Much ado about MAGA hats

This article, from ABC News, is a textbook exhibit showing how stupid most reporters are on economics. Here it is:

The latest round of tariffs on products from China proposed by President Donald Trump could double the price of "Make America Great Again" hats inspired by his 2016 campaign slogan, according to a merchandiser who imports them.

The new tariffs announced Thursday would hit $200 billion worth of Chinese imports, especially consumer goods, including the popular hats sported by Trump supporters around the nation, according to a story first reported by the Associated Press.

"We usually sell the MAGA hats for around $9 to $12.  But it could go up to $20 if we had to make them in the U.S. and embroider them here," Lassoff said.

While IncredibleGifts isn't affiliated with the Trump campaign, Lassoff said the company has sold "a few 100,000 MAGA hats" since Trump announced his candidacy in June 2015.

"They're our hottest item," he said of the classic red hats with embroidered white lettering.

For starters, why wouldn't the press have questions when a merchandiser makes a statement like this?

The first problem from the media is in their suggestion that there are 100% tariffs on $200 billion of Chinese goods, which would be the only reason prices would double.  In reality, the actual tariff is only 10%, meaning the price should go up just 10%.

So why would the retail price ever double when the tariff is only on the cost?  In this example, the retailer pays at the most $4 per hat, which means the tariff would add 40 cents to his cost.  So why the heck would anyone raise the price $6 when the cost goes up only 40 cents?  Or why would he stop buying from the Chinese when the cost is going up only 40 cents and his markup is ten dollars?

The man says the hat is his best-selling item, and that he has sold several hundreds of thousands of them.  Could supply and demand be more in line with that he is doing?  His markup is a minimum of 250%, and supposedly this 10% tariff is a disaster for him?  What a crock.

We see this same version of the tariff and trade story in the media a lot.  The steel and aluminum tariff is going to be a disaster.  We are told the gross cost of the tariff on beer and soda distributors and find out it is less than 1 cent a can.  The additional cost to auto companies is around $200, and Americans buy a car every six to ten years.

All this, as the media, at the behest of Democrats, continue to predict a pending disaster for the economy, yet it is soaring.

GDP is growing much faster than expected.  Earnings and revenue growth are excellent.  Here's what's being reported elsewhere in the financial press:

Second quarter earnings are expected to increase 21.1% from Q2 2017.  Excluding the energy sector, the earnings growth estimate declines to 17.3%.

The Q2 2018 blended revenue growth estimate is 8.1%.  Excluding the energy sector, the revenue growth estimate declines to 7.0%.

I saw on Monday, in the Wall Street Journal, that Boeing and Airbus are having to strain to keep up with orders.  Unemployment is near record lows, especially for minorities.  Consumer and business confidence is exceptionally high.  Government entities throughout the U.S. are collecting more money because of the substantial increase in economic growth and employment.

Exports rose 6% from May 2016 to 2017, meaning from Obama's last year to Trump's first year.  They increased a further 8.8% from May 2017 to May 2018.  Agricultural exports soared 15% from May 2017 to May 2018, yet we are continually told how harmful Trump's policies are to exporters and farmers.  Where is the actual evidence?  Here are the government's readings:

Year-to-date, the goods and services deficit increased $27.0 billion, or 13.1 percent, from the same period in 2016.  Exports increased $54.3 billion or 6.0 percent.  Imports increased $81.4 billion or 7.3 percent.

This one, too:

Year-to-date, the goods and services deficit increased $17.9 billion, or 7.9 percent, from the same period in 2017.  Exports increased $84.5 billion or 8.8 percent.  Imports increased $102.4 billion or 8.6 percent.

More government agency readings here:

Data recently released from USDA Foreign Agricultural Service's Global Agricultural Trade System indicates that U.S. farmers and ranchers exported a record $12.3 billion of agricultural products to 174 countries during May 2018, up 15 percent from prior-year levels.

All of this fast economic growth is coming despite the fact that the Federal Reserve has raised interest rates seven times for a total of 1.75% the last few years after keeping rates artificially near zero for eight years because Obama's policies were a disaster for the private sector.  The Federal Reserve essentially had to punish savers, retirees, and pension funds by keeping rates near zero to get any economic growth.

The economic statistics above are all as easily available to journalists as they are to me, and they take little research to find.  Journalists seem to make almost no effort to do research and report the actual numbers and instead essentially report Democrat talking points, which makes the articles useless.  The stories are obviously meant to make readers and listeners believe that Trump's economic policies will cause great difficulties because the sole goal is to get votes, not to report the truth.

No matter how good the economic statistics are because of Trump's policies, we will get continuing stories of the pending disaster.  Journalists are obviously beholden to the Democrats and would rather have slower economic growth, lower wages, fewer opportunities to move up the economic ladder (especially minorities), a more powerful government, and more dependency on government than having a Republican show how well capitalism works.  It is the private sector that has made the U.S. the most powerful economy in the world, not a powerful central government.

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