Report: Lower-income Americans feel the pain of tariffs the most

Global Business

Report: Lower-income Americans feel the pain of tariffs the most

Two of America’s biggest retailers say they’re going to have to raise prices if new tariffs on Chinese goods are implemented. Their customers would ultimately pay the price – and economists said it will impact those who can least afford it the most.

CGTN’s Karina Huber has more.

Walmart, the world’s largest retailer, recently warned prices at its U.S. stores will likely rise.

In May, its Chief Financial Officer Brett Biggs said: “Our goal is to be the low-price leader but increased tariffs will increase prices for consumers.”

Macy’s is also warning of possible price hikes ahead.

The alerts came after the Trump administration increased tariffs on $200 billion worth of Chinese imports from 10 to 25 percent and as it threatened tariffs on an additional $300 billion worth of goods, essentially all Chinese imports not already hit.

Research by a group of leading economists published during the Obama administration suggests lower-income Americans are the hardest hit by tariffs.

Their report says the burden of tariffs is five times as heavy for the bottom tenth of households as for the top tenth.

That’s because lower-income groups tend to use more of their take-home pay to cover basic needs and they tend to buy more low-cost imports. U.S. consumers expressed concern.

“Why should prices rise just because of a trade? I mean it has nothing to do with any of us. It has everything to do with politics and the government,” said one.

“Raise prices on the clothes? That makes people not want to go and shop at Macy’s just because of that,” said another.

Retailers like Macy’s are in a tough position. They may need to raise prices to cover increased costs but they don’t want to raise prices too much or they could lose business.