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Tuesday, March 6, 2018

22 Reasons Trump Shouldn’t Follow through on His Tariff Threat

A roundup of reactions to Trump's steel and aluminum tariff announcement.

A good roundup of reactions to the Protectionist-in-Chief’s tariffs on steel and aluminum from the National Taxpayers Union Foundation.

1. “The Trump administration has worked to make the United States ‘open for business’ by cutting taxes and regulations. New trade taxes would run counter to President Trump’s efforts to attract new job-creating investment in the United States. Historically, restrictions on inputs like steel for appliance makers and sugar for candy manufacturers have caused U.S. companies to relocate abroad.”

-Bryan Riley, National Taxpayers Union

2. “I continue to be concerned about what other countries do in response to that. In our state, we make steel and aluminum, but we continue to buy a lot more than we make. Things like sheet aluminum that you use to make boats with, we make a lot of boats, it’s not available in the United States.”

-Sen. Roy Blunt (R-MO)

3, “He’s so good on tax cuts. He’s so good on deregulation, infrastructure. I even like him on immigration. He’s never been good on trade.”

-Larry Kudlow

4. “Import taxes on steel and aluminum will raise the prices of those products, which in turn will raise the price of doing business for U.S. manufacturers. There are more people in U.S. manufacturing sectors that rely on steel than there are in the U.S. steel industry. In terms of the economics, the trade-off does not make sense.”

-Christine McDaniel, Mercatus Center

5. “President Trump’s announcement today of his intention to impose tariffs on steel and aluminum imports is likely to have serious negative consequences for American workers and the American economy. Restricting imports under the guise of national security will increase prices of these basic commodities for numerous U.S. manufacturers and consumers, and put millions of American jobs at risk. It is not in the interest of the U.S. economy, or the ‘forgotten men and women’ of America, to restrict these vital imports.”

-Tori Whiting, Heritage Foundation

6. “Against the advice and warnings of top Republican congressional leaders, virtually the entire US business community, and his own national security appointees, the president decided to go ahead with a counterproductive set of tariffs.”

-Claude Barfield, American Enterprise Institute

7. “The tariffs sought by President Trump are much broader than the more targeted tariffs implemented by the Bush administration. American businesses that export their products abroad also will almost certainly face foreign retaliation. There will be no winners in a global game of tit-for-tat retaliation.”

-Clark Packard, R Street

8. “The Commerce Department’s recommendation to impose tariffs ignores history — and it ignores the reality that U.S. manufacturing will ultimately be the loser with these protectionist policies.”

-Rep. Mark Meadows (R-NC)

9. “Imported aluminum used to make beer cans is not a threat to national security. The largest importer of aluminum to the United States is Canada — one of America’s strongest allies. We urge the Department of Commerce to exclude imported aluminum and cansheet used to make beer cans from these tariffs so as not to unnecessarily increase costs on American businesses and put jobs at risk.”

-Jim McGreevy, Beer Institute

10. “President Trump’s first year in office has been one that invigorated the economy with the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act and regulatory reform, but I urge the President to exercise extreme caution here as these tariffs could affect some of this economic growth. The last time steel tariffs were imposed, it cost American jobs. I’m already hearing from constituents who fear this will seriously harm their businesses. I applaud the President for working on better trade agreements, but the imposition of wide-ranging tariffs may lead to the net loss of American jobs, higher prices for consumers, and invite trade retaliation from abroad.”

-Rep. Jeb Hensarling (R-TX)

11. “We urge President Trump to reconsider imposing these costly tariffs and punishing the very businesses that are helping him grow the economy and create jobs.”

-American Chemistry Council

12. “Business Roundtable strongly disagrees with today’s announcement because it will hurt the U.S. economy and American companies, workers, and consumers by raising prices and resulting in foreign retaliation against U.S. exporters.”

-Joshua Bolten, Business Roundtable

13. “Let’s be clear: The President is proposing a massive tax increase on American families. Protectionism is weak, not strong. You’d expect a policy this bad from a leftist administration, not a supposedly Republican one.”

-Sen. Ben Sasse (R-NE)

14. “The President’s pending decision on tariffs and quotas for steel and aluminum trade highlights several unfortunate ironies. With one stroke of the pen, much of the promised benefit of tax reform and other Administration initiatives aimed at reviving manufacturing and protecting national security could be undercut.”

-John Bozzella, Global Automakers

15. “These proposed tariffs on steel and aluminum imports couldn’t come at a worse time. Auto sales have flattened in recent months, and manufacturers are not prepared to absorb a sharp increase in the cost to build cars and trucks in America.”

-Cody Lusk, American International Automobile Dealers Association

16. “Every time you do this, you get a retaliation. And agriculture is the number one target. I think this is terribly counterproductive for the (agriculture) economy and I’m not very happy.”

-Sen. Pat Roberts (R-KS)

17. “We are concerned with the unintended consequences the proposals would have, particularly that it will lead to higher prices for steel and aluminum here in the United States, compared to the price paid by our global competitors. This would place the U.S. automotive industry, which supports more than 7 million American jobs, at a competitive disadvantage.”

-American Automotive Policy Council

18. “President Trump shouldn’t undercut his own goal of helping U.S. manufacturers “win” again by imposing counterproductive tariffs on steel imports.”

-Dennis Slater, American Equipment Manufacturers

19. “There is no escaping the fact that these tariffs — or new taxes because that is what they are — will raise costs for many small to mid-size businesses.”

-Karen Kerrigan, Small Business & Entrepreneurship Council

20. “Toyota’s procurement philosophy has always been to build where we sell and to buy where we build. In fact, more than 90% of the steel and aluminium we purchase is from right here in the US. Nonetheless, the Administration’s decision to impose substantial steel and aluminium tariffs will adversely impact automakers, the automotive supplier community and consumers as this would substantially raise costs and therefore prices of cars and trucks sold in America.”

-Toyota Motor North America

21. “Donald Trump made the biggest policy blunder of his Presidency Thursday by announcing that next week he’ll impose tariffs of 25% on imported steel and 10% on aluminum. This tax increase will punish American workers, invite retaliation that will harm U.S. exports, divide his political coalition at home, anger allies abroad, and undermine his tax and regulatory reforms.”

-The Wall Street Journal Editorial Board

22. “Evaluated from almost any angle, Trump’s move does not make the slightest bit of sense.”

-Colin Grabow, Cato Institute

Reprinted from the American Enterprise Institute.

  • Mark J. Perry is a scholar at the American Enterprise Institute and a professor of economics and finance at the University of Michigan’s Flint campus.