Trump Has Raised Taxes By the Billions. Where's the Outrage?

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Thought experiment: Imagine if the President of the United States raised taxes on Americans by billions of dollars - and then announced that the tax hike generated so much revenue he is going to raise them even more? How would people react? Petitions, protests, the resurrection of the Tea Party?

Ironically, President Trump is doing exactly that with his trade taxes on Americans buying goods from China - and there is little if any word against the double tax hike by Trump’s most diehard supporters.

The Administration on Tuesday issued a Federal Register notice notifying of a 20 to 25 percent increase as early as Friday on roughly another $200 billion worth of Chinese goods. Last year, Trump imposed tariffs on about a quarter-trillion dollars on imports from China. China has already responded with its own tariffs on American goods, as it is threatening to do again in response to the next round of hikes.

What has been the impact? Tariffs Hurt the Heartland, an umbrella group for industries opposed to the tariffs, calculate that the Trump Administration’s trade sales tax on China has thus far cost U.S importers and consumers, who actually pay the duties, more than $18 billion, a figure growing at a rate of more than $1000 a minute.

That’s the cost to Americans of U.S tariffs thus far. China’s retaliatory tariffs have cost the U.S economy about $40 billion per year, or almost a third of the record $130 billion the United States exported to China in 2017.

Now, one has to ask: How many people say, ‘I think it is great that we are losing thousands of jobs, consumers are paying more for basic goods, and domestic companies are generating declining revenues. Let’s get some more of that.’ As hard as it is to believe, that is exactly what is happening.

The just-announced U.S tariff increases would affect nearly 6,000 products and parts, including many consumer items such as furniture, clothing, electronics, hardware, dishes, bicycles, meat and cereal. The U.S auto companies, already hard hit by steel and aluminum tariffs, believe they will be on the front lines of increased U.S duties. The United States exported more than $10 billion worth of passenger cars to China in 2017, but that dropped by a third last year after China responded to Trump’s previous tariff increases by imposing an additional 25 percent duty on U.S automobiles. Insanity has been defined as constantly doing the same thing over and over and expecting a different result. That is exactly what Trump is doing by continually doubling down on tariff increases.

When you find yourself in a hole, stop digging, according to sage advice. When it comes to its trade with China, the United States finds itself in a deep hole. It’s time to stop digging.

Allan Golombek is a Senior Director at the White House Writers Group. 

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