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.

We've never been very good at being conservative.

And usually, that serves us well in doing the ambitious, hard-hitting journalism that you turn to Mother Jones for. But it also means we can't afford to come up short when it comes to scratching together the funds it takes to keep our team firing on all cylinders, and the truth is, we finished our budgeting cycle on June 30 about $100,000 short of our online goal.

This is no time to come up short. It's time to fight like hell, as our namesake would tell us to do, for a democracy where minority rule cannot impose an extreme agenda, where facts matter, and where accountability has a chance at the polls and in the press. If you value our reporting and you can right now, please help us dig out of the $100,000 hole we're starting our new budgeting cycle in with an always-needed and always-appreciated donation today.

payment methods

We've never been very good at being conservative.

And usually, that serves us well in doing the ambitious, hard-hitting journalism that you turn to Mother Jones for. But it also means we can't afford to come up short when it comes to scratching together the funds it takes to keep our team firing on all cylinders, and the truth is, we finished our budgeting cycle on June 30 about $100,000 short of our online goal.

This is no time to come up short. It's time to fight like hell, as our namesake would tell us to do, for a democracy where minority rule cannot impose an extreme agenda, where facts matter, and where accountability has a chance at the polls and in the press. If you value our reporting and you can right now, please help us dig out of the $100,000 hole we're starting our new budgeting cycle in with an always-needed and always-appreciated donation today.

payment methods

We Recommend

Latest

Sign up for our free newsletter

Subscribe to the Mother Jones Daily to have our top stories delivered directly to your inbox.

Get our award-winning magazine

Save big on a full year of investigations, ideas, and insights.

Subscribe

Support our journalism

Help Mother Jones' reporters dig deep with a tax-deductible donation.

Donate