The institution of Donald Trump’s scattershot tariff policies are having a negative effect on consumer prices at the supermarket even as the White House paints a rosy picture of the nation’s economy. Although Trump promised American workers wage increases arising from his giveaway tax breaks for billionaires, few laborers have seen any increase in their take-home pay. This has resulted in a mild form of “stagflation,” which occurs in an economy suffering from inflation with no commensurate increase in wages. Because unemployment is low, the traditional definition of stagflation—inflation with high unemployment—does not fit the current economic environment. Instead, some economists are calling inflation with low-paying jobs with low unemployment “slumpflation.”
In March, the consumer price index (CPI) increased by 2.1 percent and economists are warning that Trump’s tariffs will result in even greater CPI jumps as additional U.S. tariffs on foreign goods kick into place.
Trump’s tariffs on imported aluminum from the European Union, Mexico, Turkey, and Canada have increased the price of canned goods in the United States. Trump’s 10 percent tax on imported aluminum has increased the price of Coca Cola and beer. Missouri Democratic Senator Claire McCaskill recently warned at a re-election campaign event at Kansas City’s Boulevard brewery that Trump’s trade policy would increase beer prices, a particularly salient factor in Missouri, the home of St. Louis’s Anheuser-Busch brewery.
It’s not just groceries that are affected by Trump’s import taxes. Computers, phones, air purifiers, pacemakers, and other electronic items are sharply increasing in price due to the Trump taxes. Consumer items such as solar panels and washing machines have also risen. In addition, Trump’s lumber tariffs have increased American home prices.
Trump’s tax on goods from China, which took effect in July, are resulting in less items available in “dollar stores” in the United States. These bargain stores represent a mainstay for many low wage earners. As if the current taxes on Chinese imports have not hurt American consumers enough, Trump—who recently proclaimed, “Tariffs are the greatest!”—is threatening to impose an additional 25 percent tax on goods from China, adding to America’s inflation woes.
Two CEOs who have increased their products’ prices and who are benefiting from Trump’s tax cuts for billionaires are Jim Koch, the co-founder of Boston Beer, the brewer of Sam Adams, and Howard Lorber, a New York real estate developer and chairman of Famous Nathan’s, the hot dog maker. Koch recently praised Trump’s tax cuts for billionaires at a business conclave held at Trump’s Bedminster, New Jersey golf resort.
Today, Lorber is holding a fundraiser for Trump’s 2020 re-election campaign at his home in the Hamptons. By linking their politics and greed with Trump, both Koch and Lorber are facing consumer boycotts of their products, payback sanctions that WMR heartily endorses.
The mayor of Somerville, Massachusetts, Joseph Curtatone, kicked off the boycott of Sam Adams by tweeting, “Hey Jim Koch! While you were thanking Trump for your tax break, did you happen to express any concern for the families separated under his cruel and inhumane immigration enforcement policy?”
Previously published in the Wayne Madsen Report.
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Wayne Madsen is a Washington, DC-based investigative journalist and nationally-distributed columnist. He is the editor and publisher of the Wayne Madsen Report (subscription required).