During a Fox News interview on Saturday, White House trade adviser Peter Navarro offered a simple message to American concerned about paying higher prices for goods thanks to the president’s trade war — “trust in Trump.”
Navarro was responding to a question from host Neil Cavuto about if he’s “worried” that “American consumers — who do pay the tariffs, it’s not governments — are going to be looking at a pretty pricey Christmas shopping season.”
“I think, Neil, we need to put this in context,” Navarro said. “I think it’s trust in Trump.”
Cavuto followed up by pressing Navarro for a more substantial answer. Navarro responded by making a case that the relatively low prices Americans are used to paying are “the creation of unfair trade practices” and actually “have a high cost.”
“So here’s the lesson, Neil, of low prices, which are the creation of unfair trade practices — dumping by countries like China. Low prices have a high cost,” Navarro said. “It’s lost factories, it’s lost jobs, it’s lost intellectual property and technology, and we cannot afford to lose any more of that. I think the stock market is accurately reflecting the fact that the tough trade actions that the president is taking has a very, very modest and negligible macroeconomic effect.”
Asked if he's worried about prices going up because of Trump's trade war, White House trade adviser Peter Navarro describes the relatively low prices Americans are used to paying for goods as "the creation of unfair trade practices," urges people to "trust in Trump." 👀 pic.twitter.com/xbLXbIq74J
— Aaron Rupar (@atrupar) September 29, 2018
Navarro’s comments come weeks after Trump announced he will impose a 10 percent tariff on $200 billion of Chinese imports, which will result in Americans paying more for products like air conditioners and lamps.
There are already indications that wages aren’t keeping up with inflation, which will only become more of a problem as Trump imposes new tariffs on more imported goods. Meanwhile, benefits of the stock market gains Navarro referred to are disproportionately skewed toward the rich.
Navarro’s comments on Fox News weren’t the first time this month that protectionist White House officials have strained credulity by defending Trump’s trade war on TV. On September 18, Secretary of Commerce Wilbur Ross — who was worth $2.9 billion in 2016 — left CNBC hosts speechless after he dismissed the negative impact of a trade war by arguing that consumers are too oblivious to notice price increases.
“If you have a 10 percent tariff on another $200 billion, that’s $20 billion a year. That’s a tiny, tiny, tiny fraction of one percent total inflation in the U.S.,” Ross said. “Because it’s spread over thousands and thousands of products, nobody’s going to actually notice it at the end of the day.”
Trump, for his part, doesn’t seem to understand that tariffs are actually a tax on American consumers, and has expressed confidence that American farmers will endure hardship created by his trade war because “these people are great patriots.”
Even the right-wing Tax Foundation concluded Trump’s tariffs will wipe out a significant percentage of any economic gains resulting from tax cuts for the wealthy that Republicans passed late last year.