Now that President Trump has made tariffs a good thing in the eyes of most Republicans, many conservatives seem to have forgotten why we adamantly opposed them for years. Many have selective memory regarding their opposition to Senators Chuck Schumer and Bernie Sanders as they pushed for tariffs on China. The reason fiscal conservatives do not support tariffs is because it’s American consumers and businesses who pay for them, not China.
This is a fact. It’s not contested, though it’s conveniently ignored by those who so desperately want President Trump to win they’re unwilling to speak out when his victories align with fiscally irresponsible Democrats.
In June, Schumer said, “I thought what he did on China is right.” Just before that, Sanders said, “I strongly support imposing stiff penalties on countries like China.” It seems the Republican Party has aligned with the backwards economic policies of the left that increase costs to American businesses and consumers simply because Tariff Man said it was going to work. It won’t.
….I am a Tariff Man. When people or countries come in to raid the great wealth of our Nation, I want them to pay for the privilege of doing so. It will always be the best way to max out our economic power. We are right now taking in $billions in Tariffs. MAKE AMERICA RICH AGAIN
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) December 4, 2018
When Chinese companies are forced to pay a tariff to export to the United States, they don’t just take the hit and roll with it. They raise prices to compensate. That means American companies and their consumers are forced to pay more. This isn’t complicated economic math. Conservatives have always opposed tariffs because we realize the benefits are greatly outweighed by the detriments.
Tariffs are a way for the federal government to essentially tax Americans through the increased money they pay to foreign countries for their imports. They sometimes have the benefit of forcing companies to turn away from imports and pay higher prices to domestic sources, which is one of the goals the President has highlighted. But whether these companies are paying higher prices because of the tariffs or higher prices to domestic sources, the end result is American consumers invariably pay more for their products.
Free trade works in this global economy because it minimizes the costs passed through to consumers. We are a consumer-driven nation. Our economy does not thrive through “fair trade” because we are no longer reliant on exports to drive us fiscally. That’s not to say exports are bad. Generally speaking, they’re no longer our forte. Tariffs worked in the first half of the 20th century because the global economy allowed for it. Today, the global economy has producers and consumers. We fall in the latter category, and that’s not a bad thing. It means we need to produce through innovation and expansion, not reliance on exports to keep our economy afloat.
Democrats have perpetuated the false pretense that tariffs still benefit Americans today because it’s an additional source of revenue drawn from American businesses and consumers that does not need to be classified as a tax. However, tariffs act like a tax that’s filtered through other countries. We charge China. China charges American businesses. American businesses charge consumers. In the end, it’s Americans paying more of their hard-earned money that ends up in the federal government’s coffers.
Conservatives need to remember why a majority of Republicans opposed tariffs until three years ago. We need to remember why Schumer and Sanders so adamantly support them. Just because they’re being pushed by Republicans doesn’t mean they’re right.