Smartasset blog, the three components of a Twitch channel are the game play itself, the webcam video of the player and the audio commentary. "That means broadcasters need a computer or console and other gaming equipment, plus a camera and a microphone headset for broadcasting purposes."
Make your backyard a wedding venue
"Renting out your property for backyard weddings is also a great way for homeowners to generate income while helping couples create a special day their guests will never forget," according to the Install It Direct blog. Venuelust estimated that engaged couples will spend anywhere from $2,500 to $30,000 for a unique venue, but of course you could start smaller in the beginning.
Published: Thursday, March 22, 2018 @ 3:16 PM
— Charles Lazarus, who founded Toys ‘R’ Us, has died.
The retailer confirmed that Lazarus, 94, died Thursday morning. He no longer had any ownership position in the chain, but he started the company when he was 24 years old in 1948. He served as CEO until 1994.
“There have been many sad moments for Toys”R”Us in recent weeks, and none more heartbreaking than today’s news about the passing of our beloved founder, Charles Lazarus. Our thoughts and prayers are with Charles’ family and loved ones,” the company posted on Twitter.
» MUST-READ BUSINESS NEWS: Toys ‘R’ Us files for bankruptcy: What’s really going on?
Toys ‘R’ Us Inc. voluntarily filed for relief under Chapter 11, in September 2017. Toys R Us was $5 billion in debt, as of April 29. At the time of bankruptcy, the company said it would close about one-fifth of its store locations. Closing sales are expected to conclude in April.
The retailer will shut or sell all of its 735 U.S. stores. Customers should use any gift cards before April 20.
Toys “R” Us liquidation sales are expected to start on Friday. Approximately 31,000 employees will ultimately be laid off due to the store closings. The retailer has locations in Miami Twp. and Beavercreek.
FIVE FAST BUSINESS READS
Published: Friday, March 23, 2018 @ 10:21 AM
The former Montgomery County fairgrounds and the Dayton Arcade are going to be redeveloped less than two miles apart, but a University of Dayton official says the school pictures the two projects as complementary, not competitive.
“We wouldn’t be involved in both projects if we thought they weren’t going to be complementary,” said Andy Horner, chief financial officer at University of Dayton. “There are limited resources to go around but we think there’s going to be enough for both to be exceptionally successful and bring additional investment into the Miami Valley.”
UD is both partnering with Premier Health on redeveloping the fairgrounds and is also a key anchor tenant at the Arcade. The separate Arcade project calls for bringing the vacant downtown complex back to life as a hub of housing, shops and restaurants.
Horner spoke along with two other project representatives Friday morning to present an update on the fairgrounds project to the I-70/75 Development Association.
The early proposal for the Arcade includes a call for an “innovation hub” that would include housing the University of Dayton Center for Entrepreneurship and some faculty.
Published: Tuesday, March 20, 2018 @ 12:46 PM
LEBANON — Warren County commissioners approved a community reinvestment area on Tuesday for 178 acres west of Ohio 48 in Hamilton Twp.
The agreement sets the stage for the township and school board to negotiate a tax sharing agreement for commercial or industrial development of the former SUMCO industrial site off Grandin Road, officials said.
The township is working with the owners of the property, the Rippe family and Joe Geraci, on a development there, Community Development Coordinator Michelle Tegtmeier said.
RELATED: South Lebanon annexes 220 acres
The formation of the reinvestment area comes after land, including the former Peters Cartridge Factory development, was annexed by South Lebanon, as part of an agreement for the developer to get a tax abatement on this development, costing the Little Miami Schools tax revenue on developments.
RELATED: History of Peters Cartridge Factory
The abatements granted in the new area would be 50 to 100 percent for up to 15 years.
Commissioner Shannon Jones noted property taxes have dwindled on the land since SUMCO left the site eight years ago.
Assistant Warren County Prosecutor Bruce McGary said the resolution establishing the reinvestment area set up a process including the school district “at the table” for negotiations of more than 50 percent in property tax breaks.
The former SUMCO complex is expected to be demolished in anticipation of new development on the industrial site.
Commissioner Dave Young specified that tax incentives would not be used to subsidize residential development.
“The main purpose is to drive commercial, industrial,” said Matthew Schnipke of the county economic development office.
The area also enables Hamilton Twp. “to be competitive with other areas,” including South Lebanon and other cities capable of offering similar incentives in exchange for annexation from the township.
The tax abatement agreements are more lucrative for cities and villages, which collect earning tax from businesses, unless a township is part of joint economic development district with such taxing authority.
“We really think this would be a kick-start,” Tegtmeier said, creating a better tax base for the heavily residential township, south of Lebanon and west of Mason. “Right now, we have nothing.”
Young said he typically opposes creating tax incentive areas through which communities compete with each other.