Trump has been implementing tariffs for months, dramatically escalating a trade war with China. He claims these tariffs are helping earn the country money and redistributing a trade imbalance between the two nations.
However, according to the Atlantic, that's simply not how tariffs work. Far from earning the nation money, Trump's tariffs are actually costing the American people.
[T]he Chinese government is no more apt to fork over billions of yuan for Trump’s tariffs than Mexico’s government is to pay for a border wall. Rather, tariffs fall on the American importers of Chinese goods, who often pass those cost increases onto American consumers. That means every time Trump raises tariffs, he risks raising costs on families and businesses.
...The trade war thus far has not caused tremendous macroeconomic damage. But it has hit certain industries and businesses very hard—dairy farms in Wisconsin, for instance—while increasing consumer prices a smidge. Economists have estimated that Trump’s trade war cost the country a sliver of GDP last year, in part by forcing businesses to rejigger their supply chains. (The pain is worst in heavily Republican counties, one analysis found.) Given Trump’s new tariffs and China’s retaliatory measures, the cost might be yet greater this year.
Trump is now threatening to place tariffs on Mexico, with plans to use the money to build the wall. According to the New York Times, some Republicans in congress believe this is a smart move.
Senator Kevin Cramer, Republican of North Dakota, expressed support for the president, as did Senator Thom Tillis of North Carolina, who is up for re-election in 2020 and faced blistering criticism after flip-flopping this year on whether he would vote to disapprove the president’s emergency declaration to build the wall.
“I think Mexico could help us solve the crisis down at the border,” Mr. Tillis told reporters. “What’s the tax on handling 80,000 additional illegal immigrants coming across the border, housing them, adjudicating them? You’ve got to look at the total cost of the prices.”
Far more lawmakers don't support the president's proposed Mexico tariffs. Per Politico:
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) told reporters the party spent “almost our entire lunch” going back and forth with the administration and warned afterward “there is not much support in my conference for tariffs, that's for sure.”
Summing up the mood of the lunch, Sen. James Lankford (R-Okla.) said, according to sources familiar with the matter: The administration "is trying to use tariffs to solve every problem but HIV and climate change.”