Some of the money could, in theory, be squeezed from Chinese manufacturers. But a pair of recent studies by prominent academics, including the chief economist at the World Bank, have concluded that the full cost of the Trump tariffs is being paid here in the United States, although China has suffered a loss of access to the American market.
One of the studies concluded that the cost of the tariffs has fallen disproportionately on the parts of the country that have supported Mr. Trump most strongly, in part because China and other nations subjected to tariffs have targeted their retaliatory tariffs at agricultural products and other goods produced in those parts of the country.
The cost of a tax is not just the money extracted from the private sector but also the disruption of economic activity. Here, too, the tariffs are proving painful. The second study estimated that tariffs were extracting $3 billion a month from American companies and consumers — and causing an additional $1.4 billion a month in lost economic activity.
Mr. Trump’s tariffs also have prompted China to retaliate, and that is causing particular pain for Midwestern farmers who have lost a major market for their crops.