Trade

Trump Admits His Tariffs Are Bad For Business, Consumers

JM Ashby
Written by JM Ashby

When the office of United States Trade Representative (USTR) first announced that some of Trump's tariffs on $300 billion in Chinese goods would be delayed from September 1st to December 15th, the USTR did not spell out why they would be delayed.

I casually speculated that they wouldn't tell us the reason because it would require them to explicitly state that Trump's tariffs are bad for business and consumers, but fortunately -- or unfortunately depending on your perspective -- we can usually count on Trump to say the quiet parts out loud.

Trump spoke to reporters outside the White House yesterday where he admitted that his tariffs were delayed because they would have wrecked the holiday shopping season.

"We're doing this for the Christmas season," Trump told reporters on an airport tarmac around noon Tuesday. "Just in case some of the tariffs would have an impact on U.S. customers."

"So far they've had virtually none," the president added. "But just in case they might have an impact on people, what we've done is we've delayed it, so that they won't be relevant to the Christmas shopping season." [...]

A slew of Christmas-related products also appeared on the delay list. They include decorations for "Christmas festivities, nativity scenes and figures thereof," as well as Christmas tree lights and ornaments.

If it's true that tariffs would be bad for business and consumers during the holiday shopping season, then they're also bad for business and consumers at any other time of year. The holiday shopping season is simply an especially sensitive time of year.

Even CNBC covered this as an admission for Trump who has long claimed that China is paying for his tariffs. It's an admission that, within the White House, there is an understanding that Americans would have paid for Trump's tariffs on consumer goods like toys and electronics during the busiest shopping season of the year.

The fact that Trump's tariffs on the most popular consumer goods are still coming on December 15th right before Christmas is still bound to have some effect on holiday shopping. We also don't know what goods will be subject to tariffs on September 1st.

Trump's position and rhetoric looks especially weak now and China is bound to notice. They don't have to do anything and Trump will still flail out of control.

  • muselet

    Maybe it’s an admission, maybe it’s not.

    On one hand, Donald Trump is doing that weird saying-the-same-words-in-a-different-order thing he does when he experiences cognitive dissonance, so maybe he does understand at some level that tariffs are paid by, and hurt, consumers and not producers. On the other hand, he may believe the Chinese will increase prices just to make Americans suffer, so delaying some tariffs takes away China’s excuse.

    On the gripping hand, Trump may just be parroting without understanding some words his aides have convinced him to say. He doesn’t know why, but he’s been told it makes him look magnanimous, so he’s just going out and delivering the lines that were handed to him.

    As long as Trump can be convinced he’s winning his trade war with China, he won’t (deliberately) blow up the world economy.

    –alopecia

  • Draxiar

    I wonder is some wormtongue is whispering into trumps selective hearing ear that the economy is about to take a stinky shit because of his tariffs…and in an election year no less.