Because political actions affect both producers and consumers, it is crucially important for individuals to understand that tariffs are another name for taxes on producers and consumers of certain classes of goods.
What is a tariff?
A tariff is a politically-imposed tax on imported foreign goods that make it more expensive for domestic producers and consumers to purchase foreign goods.
Who gets the money?
Because a tariff is a tax, the revenue accrues to the benefit of the taxing authority and the money flows into the general fund to be spent according to government whim.
The folly of responding to foreign tariffs ...
Because a tariff is a tax on domestic producers and consumers, it would be idiotic to respond to another nation that is imposing taxes on its own citizens by imposing tariffs on your producers and consumers -- in effect punishing your citizens for the actions of another country. The end result is higher prices, fewer jobs, and a lower standard of living.
Understanding the bogosity of "balance of trade."
This is a bogus issue easily illustrated by our purchase of oil from Saudi Arabia. We benefit from the oil but do not compel the Saudis to purchase a similar amount of goods from the United States and punishing American producers and consumers by taxing for their purchase and use of Saudi-derived gasoline.
Understanding the politics ...
With over 12,000 tariffs on American goods, we can only conclude that the special interests are behind the tariffs and taxes imposed on the American people.
To see which industries are protected, you may wish to visit the Tariff Databases at the United States International Trade Commission website, USITC Tariff Database Interactive Quick lookup which contains the current version of the Harmonized Tariff Schedule of the United States.
IT DOESN'T WORK.
Historically, we have had three Republican Presidents impose tariffs, former presidents Hoover, Nixon, and Bush, and all attempts led to failures to regulate trade and penalties on the American people. Unfortunately, our current president, Donald Trump, is ill-educated and poorly read and, in spite of economic advisors, believes that punishing the American public on behalf of special interests will somehow penalize China and our other trading partners -- insanity.
SUICIDE: THE END RESULT OF USING TAXES ON AMERICAN PRODUCERS AND CONSUMERS TO PUNISH OTHER NATIONS WHO ENGAGE IN THE THEFT OF INTELLECTUAL PROPERTY, CURRENCY MANIPULATION, AND DUMPING (SELLING GOODS BELOW PRODUCTION COSTS TO GAIN MARKET SHARE AND DESTROY COMPETITION.
Are you wondering, Am I Next?