President Donald Trump likes to claim that the tariffs he has imposed on steel, aluminum, washing machines, solar panels and a variety of other imports are forcing foreigners to pay for the privilege of selling their goods in the American market. But what does the data say? Are American firms and consumers in fact paying the price?
Two new empirical studies shed light on the answer, and, unfortunately for the president, neither one supports his position. The authors of these studies have carefully parsed the data and analyzed the distribution of the tariffs’ costs—internationally and among various groups and regions in the United States.
Though they use different methodologies, both teams of researchers conclude that the costs of the tariffs are being fully passed on to American producers and consumers. And when the researchers incorporate the effects of retaliatory tariffs on U.S. exports, they find that some of Trump’s most loyal supporters are paying the highest price for his trade policies.