Why aren't Trump's tariffs closing the trade deficit?

What gives, Tariff Man?

President Trump.
(Image credit: Illustrated | Joe Raedle/Getty Images lakesides/iStock, Miodrag Kitanovic/iStock)

President Trump, as he recently reminded us, is a "Tariff Man." He's slapped tariffs on America's imports of steel and aluminum from around the globe, and on roughly half of our imports from China. The president's enthusiasm for tariffs is largely driven by his antipathy for America's massive trade deficit, which Trump regularly denounces as evidence that the rest of the world is ripping us off.

But a funny thing happened on the way to Trump's trade war: America's trade deficit actually went up.

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