The Corner

Economy & Business

Steel Trap

Don Lee reports in the Los Angeles Times:

Benchmark steel prices have fallen well below their level before the tariffs took effect and are now about half their peak in July 2018. The industry has responded with production cutbacks. . . .

Emboldened by tariffs, the president’s pro-business rhetoric and tax cuts that poured money into corporate coffers, steel companies went on a spending spree that added production capacity to a domestic market that didn’t need it. Historically low interest rates added to the steel industry’s enthusiasm for investing in new and improved plants and equipment.

At the same time, Trump’s penchant for on-again, off-again trade warfare contributed to a general slowdown of the global economy. U.S. manufacturing, which along with the construction sector is the principle consumer of American steel, is currently in recession.

Ramesh Ponnuru is a senior editor for National Review, a columnist for Bloomberg Opinion, a visiting fellow at the American Enterprise Institute, and a senior fellow at the National Review Institute.

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