The tariff talks and Christmas shopping

There has been much made of the recent tariff war between the US and China. But how will this impact us - the consumer - as we head into holiday shopping season?  According to Raymond Hill, an economist from Emory University's Goizueta Business School, we're OK, for now. 

Let's get up to speed on what a tarifff is. Hill says it's basically a sales tax levied on products we import from other counties. There was supposed to be an increase in tariffs in September from 25 percent to 30 percent. That's why folks keep talking and arguing about it. But that's in a holding pattern because both sides are talking. 

But what if next week this tax or tariff goes up to 30 percent? Hill, who teaches economics and finance, says your Christmas shopping list, which is usually about $500, is safe.

"My expectation is there will not be anything dramatic enough for the average mom spending $500 to notice. We're in a period of low inflation," he said. "The consumer will see very little of it."

What you're seeing right now that might be making you feel more nervous about finances is a lot of bluffing from both sides with little real transparency, Hill says. But the good news is that with that low inflation is low unemployment.

Still, yes, we keep hearing tough talk from both sides. And that's because that's how China and the US talk to each other - through headlines and soundbites. Behind the quippy quotes, it's OK for now. Carry on with Christmas shopping.