When a country (USA) is losing many billions of dollars on trade with virtually every country it does business with, trade wars are good, and easy to win. Example, when we are down $100 billion with a certain country and they get cute, don’t trade anymore-we win big. It’s easy!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) March 2, 2018
In early September, Walmart sent a cautionary letter to Robert Lighthizer, the U.S. Trade Representative. In the letter, the retailer warned that it would have to raise prices on American consumers to offset increased costs of products as a result of Trump’s trade war.
“As the largest retailer in the United States and a major buyer of U.S. manufactured goods, we are very concerned about the impacts these tariffs would have on our business, our customers, our suppliers and the U.S. economy as a whole,” wrote Sarah Thorn, Walmart’s senior director for global government affairs. “This round of tariffs could impact a significant number of common consumer items that are not easily replaceable.”
Pet products, holiday wrapping paper, everyday multimedia cables and Christmas lights all are on Walmart’s “worry list” of products whose prices are spiking over American trade policy.
And some sectors of the economy are already feeling the financial calamity brewing beneath the surface of an economy the president is optimistic about. In particular, agriculture tariffs that have been levied against America in retaliation for Trump’s steel and aluminum tariffs have left farmers in dire situations. Trump is even aware of this and has tried to help farmers with socialist policies.
The NTUF estimates the total annual cost of Trump’s trade war as it exists today to be $132.55 billion. That’s almost twice the annual budget of the entire Department of Education ($68 billion).
Reuters surveyed 70 economists in September. Every single one said the current trade policy of the United States was bad for the economy. With economic indicators blaring calls for caution, the looming threat of automation replacing half of American jobs, and Goldman Sachs’ skepticism about the benefits of Trump’s tax cuts, the global economy could be teetering on the edge of disaster.
And Trump’s trade war pokes it with a stick.
Katelyn Kivel is a contributing editor and senior legal reporter for Grit Post in Kalamazoo, Michigan. Follow her on Twitter @KatelynKivel.