“Despite the myth that US manufacturing is in decline — and despite the very real decline in manufacturing employment— US industrial output is nearly double what it was 30 years ago. Very often, American manufacturers are in the business of making things out of steel and aluminum.” [Josh Barro] While, to paraphrase Trotsky, you may not be interested in trade war, trade war is interested in you [Axios on prospects for retaliation and economic damage] On the aluminum angle, Virginia Postrel in November. On the defense angle: Peter Coy, Bloomberg. More commentary: Dan Ikenson/Cato, Mickey Levy/Manhattan Institute. Will Trump quietly change course, as he earlier reversed an order that the Keystone XL pipeline be built only with American steel? [Simon Lester]
I’m quoted saying “that the tariff decision could be a big step backward for U.S. economic policy under Trump” [Trey Barrineau, trade journal DWM Magazine]:
Walter Olson, a senior fellow with the libertarian Cato Institute in Washington, D.C., said in a Facebook post on Friday that the tariff decision could be a big step backward for U.S. economic policy under Trump.
“There are few topics on which economists of different stripes are as unanimous in their opinion as in their disapproval of protectionism and tariffs,” he said. “It would take only a few policy mistakes like this to cancel out a lot of the positive economic value contributed by this administration through such measures as regulatory relief, tax reform, and permit streamlining.”
The U.S. Constitution entrusts tariff policy squarely to the legislative branch, so if senators don’t like how Trump is handling things, they should promptly repeal the laws they passed delegating their power to him, and instead take back for themselves direct authority over the issue [Ira Stoll] “It’s time for Congress to step up to the plate.” [Colin Grabow, The Hill]