Trump’s trade war will cost Americans at least 146,000 jobs, but White House spokesperson Sarah Huckabee Sanders made it clear this administration just doesn’t care about that.
Last week, Trump announced a plan to put tariffs on steel and aluminum, a move which was widely interpreted as the beginning of a trade war, since other counties will likely retaliate with tariffs of their own. These actions on trade “could have an outsized impact in California,” according to KPCC’s David Wagner.
California has more than 100,000 workers who turn steel into products, and 25 percent of steel comes to the U.S. through the ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach. California business owners are worried about supply and cost issues, as well as possible layoffs.
The Tax Foundation estimates the tariffs could cost California industries $525 million in 2018 alone. “It is far more difficult to trace the final burden on consumers, but it is likely that most Americans will be touched in some way by these higher costs,” the analysis states.
At her most recent daily briefing, Sanders was asked about a new report showing that Trump’s snap decision to start a trade war will cost 146,000 Americans their jobs.
“Has the White House studied how many jobs would be lost or created because of this policy?” asked Fox Business Network’s Blake Burman.
“Look, this is something the president is committed to doing, and he feels that both our national security (sic) are vitally important in this process, and we have to be able to have these industries to protect that, and so that’s a big part of the goal,” Sanders responded, completely skirting the question.
Sanders’ response makes clear that there hasn’t been a White House study on job losses since Trump’s snap decision, and that job losses didn’t figure at all in Trump’s decision making.
“Uh, I’m not going to say that we’re not looking at every facet of this, because we certainly are,” Sanders said as she made it clear jobs weren’t a strong concern. “It’s been a very thoughtful and long process, um, but [national security is] the focus of… the decision that he’s making.”
The impact of a trade war on California would only exacerbate issues caused by the Republican tax bill, which is set to raise taxes on millions of Californians. Evidence shows the tax bill is disproportionately helping wealthy Wall Street investors, while leaving workers behind. In fact, provisions in the bill encourage companies to move job overseas.
And the news can only get far worse, because the Trade Partnership study does not account for the effects of trade retaliation, which has already begun. One of the industries targeted for possible retaliation are blue jeans made by San Francisco-based Levi’s.
Trump’s hasty decision has been a rolling political disaster that has made a fool of every administration official who has tried to defend it. Sarah Huckabee Sanders is the latest, but she surely won’t be the last.
Dan Desai Martin contributed to this article.