Inflation is top of mind for millions of voters as high prices continue to eat away at our wallets and erode our paychecks. President Joe Biden is responding to this serious problem with silly deflections, blaming everyone from Russian President Vladimir Putin to the governor of Texas. But if he actually wants to address the issue, there’s one simple thing Biden can do to lower prices drastically and help struggling families: lower trade barriers and tariffs.
At least, that’s the finding of a new policy paper from the pro-trade Peterson Institute for International Economics.
The paper by Gary Hufbauer, @meganrosehogan, & Yilin Wang finds that a feasible package of liberalization could deliver a one-time reduction in consumer price index (CPI) inflation of around 1.3 percentage points.https://t.co/D7svqFbBTd
— Peterson Institute (@PIIE) April 18, 2022
For context, tariffs are essentially taxes on imported goods. They’re meant to help protect domestic businesses, but they usually hurt the economy more than they help. And they ultimately mean higher prices for American consumers at the checkout aisle. By eliminating tariffs on steel, agricultural products, and other goods, Biden could save the average household $797, the new analysis estimates.
This would constitute a “one-time reduction in consumer price index (CPI) inflation of around 1.3 percentage points,” the institute concludes.
As the Wall Street Journal editorial board notes, “This isn’t a panacea … but while prices keep rising, the feds could at least stop making products more expensive on purpose.”
Of course, the liberal media’s spin has been that surging prices are beyond Biden’s control.
“There’s not much he can do to curb inflation,” CNN White House correspondent John Harwood wrote.
This is a weak attempt at a partisan cover fire. Some of the inflation is indeed beyond Biden’s control and rooted in the Federal Reserve’s printing of trillions of new dollars. Yet Biden has given that his tacit endorsement by renominating Fed Chairman Jerome Powell and nominating other monetary doves to Fed positions.
And absolutely nobody forced Biden to blow out the budget deficit and pass a wasteful $1.9 trillion partisan spending bill right after taking office. He chose to do that, and now even former Obama officials are admitting it was a big mistake that fueled inflation.
And nobody, except Biden himself, is stopping Biden from easing high prices by getting government red tape out of the way on trade, energy, and more. The president has options at his disposal. It’s nobody’s fault except his own if Biden won’t take them.