Fox News hosts have begun the next round of gaslighting in President Donald Trump’s tariff war with China: There isn’t even any tariff revenue at all, they say — and consumers won’t be paying any price for it.
The discussion came up on the Fox News daytime program Outnumbered, involving the latest Washington Post/ABC News Poll and its findings that women heavily disapprove of Trump’s overall job performance — and that a narrow majority of this key demographic also think the current state of the economy is in a negative shape.
“They've been told over and over again by the media that this is going to raise the price of goods,” said Fox Business anchor Melissa Francis, sitting in on the main Fox News channel. “And even the administration has said, ‘We've taken in all this extra revenue because of the tariffs,’ and we say that's Americans paying for it. I want to see those numbers, though, because I'm deeply suspicious about that tariff money that’s come in.”
In fact, according to a report from Fox Business itself a day ago, U.S. importers already paid a record $6.8 billion in tariffs just this past July, a cost in supplies that is “forcing many business owners to choose between raising prices and laying off workers.”
Furthermore, Francis and her fellow Fox Business anchor Dagen McDowell even cast doubt on some of the most basic economic orthodoxy: that the tariffs cause consumer prices on the targeted goods to go up.
The Associated Press also reported in late August that consumers had so far been spared the brunt of the increases, for the simple reason that most household goods hadn’t been on the tariff list. (Industrial goods were the major target.) But that’s all changing now — because under the newest round of tariffs, “69% of the consumer goods Americans buy from China will face his import taxes, up from 29% now.”
And already, some economic sectors have indeed seen costs and prices go up. This past May, for example, the Los Angeles Times reported on the specific examples of luggage and backpacks, for which prices had already gone up 5% and could potentially increase to 15%, directly traceable to the tariffs. And in the home-building industry, the National Association of Home Builders said tariffs on raw materials such as “granite, cement, vinyl floor coverings, waferboard, ceramic tiles and stainless steel” already added $1 billion to the costs of new housing construction.
In May, economists for the Federal Reserve Bank of New York also estimated that Trump's China tariffs have significant costs to every household.
There’s one bit of truth here: To the degree that retailers have been able to get around the tariff increases, the juggling act isn’t going to last much longer. NPR reported in August that retailers are running out of time to eat the costs of tariff increases, before they will simply have to pass on the prices for more of the consumer goods involved.