US Tariffs impact students


In recent weeks, the shifting back and forth between the U.S. and China over tariffs on the trade of 3,805 goods has escalated to the tune of a possible 25 percent tax increase. While the trade war seems far outside of Greenwood, the effects on GHS students could be closer than they seem. 

With escalating trade talks with China, the US is at the risk of seeing a 25 percent tax increase on many items imported, such as phones, gaming systems, and even school supplies. 

“At the direction of the President, the Trade Representative determined to take actions resulting in the imposition of an additional 25 percent duty on products of China with an annual trade value of approximately $250 billion,” the Office of the United States Trade Representative said in a statement.

The types of goods that the school would be concerned about include paper, office supplies and textbooks. Students’ fees are designed to cover those costs. However, the good news is that the school will likely not see any changes in the short term.

“They wouldn’t see an increase in lunch or books because we have already established those fees for this year,” Mr. Todd Pritchett, Assistant Superintendent of Finance said. “Those prices are recommended based on the current market, and those were all approved for the summer of the 19-20 school year.”

However, if the prices do go up, the school is not impervious to the costs.

“A general rule is that if the costs go up, at some point in time, that is going to touch everybody,” Mr. Pritchett said.

School costs do not simply include pens and staples. The cost of cleaning supplies and machines for copying and printing as well as their paper could be impacted by the tax increase.

“There are the licenses associated for the various computer software programs. We do have a pretty significant paper expenses with the copiers and printers,” Mr. Pritchett said. “A lot of people don’t think about all of the custodial supplies, cleaning supplies, mops, and things of that nature.”

The increased costs on aluminum and steel could also translate to the school’s gyms.

  “The P.E. Department probably spends the most on the weight room. There is a lot of upkeep and also keeping things updated with new machines, new racks, and new weights,” Coach Jay Yates said. 

The price hikes would also reach students outside of the classroom. For brands such as PlayStation, Xbox, and Nintendo, students may see higher prices for the next generation of consoles.

Sony finance Chief Hiroki Totoki, together with other companies such as Nintendo and Microsoft, made a direct statement to the US Government on the harmful effects the tariffs.

 The costs of buying and maintaining both new and used cars will see an increase.

These tariffs would slim down competition and selection, causing prices of used cars and car repairs to rise, according to Peter Welch, president of the National Automobile Dealers Association.

However, some goods are safe from the possible price push. Medicines are exempt, and the price of some goods may decrease, such as gasoline.

According Patrick DeHaan, head of petroleum analysis for GasBuddy, gas prices are projected to fall under 2$ per gallon, based on the sizeable 14$ decrease of oil prices.

Whether or not the tariff on Chinese goods takes effect, students should keep an eye on negotiations for the sake of expenses inside and outside of school. 

“Schools are always in a process of going through recessions, going through inflation, going through cost increases,” Mr. Pritchett said. “This is something that I don’t think would be an immediate alarm for us. We would have to transition through the process and see how the trends carry us through and make slight adjustments.”

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