Tariffs Are Yet Another Republican War on the Poor

At lunch today I was musing about why Republicans have been so quiet about Donald Trump’s tariffs. After all, tariffs are just taxes, and nearly the entire burden of tariffs is paid by consumers in the form of higher prices. So why aren’t Republicans yelling about this? Why isn’t Grover Norquist threatening to primary anyone who supports higher tariffs? Why are Republicans so amenable to this particular tax increase?

Then I came home and was looking around at some related material and happened to come across this:

Of course! A tariff on yachts or private jets would be progressive, but Trump’s tariffs are on food, steel, aluminum, consumer electronics, and so forth. That means they’re regressive: they hurt the poor more than the rich.

Those are the only taxes Republicans like, which explains why they’re OK with Trump’s trade war. It’s not just a war on China, it’s also a war on America’s poor, and Republicans sure know what side of that war they’re on.

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This is a big one for us. So, as we ask you to consider supporting our team's journalism, we thought we'd slow down and check in about where Mother Jones is and where we're going after the chaotic last several years. This comparatively slow moment is also an urgent one for Mother Jones: You can read more in "Slow News Is Good News," and if you're able to, please support our team's hard-hitting journalism and help us reach our big $350,000 goal with a donation today.

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