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‘Approximately 100 Percent’ of Trump’s Tariffs Were Paid by American Buyers: Report


When President Donald Trump told reporters on Dec. 27 that China was “still paying tremendous amounts of tariffs,” to the United States, it marked the 108 time that he president falsely conveyed which country pays for import tariffs in 2019, according to an analysis by Yahoo Finance.

A tariff is simply a tax paid by importers or exporters in the U.S. for a certain class of goods — a fact that hasn’t stopped the president from concocting nonsensical rationalizations to convince Americans that China has somehow been footing the bill for his administration’s imposed tariffs.

“Don’t let them tell you, the fact is – China devalues their currency, they pour money into their system. Because of that, you’re not paying for those tariffs. China’s paying for those tariffs,” Trump told an Ohio crowd at a rally in August. “Until such time as there is a deal, we will be taxing the hell out of China.”

But despite the president’s economic gaslighting, the National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER) recently confirmed that “U.S. tariffs continue to be almost entirely borne by U.S. firms and consumers,” according to a Tuesday report from the New York Times.

Based on a working paper authored by economist at the Federal Reserve Bank of New York Mary Amiti, Columbia University professor David E. Weinstein, and Stephen J. Redding of Princeton, the trio’s research concluded that American buyers paid for “approximately 100 percent” of the Trump administration’s tariffs.

According to the report, the authors traced the value of imports before and after tariffs were imposed using customs data, revealing the levies to have had a negligible impact on China.

“We’re just not seeing foreigners bearing the cost, which to me is very surprising,” Professor Weinstein said in an interview with the Times.

The latest NBER report only adds to an uncontradicted body of research that confirms the president’s tariffs are costing the U.S., not China, billions of dollars a year.

“In previous research, the authors found that by December 2018, import tariffs were costing United States consumers and importing businesses $3.2 billion per month in added taxes and another $1.4 billion per month in efficiency losses,” the Times reported. “Another study, published in October by researchers at Harvard University, the University of Chicago and the Federal Reserve Bank of Boston, also found that almost all of the cost of the tariffs was being passed on from businesses in China to American importers.”

A Monday report from ProPublica similarly found that the administration’s plan has not produced the promised results for average Americans, essentially only causing prices to rise as manufacturers move their plants to countries where manufacturing costs overall are slightly higher, but not nearly as costly as producing in the United States.

“Companies have moved manufacturing out of China — and it has mostly gone to Vietnam, Taiwan and Mexico,” the report stated. “Tariffs are chiefly behind a months-long decline in domestic manufacturing, Federal Reserve researchers have found. The total loss of jobs across the [U.S.] economy may be as high as 300,000.”

[image via ROBERTO SCHMIDT_AFP_Getty Images]

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Jerry Lambe is a journalist at Law&Crime. He is a graduate of Georgetown University and New York Law School and previously worked in financial securities compliance and Civil Rights employment law.