Tariff Mongers Unite

I learned a lot reading the Associated Press' coverage of the latest round of arguments in the never ending US steel tariff debate. The article mentions how the Bush administration -- free traders in the heart but not the head -- introduced import tariffs designed to protect US steel interests back in W's first term. But now that prices have risen "from less than $400 for a ton of galvanized steel in 2001 to about $740 a ton last month, according to Purchasing Magazine" one wonders if even the most ardent protectionists still have any case to make. Consider that "in Ohio, there are 22,883 steel-producing jobs ... [yet] there are 24 times more jobs -- 559,570 -- in industries that consume steel, according to the Consuming Industries Trade Action Coalition." It's facts like this which highlight why tariffs designed to protect the interests -- and union jobs -- of a few end up hurting everyone else, making US manufacturers less competitive in both the domestic and global market. Sometimes I really wonder if the greatest "Red Tide" we face is in fact coming from our own protectionist, left-leaning policy makers -- both Republicans and Democracts -- rather than China or Chavez and his cronies.

Jason Busch

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