Some thoughts on tariffs

Photo#204-Soy Beans!

Let’s make this clear: Tariff are taxes, and they raise the price of imported products for consumers. Countries don’t pay tariffs, consumers do.

The Trump administration doesn’t seem to know what it’s doing with tariffs, and the results are showing up in the cost of our daily purchases. (For instance, steel tariffs that raise the cost of an outdoor gas grill by $300.) Incidentally, these same tariffs have resulted in no gain whatsoever for American consumers. It’s all a show to drum up support for the mid-term elections.

Now President Trump is proposing to give $12 BILLION in aid to the giant agricultural farms hurt by his trade policies. Does this make sense to you?

The other thing tariffs do is cut off trade with other countries in retaliation, like the meat industry. You will see lower prices at the supermarket because the stockpiles are so high from trade cutoffs with other countries, but that won’t last long as the meat companies eventually go out of business.

Welcome to CUFF. Here’s our story.

If there’s one thing that makes me furious, it’s some giant corporation screwing us out of our hard-earned money. Whether it’s the local cable provider, the cell phone carrier, a shady landlord, a mortgage company, or a department store, companies are using some sleazy, slimy tactics to get rich at our expense.

I’ve been involved in politics since I was 15, and worked on my first campaign. I also spent 20 years as a journalist, 10 years in sales, and 15 years as one of the first progressive bloggers. I’ve been going out on a limb for a long time.

One of the most frustrating things for me is when I meet people who tell me, “Oh, I’m not political.” To me, that’s the sign of someone who doesn’t understand everything is political: “Oh, I don’t care who’s on the Supreme Court.”

Well, you should. Every single Republican who sits on the highest court in the land has a long and reliable record of ruling against consumers, and for corporations. And if we don’t wake up and recognize that, we will continue to get taken.

CUFF is not going to focus our work on individual cases. Our purpose will be to shine a light on the many, many ways big corporations use their influence to take our money and sell us unsafe products — and when our membership gets large enough, to use our influence to protect consumers at the federal level.

We also want to educate you about the forces working against us, and hopefully inspire you to get involved.

Although we make no bones about the fact that we’re Democrats, we criticize Democrats, too. We want to fight on your behalf.

Our founding principle is, we’re not going to seek or take money from big donors. We’ve seen too many promising organizations pull punches because it might jeopardize their funding. (You’d be shocked at how often that happens.)

We hope to be funded by members who see the usefulness of paying $10 a year to support our work. Most people don’t have the time or expertise to do the kind of research and identify the context the way we do.

That said, we do want engaged members who are partners. When we ask you to call your elected representatives, or sign a petition, we are asking you to help us grow in influence — influence we can use on behalf of you, and all consumers.


Susan Madrak