Presidential candidate California Sen. Kamala Harris has called President Donald Trump’s tariff threat against Mexico the “Trump trade tax” and says it could cost California “like 50,000 jobs because of it,” McClatchy reported.
The numbers Harris used are from a study done by Texas-based economic consulting firm, the Perryman Group. “According to the report, the country stands to lose 400,000 jobs as a result of a 5% tariff on Mexican goods over the course of a year, a figure that would rise if the Trump administration follows through on the president’s threat and increases the tariff rate over time.”
Tariffs are Good For the Economy
A recent study from the Coalition for a Prosperous America found that an across-the-board 25 percent tariff on all China imports “would deliver a significant, sustained boost to the US economy, including the addition of $125 billion to GDP in 2024 and the creation of 721,000 additional jobs.”
Coalition for a Prosperous America found that because costs have been steadily rising in China, production in many sectors was already leaving China for lower cost countries before the US tariff actions. They found 34 other countries with a lower manufacturing cost index than China, including Thailand, Indonesia, and Turkey.
CPA Chief Economist Jeff Ferry said, “This result is consistent with US experience in 2018 and early 2019, when tariffs in steel, aluminum, and other industries led to job creation in those sectors. The modeling results provide additional evidence that decoupling the US economy from China and its predatory trade and subsidy practices will make the US economy stronger, with more production, investment, and jobs.”
“U.S. imports from Mexico came to $372 billion last year, according to the federal government,” Brett Arends with MarketWatch reported. “So slapping a 5% tariff on them amounts to a federal tax hike of … er … $19 billion. Total federal taxes last year: $3.3 trillion. So we’re talking about a 0.6% tax hike.”
“Actually, if Uncle Sam levies $19 billion in extra taxes on imports from Mexico, then he has extra money that he can recycle back into the U.S. economy through spending, or tax cuts,” Arends said. “How much? Try $19 billion.”
Harris is either economically illiterate or deliberately misleading voters with campaign hyperbole.
“President Trump just hiked tariffs from 10% to 25% on about $200 billion in Chinese imports. In other words, he just raised taxes by … $30 billion a year. Oh, no!” Arends at Marketwatch reported. “The total amount we all paid in taxes last year — federal, state and local — was $5.51 trillion. This tax increase that has everyone’s panties in a twist is a rounding error.”
“Even if Trump slapped 25% taxes on all Chinese imports, it would come to a tax hike of … $135 billion a year. U.S. gross domestic product (GDP) last year: $20.5 trillion.”
“Trump’s tariffs are already bringing down food prices. China is going to take less of our farm products. So wheat prices are down 20% since the start of the year. Soybeans are at 10-year lows.”
“The tariffs are simply a means to an end. The president is trying to get China to start buying more of our stuff. He knows the so-called Middle Kingdom, which now has the second-biggest economy in the world, responds to incentives more than to nice words. These tariffs give China an incentive to open up.”
“OK, so China’s first reaction is just to retaliate. Big deal. That’s just posturing,” Arends added.
“Right now we export less to China than we do to Japan, South Korea and Singapore put together. That’s the point. So the effect of China’s new tariffs on the U.S. are yet another rounding error. Even if China banned all imports from the U.S., that would amount to only 0.6% of our gross domestic product. And we’d sell the stuff somewhere else.”
Donald Trump campaigned in 2016 on balancing trade and renegotiating NAFTA. And he is using the tariffs as a negotiating tool.
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