Trump’s Tariffs Are a Huge Middle-Class Tax Increase

Fight disinformation: Sign up for the free Mother Jones Daily newsletter and follow the news that matters.

Robert VerBruggen reacts to CBO’s calculation that Donald Trump’s tariffs will reduce average earnings by 0.4 percent:

The median household income is roughly $60,000, so crude back-of-the-envelope math puts the typical cost somewhere around $240 per year. This is consistent with a lot of other work: The trade war isn’t exactly devastating to the average American family’s budget, but the costs add up over time.

Not quite: you have to add in the effect of higher prices for consumers thanks to retaliatory tariffs. CBO doesn’t estimate this for some reason, but it probably roughly doubles the impact on households. At a guess, CBO is estimating that tariffs will cost the average American household about $500 per year.

For comparison, the median American household pays about $2,000 in federal income taxes. Trump’s tariffs may be invisible to most people, but they’re still the equivalent of a 25 percent income tax increase. I’m pretty sure no conservative would ever describe this as “isn’t exactly devastating.”

TIME IS RUNNING OUT!

We have an ambitious $350,000 online fundraising goal this month and it's truly crunch time: About 15 percent of our yearly online giving usually comes in during the final week of the year, and in "No Cute Headlines or Manipulative BS," we explain why we simply can't afford to come up short right now.

The bottom line: Corporations and powerful people with deep pockets will never sustain the type of journalism Mother Jones exists to do. And advertising or profit-driven ownership groups will never make time-intensive, in-depth reporting viable.

That's why donations big and small make up 74 percent of our budget this year. There is no backup to keep us going, no alternate revenue source, no secret benefactor. If readers don’t donate, we won’t be here. It's that simple.

And if you can help us out with a donation right now, all online gifts will be matched thanks to an incredibly generous matching gift pledge.

payment methods

TIME IS RUNNING OUT!

We have an ambitious $350,000 online fundraising goal this month and it's truly crunch time: About 15 percent of our yearly online giving usually comes in during the final week of the year, and in "No Cute Headlines or Manipulative BS," we explain why we simply can't afford to come up short right now.

The bottom line: Corporations and powerful people with deep pockets will never sustain the type of journalism Mother Jones exists to do. And advertising or profit-driven ownership groups will never make time-intensive, in-depth reporting viable.

That's why donations big and small make up 74 percent of our budget this year. There is no backup to keep us going, no alternate revenue source, no secret benefactor. If readers don’t donate, we won’t be here. It's that simple.

And if you can help us out with a donation right now, all online gifts will be matched thanks to an incredibly generous matching gift pledge.

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