cheap metals

A couple of months ago, when President Trump first began threatening tariffs to make our international trading more fair to U.S. businesses, I posted about listening to NPR coverage of the hog crisis.

There must have been a crisis; I heard a vignette on every news show on NPR about pork production.  They spent two weeks focused on hog farmers.  We must have heard an interview with every hog farmer in America who was willing to say something critical about the proposed tariffs.  Of course, NPR kept making the point that the farm community had voted overwhelmingly for President Trump, and they repeatedly implied that President Trump was betraying the people who had voted for him.

Over the past three weeks I have heard a similar focus from NPR.  I think I may have heard every small business in America that uses steel in manufactured products.  They speak critically about how tariffs might harm their businesses.  NPR spins this into an anti-Trump campaign.

For the past couple of days the story about steel changed slightly.  Now I keep hearing different Europeans and Europhiles declaiming how the tariffs recently announced by Team Trump are “unjustified” and “illegal.”

At least, on NPR, their long format means that eventually you will learn something useful.  I heard a particular interview with a U.N. spokeslady.  She explained just how it is that the proposed tariffs are considered illegal.  President Trump says that a healthy metals production capability is needed in America for national security reasons.  She says that this is not true, because America can always import all the metals we need from our friends and allies such as Canada or the Europeans.  The fact that American metals production industries are getting killed by unfair foreign subsidies to metals producers should be of no concern.  And, the tariffs are being put forward under a provision of international trade law that invokes national security.  So we should just relax, let our metals production businesses fail, and go forward in reliance on our friends and allies in Europe and Canada.

Thanks to NPR for that clarification.  Now I understand why these tariffs are so desperately needed.

Go, Trump, go.  Do not trust our “friends and allies.”  Make America strong again.

MAGA.

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15 thoughts on “cheap metals”

  1. I do worry about shipping being stopped. We can’t take for granted the container ships will always sail.

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  2. I will need an opinion on trade policy when it is one of the two or three most important policy positions that makes a primary candidate preferable to another. In other words, never.

    There are many important issues on which, nevertheless, votes are irrelevant.

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  3. I remember seeing stories lamenting the awfulness of steel tariffs when Bush 43 briefly imposed some, circa 2001. If I recall they were only in place for a few weeks.

    Since then, tens of thousands of manufacturing establishments in the United States have closed, despite the lack of these dreaded Trumpian tariffs.

    Somehow all that hasn’t troubled the NPR set one iota. I can imagine they could have written thousands of stories over the years about people losing their businesses due to “illegal” and “unjustified”  foreign tariffs- but no, NPR would never do that, because they are never on the side of the American people.

    Note how they never get angry with China- or Europe, for that matter- about their tariffs against our products, only about us when we act against their beloved foreigners. And they always make sure to present the foreign viewpoint as golden.

    I’m not seeing an us here. When NY was attacked on 9/11 the entire country reacted as if the entire country had been attacked, because it was. I get the sense that if today (say) Wichita was to get nuked by a terrorist attack these folks would make jokes and complain that the Feds were spending money to bury the dead.

    Worst of all, I’m forced to subsidize these nitwits via my taxes. NPR should at least arrange for the EU and China to pay their bills, instead of me.

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  4. It is all in the game. People who work with words have the luxury of holding silly positions on trade, people who make things do not.

    All that is necessary is for trade barriers to be level, not the insane concept we have that only our barriers are wrong and all the others are ‘free trade’ as long as they apply to us.

    I for one do not want China or the EU deciding the economic future investment in the USA. Either we pick the industries we need or they do.

    Anything else is sophistry.

    I once asked a free trader why we do not hire the Chinese to set our trade barriers as theirs seem to be magically fine with his theory while American made ones are not. I got a one month suspension for that one.

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  5. TKC 1101:
    It is all in the game. People who work with words have the luxury of holding silly positions on trade, people who make things do not.

    All that is necessary is for trade barriers to be level, not the insane concept we have that only our barriers are wrong and all the others are ‘free trade’ as long as they apply to us.

    I for one do not want China or the EU deciding the economic future investment in the USA. Either we pick the industries we need or they do.

    Anything else is sophistry.

    I once asked a free trader why we do not hire the Chinese to set our trade barriers as theirs seem to be magically fine with his theory while American made ones are not. I got a one month suspension for that one.

    Then if you mention the suspension you get suspended again, right?

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  6. I remember, a long time ago, I had a t-shirt. It had list of dates when communist regimes had fallen, presented in the style of a rock-and-roll concert shirt, with the slogan “Democracy on Tour.” China was listed as “temporarily postponed,” courtesy of the famous massacre everyone likely to read this knows all about.

    The plain implication was that sooner or later the Chinese dictatorship would fall, to be replaced with something more like American governance. I recall this was a popular idea at the time.

    Oopsie. The American political class got involved, sensing a chance to stuff their pockets, and trillions of American dollars were invested in building up the economy of China.

    Fast forward to today, as the saying goes. Guess which regime actually collapsed?

    Bingo! The American regime. We have a former reality TV star as president, with the other failed party almost having been taken over by a de facto communist. And it would have been, except the de facto communist had the primaries rigged against him and took a dive. Meanwhile, the party to which the president nominally belongs is being completely overwritten by his nationalism, which previously was simply not discussed.

    That’s what your policies have wrought, free traders.

    Was it worth it? I think not.

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  7. This commentary: Prime Minister Trudeau responds to steel and aluminum tariffs makes me cringe at having to depend upon this “happy little moron” to provide steel for any of our future national security needs. If Stephen Harper was still in office, I’d be convinced to re-evaluate the situation.

    But he isn’t so I’m with:

    MJBubba:
    Go, Trump, go.  Do not trust our “friends and allies.”  Make America strong again. MAGA.

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  8. Xennady:
    We have a former reality TV star as president…

    This remark was disturbingly familiar to those who referred to Reagan as a “Hollywood B actor” completely disregarding his successful two terms as governor of the most populous state in America so I would suggest reading pages 1-36 of Conrad Black’s Donald J. Trump: A President Like No Other. 

    Please take specific note of Chapter Two: Donald Trump’s Financial Crisis and Recovery.

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  9.  

    This remark was disturbingly familiar to those who referred to Reagan as a “Hollywood B actor”

    I’m not sure why this bothered you since a) Donald Trump is indisputably a former reality TV star, and b) this is essentially irrelevant to his present job. I certainly don’t care about it.

    However, the nevers certainly did during the campaign, just like they really cared about his hair and his reportedly poor taste in interior decor.

    That said, I suppose I didn’t make it clear enough that I wasn’t expressing my opinion of God-Emperor Trump, but what I imagined the opinion of the pinheaded globalists who’ve spent last few decades running the US into the ground happens to be.

    Hey, at least reading that was free.

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  10. Leftist media chatter continues.

    Google News prominently featured this carping from Slate:

    https://slate.com/business/2018/06/trump-refers-to-war-of-1812-when-asked-how-canada-can-be-a-national-security-threat.html

    They ridicule Trump for thinking that it might be a problem for America to become entirely dependent on Canada for essential metals supplies.

    But, consider that Google employees are lobbying their company management to pull out of contracts with the Defense Department because they oppose war and don’t want Google’s services to be put to use improving weapons systems.   I could easily imagine a Canadian political decision to deny metals to America because they oppose American policy.

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  11. MJBubba:
    They ridicule Trump for thinking that it might be a problem for America to become entirely dependent on Canada for essential metals supplies.

    It is a problem to depend an any country for essentials particularly since regime changes happen often and quickly. Stephen Harper and that bimbo Justin Trudeau are prime examples.

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  12. But is that reason to favor an industry or reason for another strategic resource reserve?

    If protecting American steel producers drives up the domestic price of steel and depresses downstream industries, is the protection still worth it?

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  13. Aaron Millersays:
    #12 2018-06-08 at 01:12 UTC  [Quote]

    But is that reason to favor an industry or reason for another strategic resource reserve?

    If protecting American steel producers drives up the domestic price of steel and depresses downstream industries, is the protection still worth it?

    Maybe.  The reason to impose the tariffs in the first place was to counteract foreign subsidies of metals producers.   If our trading partners would quit putting their government thumb on the scale, then Trump would declare victory and back off.

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  14. Why do you guys think foreigners are ever going to stop favoring themselves over us?

    If such things as the close geographical and cultural proximity enjoyed by Canada along with treaties such as NAFTA and NATO can’t get them to stop why would you think China or Germany would?

    I spent years arguing against free trade at the old site but the real situation is even worse than I imagined. Germany, for example, has actual honest-to-gooodness tariffs against American automobiles. Canada- our supposed best pal- allows China to export steel into their country, waves a magic wand- and presto! it becomes Canadian steel for purposes of NAFTA.

    These aren’t the actions of friends. We should stop pretending otherwise. Free trade is a fantasy. It just won’t happen as long as nation-states actually exist.

    The actual events of the last 70-odd years should prove that.

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  15. Xennady:
    I spent years arguing against free trade at the old site but the real situation is even worse than I imagined.

    I’d only add that everyone save Trump does not understand the true definition of free trade. There is nothing “free” about putting the U.S. at a disadvantage.

    In order to be free, you must insist that others play fair.

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