Bailing Out Trump Tariff Losses Could Cost 3 Times Initial Estimate

A bailout for the industries affected by President Donald Trump's trade war would total $39 billion, the U.S. Chamber of Commerce warned Monday morning.

Trump appropriated $12 billion to bail out American farmers reeling from escalating tariffs last week. Now the Chamber of Commerce, which opposes changes to the global tariff system, worries that these measures may be extended to other sectors of the economy.

In a statement, Neil Bradley, the chamber's executive vice president and chief policy officer, warned that the farmer aid package could send the U.S. down "a slippery—and costly—slope."

"While America's agricultural industry has been hit extremely hard by escalating tariffs, it's not alone," wrote Bradley. "Thousands of U.S. companies—including manufacturers, input suppliers, fisherman, and businesses from numerous other industries—are finding it more difficult to sell American made products abroad amid the growing trade war."

The Chamber estimated that the auto industry would need $7.6 billion to make up for the damage done by rising tariffs, chemical manufacturers would need $960 million, prepared food manufacturers would need $884 million and fisherman would need $811 million in government assistance.

"The best way to protect American industries from the damaging consequences of a trade war is to avoid entering into a trade war in the first place," said Bradley. "The administration's focus should be expanding free trade and removing these harmful tariffs, not allocating taxpayer's money to only marginally ease the suffering for some of the industries feeling the pain of the trade war."

Trump's top economic adviser, Larry Kudlow, took to CNN's State of the Union Sunday morning to defend the president's trade war. Trump "inherited" a broken system that needed fixing, said Kudlow.

"This is a hard thing to do," Kudlow explained. "People say, 'well, President Trump's tariffs are damaging this that and the other thing.' I say don't blame President Trump. He inherited a completely broken world trading system…He's trying to fix it."

The president has in recent months imposed a series of new and increased tariffs on American allies in Europe, Canada and Mexico, as well as in China. Each of the countries has retaliated, hurting U.S. industries that rely on exporting goods. Still, the president has doubled down on his plans.

Trump took to Twitter last week to reassure the American people that his trade wars will ultimately be good for the economy. "Either a country which has treated the United States unfairly on Trade negotiates a fair deal, or it gets hit with Tariffs. It's as simple as that - and everybody's talking!" he wrote. "Remember, we are the 'piggy bank' that's being robbed. All will be Great!"

U.S. President Donald Trump holds up a signed presidential memorandum aimed at what he calls Chinese economic aggression in the Roosevelt Room at the White House. Mark Wilson/Getty Images