Yellen on Calling Trump Tariffs ‘Taxes on Consumers’: Biden’s Are ‘Targeted’

On Tuesday’s “PBS NewsHour,” Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen predicted that President Joe Biden’s tariffs won’t cause any meaningful price increases for typical families and responded to a question on her criticism of the Trump tariffs as “taxes on consumers” by stating that Biden’s tariffs are different because they’re “a targeted group of strategic sectors where we have developed a real overdependence on China.”

Yellen said that with the Biden tariff regime, “I don’t think that anything will occur here that would be noticeable to the typical American family. Mainly, these tariff increases serve to protect firms and workers that are being supported by the incentives, the tax incentives, and other incentives in the semiconductor and CHIPS Act and Inflation Reduction Act. These are sectors where American firms are gearing up production, are very able to compete, but they face an unlevel playing field.”

Co-host Amna Nawaz then asked, “Madam Secretary, your view on this has evolved. It was in July of 2021 when you were asked about the Trump-era tariffs on China, and you said, ‘Tariffs are taxes on consumers. In some cases, it seems to me what we did hurt American consumers,’ so what changed between then and now?”

Yellen responded, “Well, what we’re talking about here are a targeted group of strategic sectors where we have developed a real overdependence on China. We have vulnerabilities in our supply chains. We’ve made it a national priority to diversify our supply chains so that we don’t experience the same kinds of shortages that we did during the pandemic. And these are sectors that are core ones in a modern economy.”

Follow Ian Hanchett on Twitter @IanHanchett


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