Ron Paul, a former presidential candidate and ex-congressman, joined several Republican lawmakers on Wednesday in criticizing President Donald Trump for his plan to impose tariffs on steel and aluminum.
“You don’t want to protect something that’s not efficient, or if we have too many regulations or it’s due to the monetary policy,” he told FOX Business’ David Asman. “You don’t want to protect them and protect the mistakes. It’s a form of a bailout, and a lot of people talked about that during the recession.”
Other notable opponents to the tariff include Speaker Paul Ryan, who urged the president to consider implementing “surgical” tariffs to such countries as China instead of U.S. allies. Gary Cohn, the director of the National Economic Council, resigned Tuesday night after the president refused to reverse course on the tariffs.
Trump said the tariffs – 25% on steel and 10% on aluminum – would protect U.S. companies and allow for the creation of new manufacturing plants, one of his main promises during the 2016 presidential campaign.
Paul, a libertarian who is critical of any form of taxation, said that U.S. laws should be rewritten so the president cannot single-handedly impose tariffs. While the Constitution gave Congress the power to impose tariffs, over the past century, the law has been rewritten to grant that power to the White House.
Trump billed the tariffs as pro-jobs and pro-America, but Paul suggested the tariffs are more likely to hurt American employees. There are 140,000 people working in the steel industry, compared with 6.5 million at manufacturers that use steel.
“Those numbers never pan out. Besides, if you take them from one, you might lose them to someone else. I think there is always a cost,” Paul said. “Most economists have, over the years, indicated that tariffs aren’t good for the economy and don’t really create jobs.”