The Federal Reserve delivered an unwelcome present to President Trump, placing under the Mar-a-Lago Christmas tree a study that showed his pitch that tariffs are punishing China and benefitting the US manufacturing base is just another tall tale from the White House.
The report reveals that self-described "Tariff Man" is, in reality, Ebenezer Scrooge.
Released Dec. 23, the chunkily titled, “Disentangling the Effects of the 2018-2019 Tariffs on a Globally Connected US Manufacturing Sectors,” portray tariffs as a triple-headed monster devouring America’s economy.
The levies led to higher producer prices, loss of American jobs and triggered retaliatory measures to hurt US competitiveness overseas, according to the study.
The Fed calls Trump’s policy of imposing tariffs against major trading partners unprecedented, “noting there are virtually no modern episodes of a large, advanced economy raising tariffs in a way comparable to the U.S. in 2018-2019.”
The tariffs certainly are unprecedented because no US president in his or her right mind would resort to such self-destructive policies aimed at crippling America’s aluminum, steel, auto, household appliances, furniture, semiconductor, computer and agricultural sectors.
Trump mistakenly thinks China is picking up the tariff tab. “Billions of Dollars are being paid to the United States by China in the form of Trade Tariffs!,” he tweeted Feb. 16
The Fed study shows that boast is “fake news.”
American importers pay the tariff and then pass along costs to consumers or other US manufacturers that use Chinese materials for their own products.
If somebody would make that plain to the president, even he would conclude that tariffs are for “losers.”
Fed chief Jerome Powell should give it a shot.
While the American public bears the brunt of Trump’s tariffs, people just might figure their suffering is par for the course because the president doesn’t give a fig about what’s happening in their lives.
Fifty-four percent of Americans say Trump “doesn’t care about the needs and problems of people like you,” according to The Economist/YouGov poll conducted Dec. 28-31.
There's more bad news for the president. Forty-seven percent of respondents dislike Trump “as a person” compared to 21 percent who like him. More than half (54 percent) say he lacks the temperament to be president and another 51 percent want him to forget about running for re-election.
And speaking of elections, 63 percent of respondents say it matters “a lot” if a foreign country interferes in the 2020 election. A shocking 12 percent say it doesn't matter at all.
Fifty percent believe Russia meddled in the 2016 election, while 28 percent say there was no intervention. A solid 48 percent reject Team Trump's bid to get Ukraine involved in the election tampering story. Only 21 percent support that bogus Ukraine line, 31 percent are unsure.
More than seven-in-ten of the respondents who believe Russia meddled in the election believe that foul play is why Trump is in the White House. He owes a lot to his pal, Vlad.
How bad are things in the newspaper business? Media buying giant GroupM forecast that outdoor advertising (e.g., bus/subway ads, highway billboards) will top newspaper advertising this year for the first time since records were kept.
It may be time to update the old riddle of "What's black and white and read all over" to "What's black and white and bleeding red ink all over?
Outdoor posters will garner a little more than $40B in advertising revenues this year, topping newspaper spending by $4B.
That quite a performance for the oldest advertising medium.
As the Financial Times notes, outdoor advertising traces its heritage to ancient Egypt, when merchants hung signs in their windows and Rome, which had directions to brothels carved into paving stones.