Tar­iffs are hurt­ing con­sumers

The Citizens' Voice - - EDITORIAL -

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.

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