Inflating Tire Prices

A few months ago I was having problems with my car, which I thought had to do with the alignment. I took it to a shop and found out I needed all four tires replaced. Given my low income, I opted for the cheaper, non-brand-name tires.

This brings me to a recent decision by the Obama administration to levy heavy tariffs on imported tires from China. It has been estimated that such tariffs would increase the price of these tires by around 50 percent.

A Reuters report noted the following on this decision:

U.S. consumers could see prices rise on low-end replacement tires imported from China from between about $50 to $60 to $85 to $90 per tire, one distributor said.

“It’s going to end up costing the consumer,” said Earl Buono, co-owner of Stoney Hollow Tire, an independent tire distributorship based in Martins Ferry, Ohio.

The Tire Industry Association, a group representing tire dealers, called the tariff increase a “politically motivated decision that will end up costing more jobs than it saves.”

Often protectionists tout their concern for the working and lower classes. However, their policies have a detrimental effect on many of those same people they claim to support.

Levying high tariffs, or really any tariffs for that matter, on imported products like tires really just makes it harder for lower and middle-income individuals to afford the products they want or need. Implementing such fees on imported products is really just a way for politicians to give favors to those groups who supported their campaigns — namely the labor unions who are faced with competition from these foreign products.

In the end, lower-income individuals like myself suffer the real consequences. I guess it’s a good thing I bought my tires when I did.

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