The latest threats of tariffs against China issued by President Donald Trump could result in many consequential outcomes for U.S. businesses, but it could also strike at the heart of one of the president’s most loyal parts of his political base.
Book publishers are warning that there could be a Bible shortage as a result of Trump’s threatened tariffs, CBS News reported. Specialized printing services, including the ability to print on extremely thin pieces of paper (and to print illustrations on said paper slices), left the U.S. decades ago, moving instead to China where many companies now outsource their work to.
A proposed 25 percent tariff on products imported from China, including books utilizing the thin types of paper produced there, could result in some companies ordering less Bibles, making it difficult for people to purchase them in the states. Another possible outcome could be that publishers may have to charge higher prices for the Bibles they import, resulting in middle- to lower-income families being unable or unwilling to buy them.
Mark Schoenwald, president of HarperCollins Christian Publishing division, testified to the government recently on the consequences that could come about due to the tariffs.
This from such a champion for the religious?🙄 https://t.co/jHz7KwlIBF
— George Takei (@GeorgeTakei) July 9, 2019
“We believe the administration was unaware of the potential negative impact these proposed tariffs would have on the publishing industry generally, and that it never intended to impose a ‘Bible Tax’ on consumers and religious organizations,” Schoenwald said.
The tariffs could mean Trump may be jeopardizing one of his most reliable bases of voters, white Evangelical Christians (and would likely mean that he might not get the “Book of Trump” addendum to the Bible that some have been calling for).
At the same time, it might not have any disastrous outcome at all. Trump’s less-than-Christian behavior hasn’t seemed to disrupt his ability to court that voting bloc as yet. Christians may struggle to find examples of Trump’s religion in action, but that doesn’t necessarily mean they love him any less.
According to New York Magazine, 70 percent of weekly churchgoing evangelicals approved of Trump’s job performance earlier this year, a much higher rating than Trump typically gets from citizens overall.