Trump, tariffs, and farmers

Editors at the Washington Examiner take aim at President Trump’s support for protectionist tariffs.

“I appreciate the incredible bipartisan support that my administration has had on trade and trade policy, especially as it pertains to placing very massive tariffs on China,” President Trump said at his press conference last Thursday. “And just so you understand: These tariffs are paid for largely by China.”

What Trump said is not true. American consumers who buy goods from China — the end users — are the ones paying these “very massive” tariffs. Even if China subsidizes the goods they buy, they are paying more than they would otherwise.

Also paying the taxes are Americans who buy and make products that contain Chinese raw materials. Contrary to Trump’s comment that “you don’t have to pay” if you move your operation to the U.S., American manufacturers have been among those hit hardest by tariffs against steel and aluminum.

But the clearest evidence so far that Americans pay the tariffs is the “very massive” $16 billion subsidy package that Trump was there on Thursday to announce. American commodity agriculture is a profitable export business without government interference, yet now taxpayers must bail out American farmers because of tariffs.

And mind you, they didn’t ask for this bailout, but they wouldn’t need a bailout if not for Trump’s tariff war.

Mitch Kokai / Senior Political Analyst

Mitch Kokai is senior political analyst for the John Locke Foundation. He joined JLF in December 2005 as director of communications. That followed more than four years as chie...

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