Tariffs are hurting consumers
While expanding his trade war with China recently by adding tariffs to billions of dollars worth of consumer goods, President Donald Trump said that “China is now paying us billions of dollars in tariffs …”
Actually, you are paying those billions of dollars. The taxes on imports are collected at the border and then passed to consumers.
Thousands of production workers for Ford also will pay for the tariffs with their jobs. Analysts said last week that tariffs on steel and aluminum had cost Ford about $1 billion, and the company announced major layoffs.
It did not provide a specific number but Morgan Stanley put it at 24,000 worldwide, about 12 percent of its total workforce.
Tariffs Hurt the Heartland, an anti-tariff coalition of agricultural, industrial and commercial enterprises, reported Thursday that steel tariffs alone have cost consumers about $1.5 billion so far, including $98 billion in Pennsylvania.
It said that Pennsylvanians have spent an additional $5 million a month on consumer products directly due to tariffs.
Consumers in other states have been hit harder. The organization said the impact in Texas is $389 million; Michigan, $139 million; California $104 million; Illinois, $103 million; and Ohio, $77 million. Those figures do not include the impact of the latest round of tariffs on $200 billion of Chinese-produced products.
The report also does not include the economic impact on U.S. businesses of tariffs imposed abroad on their products in retaliation for the tariffs imposed by Trump.
Tariffs might make sense as part of a broad trade strategy.
But except for adjustments to the North American Free Trade Agreement, the taxes on U.S. consumers are all that the administration has done on trade — other than tear up a promising Pacific Rim trade pact that would have put enormous pressure on China to deal fairly with a dozen countries within a massive combined market.
Congress should intervene to stop the imposition of these taxes on U.S. consumers.