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Lou Dobbs Doubles Down on Trump’s Tariff Lie: Chinese Exporters Will Pay More, Not US Consumers

Fox Business Network host Lou Dobbs doubled down in defense of President Donald Trump’s repeated falsehood that Chinese exporters and manufacturers are paying the costs of the growing number of tariffs his administration has placed on goods from that country, instead of US consumers and businesses.

“This is such an important point,” Dobbs said Monday night in response to an unsubstantiated claim by his guest Bill Lee, chief economist from the Milken Institute, that importers of Chinese goods, instead of American consumers, are paying for the tariffs.

We’re watching some of the business press in this country, the political press, the left-wing media, I mean, they are spewing such nonsense about tariffs,” Dobbs claimed.

Last week, the Trump administration raised to 25 percent – from 10 percent, previously – tariffs on a range of Chinese imports whose value totaled $250 billion last year. This follows a series of other steep tariffs put in place in 2018, which covered everything from washing machines to solar panels to steel and aluminum. Throughout these protectionist moves, Trump has denied the knock-on effect these tariffs have in raising the prices that U.S. consumers ultimately pay for them. Instead, he has continually insisted that these tariffs effectively function as a direct tax on Chinese companies.


Dobbs reinforced this illusion as well on his show on Monday night. Reacting to the news that the Trump administration, as a final step, might levy a 25 percent tariff on every import from China, Dobbs incorrectly portrayed the move as a potentially huge windfall for the federal government’s coffers. “[New tariffs] would be a nice foundation for the U.S. Treasury: 25 percent tariffs on about $550 billion in Chinese goods. About $150 billion in the Treasury. That’s not too bad.”

This claim by Trump, his economic advisers, and his supporters in the right-wing media has been repeatedly debunked as false. The Washington Post‘s FactChecker gave it ‘Three Pinocchios” back in February, but Trump has continued to falsely claim any tariffs paid are punishing China.

Even some on Fox News have called out these tariffs claims as untrue. On Sunday, Fox News Sunday‘s Chris Wallace challenged Trump’s own economic adviser, Larry Kudlow, for repeating this falsehood on tariffs. Kudlow had claimed China would pay for most of the increased costs, but Wallace quickly corrected him, saying: “But Larry, that isn’t true. …It’s not China that pays tariffs, it’s the American importers, the American companies, that pay what is, in effect, a tax increase, and oftentimes they pass it on to American consumers.” Confronted with reality, Kudlow backed down, and acknowledged that “both sides will pay in these things.”

But a new economic analysis from Wall Street investment firm Goldman Sachs, released just yesterday, found that even that equivocation isn’t true. “Both sides” are not, in fact, paying. According to the report, US companies and consumers have borne all of the costs of Trump’s tariffs to date, while Chinese manufacturers have remained notably unscathed.

“New evidence on the effects of the 2018 tariff rounds from two detailed academic studies points to larger effects on US consumer prices than we had previously estimated. …First, the costs of US tariffs have fallen entirely on US businesses and households, with no clear reduction in the prices charged by Chinese exporters. Second, the effects of the tariffs have spilled over noticeably to the prices charged by US producers competing with tariff-affected goods.”

Watch above, via Fox Business Network.

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