Ozarks Tonight: Trump’s Tariffs in Perspective


[The following is a transcript of our Ozarks Tonight segment, which has been lightly edited for our OzarksFirst.com readers.]

President Trump’s tariff policies are the talk of trade experts the world over, and to put the president’s approach in perspective, we’re joined tonight by phone by Stanford University’s Rachel Gillum. 

There are few things that economists across the board can you agree on and the idea that tariffs are overall bad for economies is one of those things that almost all economists agree on.

In simplest terms, you know, international trade you know receiving goods all around the world increases the number of products consumers that can choose from in a cause of the cost to these products to decrease because companies have to compete, right. So what tariffs do is that it’s essentially a tax on goods coming in from overseas, and what this does is it raises prices for consumers and basically on all goods.

And this can be, you know, bad for a variety of reasons. Again, it’s another attack on the average American for the sake of protecting, you know, big business. But also as we’ve seen with China, it often results in retaliatory tariffs. So China now put tariffs on many American goods that our factories shipped overseas to China, and so that really hurt American companies as well.

And again, many believe that long term, these types of tariffs can slow the economy more broadly. We might see investment slow, and also it depends on what, you know, China does in retaliation. So far, they’ve been targeting people in electoral districts and sectors that are among Trump supporters to try to get President Trump to reverse his policies.

President Trump has responded by trying to protect those industries, like farmers further by giving further government support and subsidies, you know it could be another year before we see the true effect of these tariffs appear, and it also depends if further tariffs are implemented and on what goods. 

President Trump and his administration are using some might say a hard-line strategy to get countries to move sort of, you know, policies that we’ve had in place for many years. And so I think in some cases the goal is that there’s this hard-line rhetoric and these tariffs would result in bringing people the people to terms that are more agreeable to the United States.

In some cases, we’ve seen that with Mexico on some items. Other cases it’s just resulted in retaliatory tariffs and heightened tensions and things like this. We’ll wait and see if it shakes out in the way we’d like to. I think also the goal is to, again, remove any tariffs of course with terms that, you know, more greatly benefit the United States.

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