Some thoughts and questions on tariffs

There seems to be an asymmetry in the way the media and economists treat the U.S. threatening/imposing tariffs and the way they treat other countries having and threatening tariffs.

For example, when Trump threatens a tariff, the media reports it as if a the sky is falling. Sometimes they briefly mention the other country has a tariff on U.S. products, sometimes not, but usually don’t give much details — like how much the other country’s tariff is or how long it has been in place, nor do they mention why it’s okay for that country to have a tariff, but not the U.S.

Same for economists. Rarely do I see a rebuke of the other country’s tariffs, just on the U.S.

Also, since economists feel so strongly about tariffs, I wonder what they think about other forms of taxes, in general?

Doesn’t sales taxes impact trade in similar ways? How about income and payroll taxes? Why are tariffs especially bad, but other forms of taxes don’t receive much wrath from economists?

I can personally say that I have the same distaste for all forms of tax, but I also understand they are a necessary evil to fund some of the good things that government contributes to society. But, I remember they are all evil, not just one particular form or another. They also have really poor feedback mechanisms to ration diminishing returns of government services. More is always better…it seems.

 

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