Would it surprise you to know that many of the Black Friday items for sale that cause so much frenzy are highly overpriced due to tariffs?
Black Friday, of course, is the day when hundreds of people wait outside of stores hours ahead of their opening to get a steal on sale-priced merchandise. In 2011, a record $52.4 billion was spent on Black Friday weekend, compared to $45 billion in 2010, according to the National Retail Federation. Just last year, two people were shot and 15 were pepper sprayed on Black Friday.
The most sought-after items on Black Friday are clothing, electronics, and home decor. Clothing and clothing accessories comprised 51.4 percent of all the items bought on Black Friday last year.
Clothing also has one of the highest tariffs of all items bought on Black Friday. Individuals who would benefit the most from lower prices face the highest tariffs, because lower-end items are taxed more heavily than higher-end items. For example, clothing made of polyester can be taxed at upwards of 32 percent, while clothing made of cashmere is taxed at a mere 4 percent.
As Ed Gresser at Progressive Economy has pointed out, with the exception of free trade agreements, no tariff elimination bills have passed Congress in almost 100 years. President Woodrow Wilson’s tax reform acts in 1913 are the most recent.
So while Americans fight in a frenzy to get the best deals on Black Friday, they won’t be saving as much as they think because of high U.S. tariffs. That’s the real steal.
Katie Elliott is currently a member of the Young Leaders Program at The Heritage Foundation. For more information on interning at Heritage, please visit http://www.heritage.org/about/departments/ylp.cfm.