Yellen: Trump’s Tariffs-Taxes Idea Would ‘Make Life Unaffordable’

Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen said Sunday on ABC’s “This Week” that former President Donald Trump’s idea to replace federal income taxes with tariffs would “make life unaffordable.”

Partial transcript as follows:

 KARL: Yeah, and just to be clear, I mean, the rate of inflation is coming down, but overall inflation is up 19 percent since President Biden took office. On some everyday goods, it’s much higher. The price of eggs is up 84 percent since President Biden took office; ground beef, up 30 percent; bread, up 27 percent. I mean, by and large, inflation rate may go down, but those prices aren’t returning to where they were. I mean, those prices are going to remain high?

YELLEN: Well, it is true that, over the last roughly three years, there’s been a significant increase in the price level. It’s now rising at a very slow, close to normal rate. But, yes, Americans see that, and mainly it comes on top of concern about costs that were making life very difficult. So it’s something the Biden administration absolutely wants to address.

I would point out, of course, that wages have also gone up during this time, and government studies show that, for all — for households at all points in the income distribution wages have gone up somewhat more than prices.

KARL: Secretary, I only have about…

YELLEN: So the typical American is somewhat better off.

KARL: I only have about 10 seconds left, but I, very quickly, want to ask you, Donald Trump floated an idea of replacing all federal income taxes with high tariffs. Any way that that is remotely feasible?

YELLEN: It would require tariffs well over 100 percent.


YELLEN: The impact would be to make life unaffordable for working-class Americans…

KARL: All right, thank you…

YELLEN: … and would harm American businesses.

KARL: Thank you, Secretary Yellen. Really appreciate your time this morning. Thank you.

Follow Pam Key on Twitter @pamkeyNEN


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