At the end of March 2007, President Bush raised taxes on Americans. How so? He did it by applying tariffs to imports of paper from China.
The measure is supposed to help Americans, but all it does is hurt us. Donald J. Boudreaux’s column Paper Chase from the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review explains how this happens. A portion follows:
The Bush administration recently raised Americans’ taxes.
If you missed this item in the news, it’s because this tax hike isn’t described forthrightly by government nor is it reported forthrightly by the media. The tax hike I’m talking about is the higher tariff on paper products imported from China.
“Tariff” is simply another word for “excise tax” — here, a levy imposed by government on each unit of some class of products bought domestically.
Descriptions of higher tariffs, though, almost always focus on foreigners — such as a headline in this very paper on March 31: “U.S. to slap trade tariff on China.” But a more accurate headline would have read “U.S. to slap higher taxes on Americans buying paper from China.”
The first, actual headline gives the impression of Uncle Sam imposing some burden on foreigners. And while a tariff does harm foreign sellers, its chief victims are domestic consumers. This fact is hidden by talk of tariffs as being something done to foreigners.