The inflationary consequences of Trump's planned immigration crackdown

Trump will make inflation much worse

Published June 9, 2024 5:45AM (EDT)

Former President Donald Trump listens during a border security briefing on June 30, 2021 in Weslaco, Texas. (Brandon Bell/Getty Images)
Former President Donald Trump listens during a border security briefing on June 30, 2021 in Weslaco, Texas. (Brandon Bell/Getty Images)

The 2024 election cycle will likely be one of the closest in recent memory, coming down to the smallest of margins of victory. President Joe Biden and Kamala Harris have an incredible story about giving voters the tools to create better lives. But that is only half the story; to go on offense, Democrats must attack Donald Trump's abysmal economic record. 

Conventional wisdom is that Republicans hold an advantage over the economy; however, a close examination of Trump’s toxic economic record presents many lines of attack, particularly regarding how his policies will increase voter's cost of living. Remember, Trump is the only president in modern history to leave office, losing more jobs than he created. His corporate tax cuts didn't benefit working-class voters economically and increased wealth inequality. Worse, his current economic plans, raising tariffs across the board by 10% and creating a deportation force, would increase inflation, raise costs, and hurt working people. 

With record job creation, lowered health care costs, and 17 million new small businesses created, Democrats have an incredible story to tell. Donald Trump, on the other hand, has a dismal economic record. He passed the most significant corporate write-off in history, which only helped the mega-rich and failed to deliver on the financial benefits promised to working-class people. Under Trump's law, according to the non-partisan Tax Center, workers who earned less than $114,000 on average saw "no change in earnings," while top executive salaries increased sharply.

Recent research from Way to Win Action Fund shows that Democrat base turnout voters already view corporations as a huge impediment to their families well well-being. Corporate price gouging, profiteering, and raising prices were listed as the number one reason families are suffering right now by Black, Gen Z, and Voters of Color. Donald Trump gave these companies massive tax breaks and would be their best friends if elected president again. 

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If that wasn't bad enough, Trump's trade wars were disastrous for the American economy. If re-elected, he would double down on these tariffs, with plans for a 10% universal tariff on imports. While President Biden has left many of the tariffs put in place during the previous administration and has levied further ones, what Trump is now proposing would tip the scales too far, likely significantly increasing inflation. 

According to the Center for American Progress, Trump’s tariff would cost the typical American household roughly $1,500 a year. The proposed across-the-board tariff would amount to an annual tax increase for the typical household, including: “a $90 tax increase on food, a $90 tax increase on prescription drugs, and a $120 tax increase on oil and petroleum products. This tax increase would drive up the price of goods while failing to significantly boost U.S. manufacturing and jobs.”

Finally, Trump's other big plan to boost the economy, mass deportations of immigrants, would be both a humanitarian and economic disaster. 

According to the National Bureau of Economic Research, immigrants raise wages and boost the employment of U.S.-born workers. Instead of finding awful ways of keeping immigrants out of the country, we should be reforming our broken immigration system to find ways to allow more people into the country and legalize those here to help raise wages and boost employment for everyone. 

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Giovanni Peri and Alessandro Caiumi, economists at the University of California, Davis, put it this way: "Immigration, thanks to native-immigrant complementarity and college skill content of immigrants, had a positive and significant effect on wages of less educated native workers, and no significant wage effect on college-educated natives."  Peri and Caiumi also found that immigrants positively affected the employment rate of most native U.S.-born workers.

Yet, despite all of the positive things immigrants bring to this country if elected, Trump would do everything he could to remove immigrants. These mass deportations would be a humanitarian disaster and raise the cost of goods and services for everyone.  According to the Center of Migration Studies of New York: "The undocumented population comprises 5 percent of the workforce in the United States, working in industries such as agriculture, construction, service, entertainment, and health care. Without their labor, the US economy would experience a labor shortage, and the costs of goods and services would rise."

Donald Trump's proposed economic policies would only worsen inflation. At the same time, President Biden has invested in workers, giving the American people the tools to create more jobs and small businesses and helping people build better lives. Donald Trump's economic policies would make it harder for working families in our great country. This election cycle is between protecting our progress and going backward to chaos and economic uncertainty.

By Kristian Ramos

Kristian Ramos is a political strategist based in Washington, D.C.

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Biden Commentary Corporate Profits Economy Elections 2024 Greedflation Immigration Inflation Trump