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Opinion: The US government must end its war on the American economy

February 18, 2021. Summarized by summa-bot.

Compression ratio: 23.3%. 1 min read.

SAN PEDRO, CALIFORNIA - FEBRUARY 01: An onlooker takes photos as a container ship enters the Port of Los Angeles on February 1, 2021 in San Pedro, California. As of January 28, a record 38 container ships were on standby to offload cargo to the ports of Long Beach and Los Angeles amid a wave of online consumer goods purchases in the U.S. amid the pandemic. (Photo by Mario Tama/Getty Images)

As US Trade Representative-designate, Katherine Tai finds herself in an ironic situation: The most important country she will have to push to open its markets — a core component of USTR's mission — is the United States.

Protectionist measures put in place by the Trump administration have taken USTR far away from its mission statement of "opening markets throughout the world to create new opportunities and higher living standards for families, farmers, manufacturers, workers, consumers and businesses. " Instead of opening markets, the effect of the trade war has been to restrict market access, reduce economic opportunities and lower living standards.

US businesses and consumers have suffered from higher prices and reduced choices for many imported items including solar panels, washing machines, steel, aluminum, olives, whiskey, wine, cheese, yogurt and airplanes, as well as tariffs on hundreds of different products from China.

When the 10% aluminum tariff went into effect, prices for both imported and domestic aluminum rose, which is a normal market response to reduced competition.

As of September 2020, the Tax Foundation reports the tariffs have cost Americans $80 billion in additional taxes and lowered employment by 179,800 jobs.

The American Action Forum calculates the increased costs to consumers from higher prices to be $57 billion annually.

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