Trump trade war adds to Hurricane Florence pain by hiking recovery cost


Plywood, lumber, furniture, and household appliances are more expensive, thanks to Trump's ill-advised trade war.

Trump continues his unmitigated failures in responding to natural disasters, especially hurricanes. As residents along the East Coast begin to rebuild from the devastation of Hurricane Florence, Trump's trade war will make the recovery much more expensive.

Prices for materials spike after a natural disaster due to an increased demand, but now prices "will be exacerbated by the impacts of tariffs," trade economist Jock O’Connell told McClatchy.

McClatchy reports the cost of imported lumber and plywood is 30 percent more expensive since Trump implemented tariffs. The costs of furniture and household appliances like washing machines are also more expensive.

Experts estimate more than 750,000 homes will be damaged by Florence, and the recovery effort could be hindered by labor and supply shortages. Some homeowners may not have the proper insurance, and will be forced to pay out of pocket for rebuilding efforts.

And to make matters worse, Trump is ratcheting up the trade war. Earlier this week, just days after Florence made landfall, Trump announced an additional 10 percent tariff on $200 billion of Chinese goods. The tariff will increase to 25 percent at the beginning of 2019.

In this latest salvo, Trump took aim at some items hurricane victims will need, such as gypsum (used in sheet rock), electronics, textiles and everyday housewares and kitchen gadgets, according to McClatchy.

Before Florence struck land, Trump renewed media interest in his failed response to last year's devastating Hurricane Maria, which caused the death of nearly 3,000 people in Puerto Rico.

Without any evidence, Trump disputed the death toll and insisted that the recovery effort led by his administration was an "unsung success."

While incompetence marred the recovery effort in Puerto Rico, plain ignorance seems to be the culprit in Trump's trade war.

Politico's chief economic correspondent, Ben White, questioned if Trump even knew how tariffs work. "The president, however, continues to either not understand how tariffs actually work or deliberately mislead people on how they work," White said after the latest tariffs were announced.

Whether or not Trump has a basic understanding of the global economy, his actions are adding to the pain of thousands of families simply trying to rebuild their homes.

Trump's actions continue to make lives in America worse, as families in South Carolina, North Carolina, Virginia, and elsewhere are experiencing in the aftermath of Florence.

Published with permission of The American Independent Foundation.