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Op-Ed by Nikki Haley: Trump's Proposed Tariff Would Hurt American Workers. And Reignite Inflation.

February 19, 2024

By: Nikki Haley
Online here

Imagine if a presidential candidate promised to raise taxes on every American. Imagine if he promised to make life even harder for the middle class and the least fortunate. That candidate would ? and should ?be laughed off the stage and defeated at the ballot box.

But former President Donald Trump is calling for just that ? a massive tax hike on every American. The centerpiece of his economic plan is a 10% tariff on every imported good that comes into our country. A tariff is a tax, plain and simple, and a 10% tariff means adding 10% to the price of every covered item.

Just like a tax hike on every American, a new tariff on every import would crush the middle class and further impoverish struggling families.

Americans still haven't recovered from high inflation rates

Is there a worse policy at a worse time? Americans are still trying to dig out from more than three years of high inflation under President Joe Biden.

We've been hammered by higher prices on everything. It feels like families can't go out to eat without paying more than $100. They can't go to the grocery store without feeling like they've cleaned out their savings. Going to the movies feels like making a down payment on a house, and actual down payments have soared, too.

It's so hard to make ends meet, Americans just hit another record of $1.13 trillion in credit card debt. That's up $50 billion in just three months.

Americans need help, and they need it now. But one of Trump's first acts in office would be to double down on the pain.

Inflation under President Biden has already cost the typical family at least $11,400 a year, according to an analysis from Republican members of the U.S. Senate Joint Economic Committee, raising prices by an average of 5.7% a year. That's the third highest rate of any president since at least the Eisenhower administration.

Trump's 10% tariffs would cost the average household an additional $2,600 in a year, if not more.

It took Biden years to do so much damage. Trump would take an ax to family budgets overnight.

Americans would have no escape. Huge amounts of our food come from overseas, so prices would soar at the grocery store. The price of clothes, strollers and appliances would skyrocket, too. Birthday presents and Christmas gifts? Even more expensive.

You thought pharmaceuticals and cars were expensive under Biden? Just wait until Trump slaps them with a tariff tax.

Trump's tariff could even force the Federal Reserve to hike interest rates again as inflation reignited. Our economy would slip backward at the exact moment we should be moving forward.

Trump's tariff would hurt lower-income Americans the most

And the pain wouldn't be spread out equally because tariffs aren't just any tax. They get more and more painful for those who make less money. A millionaire doesn't care how much he pays for his fridge. A single mom trying to make ends meet while feeding her kids needs that fridge to be as affordable as possible.

That single mom needs a job, too. While Trump thinks his 10% tariff would save jobs and kickstart a manufacturing renaissance, in fact, it would destroy a stunning 505,000 American jobs, according to a Tax Foundation analysis.

Main Street would suffer, with small businesses laying off workers to try to pay for higher costs. And you know what industry may get hit the hardest? Manufacturing. American factories depend on affordable imports to keep prices low. If they're forced to pay more, they won't just pass on the costs to working families via higher prices. They'll also struggle to compete with the rest of the world. In the name of helping American factories, Trump would strengthen foreign enemies.

Americans are desperate for relief. They want smart solutions, not more price hikes and problems created by one-size-fits-all mandates. We need bigger paychecks and better jobs for working families, not bigger bills and a repeat of Biden's failures.

That's why we should cut taxes on working families, not raise them, and give the government less control over the economy, not more. Ultimately, we should lift up the middle class instead of pushing them even further down.

Americans would never vote for a president who promised to raise their taxes and cripple our economy. We shouldn't start now, whether it's Joe Biden or Donald Trump.

Nikki Haley, Op-Ed by Nikki Haley: Trump's Proposed Tariff Would Hurt American Workers. And Reignite Inflation. Online by Gerhard Peters and John T. Woolley, The American Presidency Project

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