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New tariffs today mean higher prices for U.S. consumers


The Trump Administration's latest round of tariffs that took effect today, Sept. 1. The additional 15 percent tariff on around $300 billion worth of Chinese goods as varied as batteries, cereal bowls, coals, pajamas and human hair.

Kai Ryssdal, host of APM's Marketplace (which I listen to on my local NPR station KUT-FM), took a look some of the industries affected.

Actually, since it's radio, the show enlisted Marketplace's foreign editor John Buckley and his sonorous British-accented voice to read some of the items that now cost more.

The full list is 122 pages long so, as Ryssdal notes, the half-hour show can't cover them all (there was other business news to cover, too). So in the Thursday, Aug. 29, program, as well as Friday's (Aug. 30), some tariff schedule knowledge and context was sprinkled

The official United States Trade Representative (USTR) list is 122 pages long so, as Ryssdal noted, the half-hour show couldn't cover them all. There was other business news that day, too.

So in the Thursday, Aug. 29, Marketplace program, as well as on Friday's (Aug. 30) broadcast, some tariff schedule knowledge and context was sprinkled throughout the programs. I highly recommend you listen to them, for the tariff info and other business news items.

Tariffs' cost to consumers: While it's fun to find out just what weird things now are facing tariffs, it's not fun if those products are or are used to make items we buy.

That means, as has been noted before, trade war tariffs essentially are taxes we consumers pay.

How much will this latest round of the Trump Administration's trade war with China cost each of us here in the United States?

About $460 a year for the average family, according to an analysis by economists Kirill Borusyak at University College London and Xavier Jaravel at the London School of Economics.

New York Times reporters Quoctrung Bui and Karl Russell examine the study and break it out a bit more, for example, as to the tariffs' effects based on the income of the purchaser and the types of products bought. Check out their article.

Tallying the numbers: For the ol' blog's purposes today, the additional Chinese tariffs offer a variety of numbers for consideration as this week's By the Numbers selection: September 1. 15 percent. $300 billion. 122 pages. $460 a year.

After careful consideration, I'm going with the $460 added annual cost that the average U.S. family could face because of the tariffs.

It's not that large of an amount and depending on spending patterns and needs, many folks might not even notice the added dollars on some purchases.

But that $460 a year could be used to pay down a high-interest credit card bill or go into an emergency savings account or pay toward an estimated tax bill to avoid an Internal Revenue Service penalty.

So $460 is this week's By the Numbers figure.

And to all you shoppers, you might want to look at the "made in" mark on any products you want or need. It could make a difference in what you pay.

Regardless of whether you raise a glass of domestic or pour from a foreign vineyard, cheers to the least taxed bottle of your choice.

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