Protectionism vs. Jobs


Bush's steel tariffs were supposed to protect jobs in the rust belt. But there have been unintended consequences:

When President George W. Bush announced last March he would impose three years of tariffs on imported steel, it was supposed to save jobs, give struggling steelmakers a chance to fight off cheap imports and create good will in a swath of important battleground industrial states -- including Michigan.

Eighteen months later, the steel policy has helped avert layoffs, bring faltering factories back online and improve profits at steel facilities from Pennsylvania to Illinois.

But there is more controversy about the steel tariffs than ever. The higher steel prices have helped the steel industry but wreaked havoc on scores of other manufacturing companies.

Michigan's extensive network of auto parts suppliers has been particularly hard hit. The companies use steel as a basic building block for their products. They say the tariffs, which range from 8 to 30 percent, have had a devastating effect on their industry by raising their costs. They say they have laid off more workers than have been saved in the steel industry.

[Via Liberty & Power.]