Celebrate Labor Day With Tariffs On Your BBQ

JM Ashby
Written by JM Ashby

About half of Trump's upcoming tariffs on $300 billion in Chinese goods will be imposed this weekend and while the list of tariffs delayed until December 15th includes some of the most visible and popular consumers goods like cell phones and video game consoles, the list of tariffs that will be imposed on Sunday includes many household staples.

Among many other things, the tariffs imposed this weekend will cover at least some consumer electronics and apparel.

From Reuters:

The Sept. 1 tariffs include consumer electronics worth $52 billion, including smart speakers, earbuds and televisions, according to the Consumer Technology Association, an industry group. [...]

Tariffs starting on Sept. 1 will affect $39 billion worth of footwear and clothing, with the December tariffs affecting another $12 billion worth of such products, according to the American Apparel & Footwear Association.

The tariffs Trump imposes this weekend will also cover more basic goods like plastic plates and forks.

Picnic essentials like plastic plates, bowls and serving trays, along with wood-handled barbecue tools, are on the tariff list published by the Office of the U.S. Trade Representative. [...]

From fishing rods to flip-flops, the USTR list covers a wide swath of items for which Americans will probably be surprised to find themselves paying more.

Hanging out in the yard? Toys ranging from soccer balls to sidewalk chalk to swings are getting hit with tariffs starting Sunday. Staying cool also will get pricier: Kiddie pools, water skis, surfboards and canoe paddles are all subject to the new tariffs, too. (Oh, and plan to drip-dry; beach towels are also on the list.)

Don’t count on a trip to your county or state fair to cheer you up: Carnival amusements like merry-go-rounds, shooting galleries and arcade games are also getting slapped with tariffs. The Popsicle stick for your corn dog? Yep, that too.

Trump's trade war has dragged on for so long at this point, it's worth reminding ourselves that Trump has imposed all of his tariffs -- from tariffs on solar panels to steel and Chinese trinkets -- on the legal basis that imports are a threat to national security. The Trump regime has cited Section 232 of the Trade Expansion Act of 1962 to impose his tariffs, an antiquated law that was originally intended to give President John F. Kennedy the authority to block dangerous imports from Cuba. Prior to Trump's abuse of the law, it had only been cited twice in the last 50 years with President Ronald Reagan last invoking it in the 1980s.

I don't know what threat plastic plates and merry-go-rounds or -- *checks notes* -- kiddie pools pose to national security, but there it is.

Many Americans who have not seen the direct cost of Trump's hidden taxes with their own eyes may get a glimpse of it very soon.

  • muselet

    Nothing China—or any other country—is exporting to the US is any conceivable threat to national security.

    Section 232 needs to go away, soon.


    • Tony Lavely

      “Section 232 needs to go away”
      Are you sure that’s not victim-shaming?

      • muselet

        A victim of what? An accurate description?


        • Tony Lavely

          My takeaway was that you believe the law at fault, and not the person applying it. While more clarity or a automatic time limit would certainly be useful, I believe the fault lies with trump and not laws he misuses.
          I regret if I misunderstood you.

          • muselet

            I’m not sure Section 232 serves a useful purpose, no matter who is president.

            It lets Congress off the hook for potentially uncomfortable decisions, it reinforces the non-constitutional idea of a unitary executive and, yes, it makes it far too easy for the likes of Donald Trump to play silly buggers with the world economy.

            I’m willing to be convinced that I’m wrong and that it’s a necessary tool (I’m not challenging you to do so, to be clear). I’ve certainly been wrong before and I could be wrong now. However, I haven’t seen a good argument in favor, and it pleases me to believe I’d be saying the same things if any president invoked Section 232.

            As I keep saying, tariffs are an eighteenth-century solution being applied to a twenty-first–century problem. The world economy is too interconnected for tariffs not to be damaging to the country applying them. The post-WWII consensus, centered on the World Trade Organization was a much better approach to trade disputes.


    • muselet

      Slight correction: nothing covered by this set of tariffs is any conceivable national security threat. As we’ve discussed before, Huawei switching equipment poses a slight risk if government users of wireless equipment don’t take reasonable precautions.

      I stand by my assessment of Section 232 as written.