For now most consumers don’t have to worry much. The economy accelerated rapidly in the spring and is expected to remain strong through the summer months.
Come fall, though, and the price of many imported consumer goods in the crosshairs of the White House could begin to rise.
The tariffs could also hurt consumers more generally by raising inflation. Prices in the U.S. have already surged to the highest level since 2012. More tariffs would raise prices even further.
The side effects would be twofold. Higher inflation would eat away at what workers earn, offsetting the benefits of annual pay increases. And rising prices would put pressure on the Federal Reserve to raise interest rates more aggressively, potentially narrowing the arteries of the U.S. economy.
If a full-blown trade war erupts, consumers won’t long escape the fallout. They’ll be paying higher prices well before the Christmas holiday season.