by Julie Tisdale
City & County Policy Analyst
There’s a great piece in the News & Observer today about the way that tariffs on steel and aluminum will affect the breweries and the price of beer. It’s interesting to me that the Commerce Secretary, who is very, very wealthy, talk about how negligible the impact will be, while a local brewer, who’s considerably less wealthy, talks about the importance of saving fractions of a cent.
It seems clear to me that the brewer understand his business better than the Commerce Secretary and is right on this issue. Fractions of a penny do matter for the brewery, because they’re repeated hundreds of thousands of times. And they matter for the consumer because, again, they’re repeated over and over on every product that uses aluminum or steel as a component or in production. It’s not just my beer that becomes a bit more expensive, but everything else as well. That adds up.
It also seems clear that this problem of wealthy politicians imposing taxes they see as marginal without appreciating the real impact of those taxes have on normal people isn’t limited to Washington. It’s the same thing I hear when counties try to sell voters on a quarter-cent sales tax increase or a new bond. Or when cities want to raise property taxes. Elected officials at all levels need to remember that, for most people, those little bits do matter.
Or, as an old Scottish friend used to remind me, “Many a mickle makes a muckle.”