You might remember the famous “anyone, anyone?” scene from the 1986 classic “Ferris Bueller’s Day Off” where the monotonous teacher played by Ben Stein lectures a class of bored high school students.
A detail you may not remember is the subject of that notoriously boring lecture — how tariffs imposed in the 1930s did not help to bring the United States out of the Great Depression; in fact, they made it worse.
NRF recreated that scene with Ben Stein himself to reinforce the lesson Ferris missed that day and send a strong message to policy makers: Tariffs are bad for consumers and the economy.
We launched this TV and digital ad campaign earlier this week to grab the attention of policy makers as trade issues take center stage in Washington this week. Watch it below.
Tariffs are B-A-D Ecomonics
The ad is funny, and it was fun to create with the help of Ben Stein, but the message is a serious one: Tariffs are bad economics. Our hope is that the ad — airing on “Fox and Friends,” “Saturday Night Live” and “Roseanne,” as well as on digital platforms — will help educate Americans and policy makers about the serious negative impact of tariffs on consumers and the economy.
The ads have already made a big splash, getting a lot of attention from outlets like the New York Times, CNBC, Bloomberg and others. Just as importantly, NRF has been actively fighting against the proposed tariffs on all fronts. In an Office of the U.S. Trade Representative hearing this week, NRF’s David French testified that proposed tariffs on Chinese goods would destroy U.S. jobs, disrupt supply chains and increase prices for U.S. consumers during the upcoming back-to-school and holiday seasons.
“There’s really an audience of one in this decision making,” said David French, chief lobbyist of the National Retail Federation. “For the president, this will seem like a winning strategy for a long time until it isn’t.” https://t.co/5H37O2x09F
— Michael Tackett (@tackettdc) May 14, 2018
"Tariffs are B-A-D economics. Bad economics. BAAADD." Ben Stein reprised his role as a droning economics teacher for an ad that's part of retailers' efforts to make an appeal to Trump about tariffs https://t.co/mlgRIE2Fix pic.twitter.com/GrWlWueOEp
— CNN (@CNN) May 14, 2018
— Mark Knoller (@markknoller) May 14, 2018
Recent studies conducted in partnership with other trade associations have found that tariffs would reduce U.S. gross domestic product by nearly $3 billion and destroy 134,000 American jobs. If the tariffs were expanded to another $100 billion of Chinese imports as being considered, a total of 455,000 American jobs would be lost and GDP would decline by $49 billion. Another NRF-CTA study found a television set made in China that costs American consumers $250 today would cost $308 after the tariffs are applied, an increase of 23 percent.
The Trump administration is right about the problem, but not the solution. Concerns about China’s unfair trade practices should be addressed, but American families will ultimately foot the bill for any tariffs, either through higher prices on everyday products, lost jobs or both.
We need your help in making sure policymakers in D.C. hear directly from you, their constituents, that tariffs are bad for Americans, bad for retailers and bad economics.