In remarks while departing the White House the other day, President Trump claimed that thanks to his leadership on the trade front, China is now “dying to make a deal.” Certainly encouraging news, if true. The U.S. had “lost our shirts with China” under past administrations, Trump complained, before going on to boast that now “billions and billions of dollars in tariffs are coming in.”
“And China is paying for it, not our people,” Trump huffed emphatically.
Well, the president can insist all he wants about anything, but that doesn’t make it true. In this instance, Trump could not be more clearly or entirely wrong. Though it’s been covered at length umpteen times already, given the official misinformation from Washington in this regard shows no sign of abating, there remains as such an obligation to continually push back against the egregious falsity of this claim.
Cue economist, professor, author, filmmaker, and former Labor Secretary Robert Reich to explain the consequences of the trade wars the U.S. is currently engaged in, with particular focus on what tariffs are and who really pays them — spoiler alert, in this case it’s not China.
For a more in-depth analysis of how Trump thinks tariffs work as opposed to how they actually do, this recent article by Annie Lowrey writing in The Atlantic explains the gap between imagination and reality in this instance, quite effectively.