Wednesday, the International Trade Commission voted to impose new tariffs on imported Chinese steel pipes. American steel makers and unions are celebrating:
... The ruling allows the Commerce Department to impose countervailing duties ranging from 10% to 16% on future imports from China of "oil country tubular goods," which are the pipes used in the oil and gas industry.
In effect, the ITC vote means that few if any such pipes from China will now be entering the U.S. That's good news for a domestic steel industry that wants less competition from international suppliers. But it's bad news for the U.S. economy, and for consumers of steel products who could face higher prices for cars, appliances and other downstream goods.
And its bad for you and me. But the politically-connected steel makers and unions have more clout with our “leaders.”
We can blame the Obama administration for these tariffs, but the so-called “free trader” George W. Bush did the same thing, giving the steel industry billions at the expense of everyone else, thereby adding $100 to the price of a new car. Protectionism is not exclusive to Democrats.
U.S. trade laws aren't about "fair trade" or "leveling the playing field," or the other cliches of protectionists. They have become tools of political income redistribution, protecting certain industries at the expense of others and the larger U.S. economy.