Myth 9: Tariffs Don’t Harm Consumers  

12 Days of Christmas Trade Myths

This is the ninth installment in a holiday-themed series aimed at correcting common misconceptions about trade. Each day until Christmas, economists Christine McDaniel and Veronique de Rugy will address a new claim about trade or tariffs while providing additional resources for those interested in learning more about the topic.

Myth: Tariffs don’t harm consumers  

Members of the current administration have openly expressed their love of tariffs and seem jolly as they watch import taxes pile up. Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross even famously brandished a Campbell’s soup can on television in an effort to argue that the small price hikes caused by import taxes on steel and aluminum wouldn’t affect ordinary Americans. Meanwhile, consumers are facing higher prices at the checkout aisle, and American manufacturers are facing higher prices for their raw materials and other inputs. The result is piles of riches for government coffers and favored producers, but lumps of coal for most Americans.

Suggested Resources

1. "Americans Hurt by Trade Restrictions," Christine McDaniel and Veronique deRugy, The Bridge

2. "Trump Says Tariffs Are Working “Big Time.” Here Are 5 pieces of Evidence That’s Not the Case." By Emily Stewart, Vox