Repeal The Tariffs

Economist Robert Samuelson has a good piece in The Washington Post stating why the President should immediately repeal his steel tariff decision:

Now, consider what happens if Bush retains the tariffs and defies the WTO.

For starters, he incurs the wrath of many small industrial users of steel — makers of auto parts, various steel components and machine tools. They’ve complained that tariffs have raised their costs and undermined their competitiveness against foreign rivals. Indeed, tariffs have probably cost more jobs among steel users than they’ve saved among producers. Gary Hufbauer and Ben Goodrich of the Institute for International Economics, a think tank, estimate that tariffs preserved 3,500 steel jobs; by contrast, they think that the tariffs might have cost steel users between 12,000 and 43,000 jobs.

Nor is that all. If Bush keeps the tariffs, the European Union will retaliate, as WTO rules permit. It would impose tariffs of 8 percent to 30 percent on $2.2 billion worth of U.S. exports, including steel, fruit, paper and pantyhose. Other countries, including Japan and China, might do likewise. The point: Keeping the tariffs would cost more jobs (and probably more Bush votes) than scrapping them.

Again, protectionism never works, it invariably costs more jobs than it helps, and it sets the idea that some industries should be shielded while others get the shaft. Samuelson is right, steel tariffs were a dumb move in both policy and politics, and it is time for the President to get rid of them.

One thought on “Repeal The Tariffs

  1. Even if the steel tariffs were a bad idea, repealing them right now or at any point before next year at this time would be a worse move politically, because he would give steel-rich swing states like Ohio, Pennsylvania and West Virginia one less reason to vote for him, yet will not gain many votes in the other 47 states based on the decision. Are you really so impatient that you’re willing to jeopardize 46 electoral votes in your zeal to accelerate the destruction of what’s left of the American steel industry?

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.