Politics

Larry Summers: Tariffs Will Hurt Working People

Former US Treasury Secretary Larry Summers tells CNNMoney’s Richard Quest that Trump’s trade policy will result in Americans losing jobs.

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Larry Summers

Larry Summers: Tariffs Will Hurt Working People

Transcript

It's about Richard for me this is about working people. This is about working people who lose their jobs in states like Michigan and Ohio and other working people who get jobs in France. This is about working people in the Midwest who aren't able to do their jobs anymore because the companies they work for can't procure steel at a reasonable price because of the tariffs. This is about people who work in sales in automobile dealerships who are going to lose those jobs in sales because it's going to become so much more expensive to bring Koreans to this country. This is about companies that are going to close that would have been saved by an investment from China or another country. You know people make all kinds of comments about the international system and all of that and that's very important. But fundamentally this is about jobs for Americans. And the president's blunderbuss incompetent negotiating strategy is going to mean fewer Americans working at lower pay and with less purchasing power for the pay they do get. And that's why all of this is a tragic error. The president points out that for many decades that the U.S. in his view has been taken advantage of and that when debts Take for example China everyone accepts that there have been unfair trading practices by China but no other administration he would argue beside himself has been prepared to do anything about it and face them down. He says that. But China had a 9 percent of GDP trade surplus when President Obama took office. And a one and a half percent of GDP trade surplus when President Obama left office.

President Trumps policies of rolling up our budget deficit are going to make more trade deficits inevitable. He's not reducing our trade deficit he's not increasing our competitiveness on his watch we're slashing the funding that would give us a prospect of keeping up in crucial industries like artificial intelligence. He's going to make every problem he describes worse. And the question we will move off trade in just a second but I just want to finish on this point. For example the threat to introduce 20 percent tariffs against European carmakers. Now there is a discrepancy that both sides admit. The U.S. charges a low tariff than the EU does on.