Aug 14, 2018

Measuring the Damage of Tariffs

Post by Freedom Partners

In a little over 100 days, Washington’s steel and aluminum tariffs have garnered more than $1.4 billion in federal revenue. And this is just the beginning. The federal government is projected to extract $7.5 billion from these tariffs by the end of the year.

Tariffs are taxes on American consumers and companies, not foreign businesses. All the revenue that Washington has raised has come directly from hardworking Americans.

This represents a toll on American businesses and job creators.

Washington has also promised that, in levying these tariffs on foreign goods, other nations feeling this economic pain will be forced to lower their own trade barriers on our goods. In effect, this is gambling the livelihoods of Americans and their businesses on the dubious presumption that foreign countries will capitulate to protectionist trade policies.

While there are many ways to lower trade barriers worldwide — principally by negotiating through international trade organizations and written agreements — tariffs only create political and economic dysfunction, with little promise that they will fulfill their intended goal.

While we strongly support President Trump’s vision for zero-tariff trade, imposing heavy taxation on Americans — made worse by retaliatory tariffs — is not at all the proper method to achieve that aim.

The toll on American businesses because of Washington’s tariffs has been heavy and extends beyond the direct impact of higher taxes. Many companies have been forced to lay off workers, cut production or shift it overseas, or freeze their exports. Some have even shut down.

While tax reform measures have been hugely successful in benefitting American families, tariffs risk undoing that progress, raising the prices of goods, creating economic uncertainty and harming businesses.

To learn more about the disastrous effects of tariffs on the economy, go to our Tariff Tracker blog and see how American businesses are dealing with the fallout.