As we approach the 2022 midterms, the Biden administration faces a range of economic obstacles that will be at the top of voters’ minds, and nothing has Americans more worried than the ongoing inflation contributing to increased prices for the everyday goods they need most. While President Biden seeks to address this inflation, calls are increasing for his administration to use every tool at its disposal, including finally ending former President Trump’s trade war with China.
Tariffs are taxes on American families, businesses, farmers, and manufacturers. They make the items they need more expensive, and have contributed to the economic uncertainty facing the nation. And now, economists across the political spectrum are speaking out.
Speaking with MSNBC’s Andrea Mitchell, Jason Furman, who served as Chairman of the White House Council of Economic Advisors under former President Obama, called the tariffs on imports from China “the biggest stone that’s unturned” in the fight against inflation, adding:
“I’d love to see them lift most of the tariffs that President Trump imposed. That would bring down inflation directly, would increase competition and the economy, and indirectly bring down prices even more … This would be the biggest step he could take, that he’s not taken so far.”
These comments follow the March release of a study from the Peterson Institute for International Economics (PIIE), which found that removing all of the tariffs levied by former President Trump would lead to a 1.3 percentage point decline in the consumer price index inflation. Additionally, PIIE Economist Chad Bown wrote in March:
“The trade war was also costly to the US economy through the impact of the US tariffs. Numerous economic studies have documented that the effect of the tariffs was to raise prices and hurt American consumers and companies … harming American competitiveness by reducing employment and sales.”
Americans are eager to see what comes of the Biden administration’s four-year review of some of former President Trump’s tariffs, as administration officials have pointed totariff relief as a possible way to combat inflation.
Now, many are hoping that it finally provides economic relief that is long overdue, because as the National Taxpayers Union highlighted earlier this year:
“[T]here’s no denying that Trump’s Section 301 tariffs have cost Americans billions of dollars while failing to achieve their primary policy aims. The Biden administration should allow the tariffs to end as scheduled and pursue alternatives that are more likely to benefit the United States.”