Today's planned inauguration of President-elect Donald Trump was hailed Thursday on the weekday morning news show Fox & Friends by Cleveland, Tenn., entrepreneur Allan Jones, who made a fortune in the payday loan business with Check Into Cash and gave a new lease on life to Hardwick Clothes, a 300-employee Cleveland men's suit-making company, when he purchased it out of bankruptcy for $1.9 million in 2014.
"Every businessperson I know is optimistic and hopeful for the first time in eight years," Jones told the show's three hosts.
"A business guy can make things happen. We've never had one of these before. We've always had politicians," Jones said. "It's kind of what our forefathers envisioned, is people like that running the country."
Jones described a problem faced by Hardwick Clothes, which he said is the oldest tailor-made clothing company in America.
"We have this made-in-America tax, where we have to pay fabric tax when [fabric] comes into the country," Jones said. "It's a tariff. Canada, for example — you know when Ross Perot said there was a giant sucking sound to Mexico? Well, he was right. Except in the clothing business, the sucking sound went to Canada. Because they will buy the same material — we have to pay a 25 percent tax on it. They will get it without the tax."
According to Global Trade Solutions, the MFN (most favored nation) duty rate on fabric in the United States is 11.4 percent, plus state and local governments can impose sales taxes which some provinces in Canada do not charge.
"So it's really unfair to the American manufacturer," Jones said.
Obama rattled businessmen when he was inaugurated in January 2009, Jones said.
"We were all extremely nervous," said Jones, who said he employs some 3,000 people in his various businesses. "So if I get nervous, we start cutting back."
The show's co-host, Steve Doocy, praised Jones for buying Hardwick Clothes.
"You saved those people's jobs," Doocy said.
"It was more than the jobs, it was saving an icon for Cleveland, Tenn., where I'm from," Jones said. "It was our oldest industry and it had been there since 1880."
"I thought I could turn it around," he said. "But it's still a struggle; it's hard."