Column offered bogus economic insight -- Mark Quinn

May 15, 2019 GMT

Last Sunday’s guest column by U.S. Rep. Sean Duffy, R-Wausau, and trade adviser to the president Peter Navarro touted President Donald Trump’s economic and tariff policies as a boon to our state’s economy.

The column was misleading.

In a typical Republican Party mantra, Duffy and Navarro conflate that if Wisconsin has added more manufacturing jobs since the Great Recession, then we as a state are steaming along as a economic juggernaut. They blame our recent past economic malaise on too much regulation and high taxes, ignoring that Wisconsin and the nation went through the recession in part because of the lack of regulation.

Also, if President Trump and the Republican economic policies have been so successful, why does our state continue to lag behind not only our region but our nation as a whole? According to the Pew Charitable Trust, Wisconsin continues to be placed in the lower third of personal state income levels. Yes, a few wealthy Wisconsinites are doing quite well, in part because of their state and federal taxes being cut. But that enrichment has not been seen as much by our middle class.

Duffy also got it wrong on tariffs. Tariffs are a tax ultimately paid by consumers. And countries hit with a tariff will do the same to us. Everyone will pay more.

Mark Quinn, Madison