The Washington PostDemocracy Dies in Darkness

Opinion Here’s the trouble with canceling tariffs

Volunteers with a sniper unit deploy in Maryinka, Ukraine, on May 17. (Wojciech Grzedzinski for The Washington Post)
Placeholder while article actions load

Fareed Zakaria’s May 20 Friday Opinion column, “President Biden has the means to reduce inflation. Why isn’t he acting?,” was heartbreaking at a time when Russian troops are marauding through Ukraine killing innocent civilians. The idea that it is better for Mr. Biden to focus on easy political wins with Chinese tariffs is exactly the kind of logic that Russian President Vladimir Putin counted on when dealing with the West. For decades, the leaders of the free world have been more interested in making deals with dictators than considering the consequences to global order. Germany’s decision to walk away from the Nord Stream 2 pipeline is admirable, but it took the biggest war in Europe since World War II to change the calculus.

It is intellectually disingenuous to suggest that every single policy President Donald Trump enacted was a bad one that should be reversed. Voters will reward leaders who consider the full value and implications of global policy.

Patrick Andrews, Fairfax Station

It’s telling that in calling for the repeal of tariffs to combat inflation, Fareed Zakaria never mentioned why penalty tariffs were imposed in the first place — to address China’s unfair and predatory trade practices — or the price we would pay in lost jobs and leverage with China if they were lifted.

Tariffs didn’t cause inflation, and cutting them isn’t the solution. They give us a chance to compete and trade negotiators a powerful tool to get China to change its behavior.

As Josh Rogin wrote the same day in “A concession to China that Biden can’t afford to make” [Friday Opinion], removing tariffs “would have little, if any, measurable effect on inflation.” But it would be a surrender to China and send more American factories and jobs there. Let’s not take a simplistic, knee-jerk approach to inflation that undermines U.S. firms and workers.

Kimberly Glas, Washington

The writer is president and chief executive of the National Council of Textile Organizations.

Loading...