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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is the first thing despots go after. An unwavering commitment to it is probably what draws you to Mother Jones' journalism. And as we're seeing in the US and the world around, authoritarians seek to poison the discourse and the way we relate to each other because they can't stand people coming together around a shared sense of the truth—it's a huge threat to them.

Which is also a pretty great way to describe Mother Jones' mission: People coming together around the truth to hold power accountable.

And right now, we need to raise about $400,000 from our online readers over the next two months to hit our annual goal and make good on that mission. Read more about the information war we find ourselves in and how people-powered, independent reporting can and must rise to the challenge—and please support our team's truth-telling journalism with a donation if you can right now.

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