While we are eagerly awaiting the outcome from the G20 meetings between President Trump and other world leaders—particularly President Xi—we want to share some insights about the impact of the tariffs on the U.S. economy. Warning: you may need something a little stronger than eggnog after you read these new studies.
In a new study commissioned by Koch Industries and conducted by ImpactECON, President Trump’s tariffs could cause the U.S. GDP to fall nearly 2 percent in 2019. The effect on consumers is even harder, especially in the leadup to the holidays, with the average U.S. citizen expected to lose $915 in 2019, or close to $2,400 per household. Meanwhile, “all countries, except the U.S. and China, gain from U.S. trade actions and responses and increase GDP.” It’s worth noting that despite Koch’s conservative viewpoint and long-time support for Republican candidates, Koch Industries and the Koch network has been very critical of President Trump’s trade agenda.
Speaking of the holidays, Tariffs Hurt the Heartland says new tariffs on Christmas lights arrived just in time for the season. The majority of Christmas lights sold in the United States are hit by the Section 301 tariff dispute—and there are no major American Christmas light manufacturers, either. According to the findings,
[O]ver 80% of US imports of Christmas lights from the world in 2017 came between August and October as companies stock up for the holiday season, with China accounting for about 85% of those imports. Already subject to 8% Most Favored Nation (MFN) tariffs, the Section 301 dispute added another 10% tariff, to 18% overall. These took effect on September 24 – right in the middle of peak season for increasing holiday inventory. Lights could become even more expensive next Christmas, as the Section 301 tariff will increase to 25% (or an overall rate of 33%) on January 1, 2019.
Meanwhile, in a White House press conference earlier this week, Larry Kudlow, Director of the National Economic Council, said, “Tariffs represent only a small percentage of the U.S. economy. Our economy's in very good shape right now. And when you multiply through whatever numbers you want to use–$250 billion, or tack on another tranche, which may or may not happen, at a 10 percent tariff rate or more–it's really just a fraction of our economy.”
We’re sure Santa might have a different view!