Why Tariffs Don’t Fix the Problem


Kylee Deering, Co-Editor-in-Chief

Recently, there’s been discussion between President Trump and China over tariffs and trade. According to a Time article, Trump has threatened to expand the value of his tariffs by $100 billion while China offered $50 billion in tariffs of its own. If these policies are implemented, there will be significant effects on Americans’ day-to-day lives.  

The White House insists that conflict has not escalated into all-out trade war, though the situation could escalate in time.  

America has shifted to a services-providing economy. Providing services has helped new economic growth, from hospitality to health care, business, and legal services. In order for these companies, markets, and wages to grow and expand, it needs export markets for its services. A trade war could jeopardize that, which in turn, could affect economic growth around the world.  

However, services aren’t the only concern. Goods are at stake as well. Tariffs increase the price of imports which is to aid the producers of those products. These higher prices will end up hurting the consumer who is purchasing the goods. For example, Campbell’s Soup said that new tariffs on steel would lead the company to raise prices. This is simply because the cans would cost more because of a tariff on imported tin-plate steel. Trump’s focus is mostly on industrial machinery such as aircraft parts and steam turbines, but agriculture, electronic products and the car industry are affected too.  

Those who save for retirement using a 401(k) or invest in the global stock market will also feel the effects. Tariffs will drive prices higher, which leads to economic ripple effects. This could mean a decline in the value of your investments.   

Job security could also be at stake as China’s tariffs target some specific industries. U.S. soy beans, tobacco, and automobiles are just a few. A decline in demand for those products could have a very direct effect on employment in those industries.  

There’s also one other big game piece to think about with the threat of a trade war. Severing a relationship with China could cause harm to the efforts to isolate North Korea, increasing the chances of conflict.   

All in all, tariffs aren’t the solution to a bigger problem at hand. What that solution is, I’m not sure. But there has to be a better way and if anyone can figure it out, it’s America.