Both in process and substance, President Trump’s announcement on steel and aluminum tariffs reflects his willful ignorance and the utter failure of those around him to curb his grave defects. The Post reports:
President Trump on Thursday said he had decided to impose punishing tariffs on imported steel and aluminum in a major escalation of his trade offensive, disappointing Republican congressional leaders and inviting retaliation by U.S. trading partners.
Speaking at the White House, the president said he had decided on tariffs of 25 percent for foreign-made steel and 10 percent for aluminum.
“We’ll be signing it next week. And you’ll have protection for a long time in a while,” the president said. “You’ll have to regrow your industries, that’s all I’m asking.”
The announcement capped an on-again, off-again episode with the president initially expected to announce the trade action on Thursday morning only to cancel amid a fierce pushback from opponents. Trump acted following a determination by the Commerce Department earlier this month that rising import volumes threatened U.S. national security.
The president’s move, relying upon a little-used provision of U.S. trade law, is expected to trigger immediate legal challenges by U.S. trading partners at the World Trade Organization and invite retaliation against American exports.
There are virtually no respectable economists, certainly not conservative ones, who think tariffs are anything but an economic disaster. For economic conservatives still clinging to the notion that Trump was a positive force for the economy, Trump’s move should come as a rude awakening.