Economy

So, What Was The Point?

JM Ashby
Written by JM Ashby

Trump made a big show of it when he signed tariffs on steel and aluminum imports by inviting a group of steelworkers for a photo op, but if I'm one of those steelworkers I have to be feeling like a tool right now.

Trump signed his tariffs on China this morning, the details of which still aren't clear as of this writing, but while doing so the administration also called off his tariffs on steel and aluminum.

Metal stocks fell off a cliff this morning because the tariffs won't be imposed on any country that we actually conduct a significant amount of trade with.

U.S. Steel slumped 8 percent at 11:34 a.m. in New York, while AK Steel Holding Corp. and top U.S. iron-ore producer Cleveland-Cliffs Inc. lost more than 6 percent. Chicago-based Century Aluminum Co. tumbled 14 percent.

The U.S. will “pause the imposition” of steel and aluminum tariffs that take effect Friday for Europe, Australia, South Korea, Argentina and Brazil, U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer told the Senate Finance Committee on Thursday. Brazilian steelmakers Cia. Siderurgica Nacional SA and Usinas Siderurgicas de Minas Gerais SA rallied.

Trump previously canceled his tariffs on Mexico and Canada so, at this point, no significant share of imports will be taxed. China produces most of the world's steel, and it appears the tariffs will be imposed on China, but we only import roughly 2 percent of our steel from China.

To be clear, this is good news because the tariffs were going to cost far more jobs than they could have created, but the Trump regime must look like bumbling, bluffing fools to most of the world including our closest allies and trading partners.

Although the tariffs have merely been "paused," I don't expect we'll ever see them actually implemented because the truth is the "dumping" and other alleged schemes Trump has repeatedly accused our trading partners of are fiction. The truth is steel is cheap because we don't build anything anymore. We're sitting on a trillion dollar infrastructure deficit that Republicans never intended to fill.

The end result of this charade could ultimately be market turmoil, job losses in the industry Trump was supposedly going to protect, and little else.

  • notanncoulter

    there is no situation he cannot make worse.
    there is no situation he has not made worse.

  • Nefercat

    “So, What Was The Point?”
    —————————
    What’s the point of a baby smearing poop on the wall in pretty patterns?

    It was something that popped into the baby’s/trump’s head and the baby/trump acted on it with no thought beyond the moment.

  • muselet

    What was the point?

    Donald Trump got to look tough! and decisive! He dominated! the ratings. No other news story was important, just him and his tough! and decisive! domination! of the news cycle.

    He dropped the metals tariffs because the story was no longer in the first segment of the evening news; the sugar high had worn off. Now he’s moved on to his next rush, tariffs against China. Those will last until they’re no longer the lead story.

    This is the first administration that’s not poll-driven, but ratings-driven. It’s not an improvement.

    –alopecia

  • ninjaf

    To be clear, this is good news because the tariffs were going to cost far more jobs than they could have created, but the Trump regime must look like bumbling, bluffing fools to most of the world including our closest allies and trading partners.

    Ah, but how does he look to his base? That’s what he cares about.

  • Well, Trump has shown, once again, he is all bark and no bite. The world is laughing at us again and in the meantime, the Unfree Market takes a hit. He is such a moran.

    • ninjaf

      “moran”…Nice callback!

  • David Greenberg

    Interestingly, republicans are excruciatingly careful not to do anything that would improve education or access to it for Americans, as an ignorant, uninformed electorate is a perfect foil for their needs. A base that is incapable of understanding what is happening to it can be fed right wing bull shit and will swallow it whole. Republican attacks on colleges and universities and “elites” can be more easily understood in the light of this thinking. Why should steel workers be able to understand how they are being used, manipulated and discarded. Of course they are only one group amongst many.

    • Scopedog

      Interestingly, republicans are excruciatingly careful not to do anything that would improve education or access to it for Americans, as an ignorant, uninformed electorate is a perfect foil for their needs.

      That’s been Republican SOP since Reagan.

      But according to the idiot Left, both parties are the same.