It’s dark wood and cost $500, a figure that made my wife and I me wince.
Then we smiled. The young couple’s new dining room table showed they had graduated past second-hand stores – and that their relationship is in its own stages of matriculation.
For a purchase of a lifetime – it was for my wife and me – one might say that a dining room table’s price is secondary.
It stinks, though, that President Trump stuck this young couple with something like $50 more on the purchase courtesy of his trade war with China.
To Trump, having grown up in the gold trim of Daddy’s millions, $50 is nothing.
To most young Americans, it’s real money.
It’s also a gaping chunk of what little in tax benefits they got when Republicans messed with the tax system in ways that mostly benefited paunchy billionaires and mega-corporations.
Trump’s tariffs have exacted an enormous price on society with more to come, and generally in ways few realize – higher prices for clothing, toys, household goods and just about everything one sees in the average home.
Investment bank Cowen & Co. told the Associated Press that the cumulative cost of tariffs on Chinese goods alone could reach $100 billion.
These sacrifices might go down easier if Trump had any FDR in him. You know: We’re at war with China. Our economic survival is at stake. Collect scrap rubber and tin. Ration graham crackers. Can you rivet, Rosie?
A truthful president might evoke citizen buy-in. Not gonna happen with this con man.
Trump consistently has lied about the costs of his trade war. And it’s his alone, as free-trade Republicans duck and scurry for their bunkers.
One of the more embarrassing moments for this embarrassment of an administration was when Commerce Secretary Lawrence Kudlow, who has a job on Team Trump because of his show on Fox News, was forced by Chris Wallace to admit that American consumers will pay for the tariffs.
Tariffs aren’t penalties on foreigners. They are taxes on consumers – you and me.
Trump apologists will say that tariffs on Chinese goods simply mean that consumers and retailers will turn away from things made in China.
(Would that Ivanka Trump did the same in the making of her footwear line. Yes: “Made in China.” Her other go-to locales: Bangladesh, India, Vietnam and Indonesia.)
One furniture retailer told Reuters he was raising prices on all of his furniture to cover the costs of the Chinese tariffs because, as he explains, “I don’t have any other option. It’s too hard to go through the 5,000 products I have and figure out what’s from China.”
In the industry, Chinese-made goods make up 30 percent to 40 percent of furniture inventory, with the end result of Trump’s tariffs with mark-ups ranging from 10 percent to 20 percent.
Now let’s go small-ticket – as if there’s any such thing for families living from paycheck to paycheck.
Recently as Trump ordered his trade representative to begin plans for a more exhaustive set of tariffs on Chinese goods, 200 shoe retailers wrote Trump urging against them on Chinese footwear (indeed, what about Ivanka’s bottom line?)
The Footwear Distributors and Retailers of American estimates that Trump’s threatened tariffs on Chinese footwear would add $7 billion in additional costs for consumers every year.
What a fascinating dynamic it was for Trump to enact tariffs that crippled soybean growers and then offer to make it up to them with billions in assistance.
What about the rest of us?
Longtime Texas newspaperman John Young now lives in Colorado.