Biden’s Tariffs on Communist China Will Cost Taxpayers More Than $380 Billion Over the Next Decade, New Estimates Show

Calculations from the National Taxpayers Union show that President Biden’s trade tariffs on Communist China will cost an estimated $3,000 a household over the next ten years.

AP/Alex Brandon, Eraldo Peres, file
President Biden and China's president, Xi Jinping. AP/Alex Brandon, Eraldo Peres, file

President Biden’s “tough on China” trade taxes will cost an estimated $3,000 a household over the next decade, a figure higher than previously estimated, according to calculations by the National Taxpayers Union. 

Previous reports underestimated the cost because they failed to count the trade taxes introduced during President Trump’s tenure that Mr. Biden chose to renew. The Trump-era taxes tack on another $37.3 billion to the $18 billion in trade taxes that Mr. Biden introduced in May.

After adding the tariffs together and projecting the cost over 10 years, the National Taxpayers Union estimates the total tax burden will amount to $387.8 billion during the next decade.

“Most of the reports on Biden’s tariff actions focused on the new tariff,” the director of the National Taxpayers Free Trade Initiative, Brian Riley, tells the Sun. “Nobody really looked at the fact that he was reimposing the Trump tariffs” even though “that’s where the real cost is coming from.”  

Mr. Riley and his organization hope that the tally will make it clear to the public that the tariffs “are a very costly action” that will “hit most Americans indirectly.”

The announcement of the tax increase follows mounting concerns over inflation and the rising cost of living. It also threatens to break Mr. Biden’s campaign pledge to not increase taxes for any citizen earning less than $400,000. 

Meanwhile, Mr. Biden and Trump have placed being tough on Communist China at the center of their re-election campaigns, promising increasingly protectionist policies. 

Following Mr. Biden’s announcement that he would raise the tax on Chinese electric vehicles to roughly 100 percent, Trump — credited with launching the trade war with China when he first imposed tariffs back in 2018 — countered with a pledge to place a 200 percent tax on electric cars. 

Trump also added that “Biden finally listened to me,” adding: “He’s about four years late.”  

Just last week, Trump floated the idea of using tariffs to curb illegal immigration, threatening to “tariff the hell out of” countries that don’t take significant measures to prevent undocumented immigrants from crossing into America, should he be re-elected. 

Mr. Biden cites trade tariffs as a necessary measure to counter unfair Chinese trade practices, criticizing the Chinese government for “pouring state money” into Chinese companies, which has enabled an economic system based not on “competition” but “cheating.” 

​​“American workers can outwork and outcompete anyone as long as the competition is fair,” Mr. Biden said after introducing his new tax. “But for too long, it hasn’t been fair.”

Whether the tariffs actually work to improve Chinese trade practices, though, is a bit more murky. 

A review of the renewed Trump-era tariffs suggested that over the four years in which the tax was imposed, China “has not eliminated many of its technology transfer-related acts, policies, and practices, which continue to impose a burden or restriction on U.S. commerce.” In other words, the tariffs did little to improve the “unfair” Chinese business practices in question. 

Yet, the tariffs have helped to boost domestic production in the sectors protected by the taxes and encouraged American importers to source merchandise from countries other than China, according to the review. 

Mr. Riley suspects that the tariffs were imposed by Mr. Biden in a bid to avoid “appearing weak on China” in the lead-up to the election, though he critiques the tariffs for being “largely for show” given that “there is no evidence that they are going to achieve anything with respect to China’s economic policies.”  

“The National Taxpayers Union wants to protect taxpayer interest and encourage good policies,” he says. “And we think that there are alternatives to tariffs that are more likely to have a positive result without costing hundreds of billions of dollars over the next 10 years.”

The New York Sun

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