President Trump Retreats on Chinese Tariffs | Citizens Against Government Waste
The WasteWatcher: The Staff Blog of Citizens Against Government Waste

President Trump Retreats on Chinese Tariffs

The WasteWatcher is the staff blog of Citizens Against Government Waste (CAGW) and the Council for Citizens Against Government Waste (CCAGW). For questions, contact blog@cagw.org.


President Trump has long insisted that the tariffs he has imposed on US imports of products from China are good for the economy; yet, almost every economist says otherwise. Most research suggests that American consumers share the burden with importers by paying more for these goods.

The Federal Reserve and the University of Chicago released a study that found consumers in the US bore between 125 and 225 percent of the costs of washing machine tariffs. This indicates that American retailers charged even more for appliances than the tariffs had cost them.

The US stock market plunged when President Trump announced that he was going to impose another round of tariffs effective September 1st – this time on Chinese made laptop computers, video game consoles, smart phones, toys, and other products.

On Monday August 12th, the Dow dropped 391 points amid ongoing tariff concerns.

The President then changed course and announced yesterday that he is delaying some of those new tariffs until December 15th. He explained the date change saying he wanted to avoid tariffs leading into the Christmas shopping season. He doesn’t want US consumers to feel this added pain, and the stock market reacted gleefully. The Dow increased 391 points for the day.

The President has argued that tariffs on US imports would lead companies to create more US jobs. However, the trend of jobs returning to the US started well before the trade war as wages grow in China and some US manufacturers have been able to automate more of their production to reduce their costs and payroll.

According to the nonprofit group the Reshoring Initiative, during the president’s first two years in office, companies announced plans to relocate around 145,000 factory jobs to the United States. This adds up to less than one month of average job gains in the US during its expansion over the last decade. In fact, the administration’s trade policies have pushed factory jobs to other low-cost Asian countries besides China — like Vietnam — instead of the United States.

More than half of the jobs that have returned to the US came back before the president imposed his tariffs.

 

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