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Chinese tariffs and higher consumer costs

EDDIE BERNICE JOHNSON | 5/19/2019, noon
With his mind focused on next year’s national election, President Trump maintains that his administration’s trade war with the Chinese ...

U.S. House of Representatives

With his mind focused on next year’s national election, President Trump maintains that his administration’s trade war with the Chinese government is in the best interests of American consumers.

I am among those who are not so certain that the president is correct. His tariffs lead to increases on consumer goods imported from China, resulting in rising costs for American families, many of whom struggle from one pay period to the next to make ends meet.

While Trump insists that the Chinese will experience severe pain from higher tariffs, his senior economic advisor, Larry Kudlow, recently contradicted his boss. He admitted that American consumers would experience financial pain because of the tariffs.

Looking for a way to blame former President Barack Obama for the trade deficit with the Chinese, Trump ignores the fact that during the Obama administration more trade cases were filed against China than during the prior Republican administration.

In fact, the cases during Obama’s administration were won by America, and resulted in job creation in our country. It is something that President Trump is unaware of, or simply chooses to ignore.

The higher tariffs, expected to be in place in a matter of weeks, will result, experts predict, in rising prices for products such as electronic equipment, wooden shingles, washing machines and a variety of food products, certain fabrics, backpacks and lights for Christmas trees.

Farmers who sell products to China can also expect to feel additional financial pain, and the American stock market will be harmed by the president’s tariffs.

Trump brags that he is playing a “long game” with the Chinese, but neither he nor those close to him live on a limited amount of dollars each month. They play golf and pontificate while others suffer economically at their kitchen tables.

It was not too long ago that the president said that the Chinese would accept his trade demands. Now, after finding them a bit more resolute than he thought, he has decided to make his debacle a 2020 election issue, saying that he can do what others are incapable of doing. Well, we have heard that tune before!

Sadly, the president will give little thought to those consumers who will emerge from shopping centers with fewer items in tow because of his trade policies.

One would hope that the president would be empathetic, but we only need to be reminded of his lack of compassion for government employees who went without pay during the government shutdown that the president caused. That should tell us enough!

Congresswoman Eddie Bernice Johnson represents the 30th Congressional District of Texas in the United States House of Representatives. She also chairs the House committee on Science, Space and Technology.