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Trump’s China Tariffs Hit America’s Poor and Working Class the Hardest

The burden of import taxes is five times as heavy for the bottom tenth of households as for the top tenth, research shows


To understand today’s trade war better, turn the clock back a couple of years. President-elect Donald Trump was getting ready to move into the White House, and President Barack Obama was packing to move out, on Jan. 12, 2017, when three economists on Obama’s team fired a parting shot against protectionism. They published an article on the website Vox headlined “US tariffs are an arbitrary and regressive tax.” 

Rich people pay more in tariffs than poor people, but that’s because they buy more stuff in general, wrote Jason Furman, the outgoing chairman of Obama’s Council of Economic Advisers, along with Jay Shambaugh, a member of the council, and Katheryn Russ, a staff economist.