Opinion: Trump’s ‘capitalism’ threatens US consumers

Lucas Misera

As President-elect Donald Trump garnered popularity throughout the 2016 election, one key element of his platform drew close attention: minimizing the trade deficit.

Wednesday night, CNN reported that his transition team is considering a plan to impose tariffs on imports, a move that would boost U.S. revenue and ensure that domestic producers are prioritized. As trade would become more expensive for foreign entities, U.S. consumers would likely be forced to purchase goods from American firms, and both foreign and domestic producers will choose to operate more exclusively in U.S. territory to avoid the higher costs inflicted by tariffs.

Trump believes that American consumers should be purchasing goods from U.S.-based companies that produce domestically. Tariffs are his outlet for bringing this philosophy to life.

Yet, his plan contradicts his party’s business-first foundation. While most Republicans push for deregulation in an effort to maintain profitability, the tariffs would certainly slash margins for firms with production overseas, forcing businesses affected by the tariffs to produce domestically while paying higher wages and taxes in the U.S.

The result of less competition from foreign competitors and smaller margins for U.S. companies that thrive off of outsourced production will inevitably be increased prices of goods in the market.

Trump’s economic policies are inherently hypocritical: To idolize capitalism while coercing corporations into minimizing outsourcing — a tool that ultimately boosts the profitability of businesses due to lower production costs overseas — is a threat to traditional free market thinking from Republicans.

The tariffs are a direct result of Trump’s grandiose ploy to “Make America great again,” an ideology that will undoubtedly harm U.S. consumers, as well as foreign trade partners. When his ultra-nationalistic ramblings spill over into his economic policy, protectionism will be the outcome.

Don’t mistake Trump’s business experience for economic savvy: If Trump’s administration follows through with the implementation of the planned 5 percent import tariffs, the common consumer will experience the detriment of his misguided economic policy early on in his presidency.

Lucas Misera is the opinion editor, contact him at [email protected].