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Home / Carpe Diem / Venn diagram of the day on the gobbledygook that is Tariff Man’s trade ‘policy’ and the gullibility of his supporters – Publications – AEI

Venn diagram of the day on the gobbledygook that is Tariff Man’s trade ‘policy’ and the gullibility of his supporters – Publications – AEI

Summary:
AEI Venn diagram of the day on the gobbledygook that is Tariff Man’s trade ‘policy’ and the gullibility of his supporters The Venn diagram above was inspired by Don Boudreaux’s post on Cafe Hayek featuring an email from his intrepid college Veronique de Rugy, reprinted below in its entirety: President Trump explained yesterday that he would delay the new wave of tariffs on China to December 15th as to not derail Christmas shopping in America. That implies that he understands that the tariffs—import taxes—he has been imposing on imports from all over the world are paid in large part by American consumers not exclusively, or even mainly, by the Chinese and other foreigners, as he has been claiming for some time. It also means that Trump understands that the extra billion Uncle Sam has

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Venn diagram of the day on the gobbledygook that is Tariff Man’s trade ‘policy’ and the gullibility of his supporters

Venn diagram of the day on the gobbledygook that is Tariff Man’s trade ‘policy’ and the gullibility of his supporters - Publications – AEI

The Venn diagram above was inspired by Don Boudreaux’s post on Cafe Hayek featuring an email from his intrepid college Veronique de Rugy, reprinted below in its entirety:

President Trump explained yesterday that he would delay the new wave of tariffs on China to December 15th as to not derail Christmas shopping in America. That implies that he understands that the tariffs—import taxes—he has been imposing on imports from all over the world are paid in large part by American consumers not exclusively, or even mainly, by the Chinese and other foreigners, as he has been claiming for some time.

It also means that Trump understands that the extra $69 billion Uncle Sam has collected as a result of the tariffs are very much a tax on the American people. Yet, when pointing this out on Twitter, Trump supporters respond that the president has to be pragmatic to win the trade war. I am not sure what pragmatism has to do with this. Either tariffs are paid, at least in part, by consumers or they aren’t. They can’t be both (see Venn diagram above).

All this verbal volleying could mean three things: 1) For months the president understood that he was taxing American consumers but didn’t care because he thought that their pain was worth incurring to achieve his trade goals; 2) Trump is now making excuses to appease the stock market but doesn’t really believe that the Chinese are paying these taxes; or 3) He believes both that the Chinese are now paying all the tariffs but that consumers will pay the tariffs during Christmas shopping. I am thinking 3 is a real possibility because the president has shown an incredible ability to say one thing and its opposite without flinching.

As for Trump supporters, I have to stop being surprised by how gullible they are. After all, they are not holding against the president the fact that we were promised many beautiful deals pronto because no one would dare retaliate against the U.S. Instead, many governments have retaliated against us and no deal (with the exception of a small one with South Korea) has seen the light of day. Trump supporters aren’t holding against him either the rocky stock market, the talks of trade induced recession, or the bailouts to farmers, all of which goes against the presidential claim that “trade wars are good and easy to win.”

MP: So according to Tariff Man, the taxes he’s imposed so far on American businesses buying goods from China were somehow paid entirely by China (how does that work, does he send China a bill for US taxes??) without affecting prices in the US, even though “research finds that the 2018 U.S. tariffs have so far been entirely paid by U.S. consumers and firms, as confirmed by three separate independent studies.” But he now admits that the new tariffs he was going to impose on additional Chinese imports staring September 1 were going to raise prices for US consumers during the Christmas shopping season?

Only in the Bizarro World of Tariff Man…. where “up is down, down is up, etc.” as Jerry Seinfeld explains below. Or as Urban Dictionary explains Bizarro World as….

A world where everything is the exact opposite. Up is down, first is last, good is bad, wrong is right, white is black, logical is illogical, giving is taking, insanity is sane, liberty is tyranny, and vice versa.

Venn diagram of the day on the gobbledygook that is Tariff Man’s trade ‘policy’ and the gullibility of his supporters
Mark Perry

Mark Perry
Mark J. Perry is concurrently a scholar at AEI and a professor of economics and finance at the University of Michigan’s Flint campus. He is best known as the creator and editor of the popular economics blog Carpe Diem. At AEI, Perry writes about economic and financial issues for American.com and the AEIdeas blog.

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