Publisher's note: This post, by Ray Nothstine, was originally published in the Economy section of Civitas's online edition.
Brian Balfour accurately called President Donald Trump's proposed tariffs on steel and aluminum "crony protectionism
." It's a good tag.
In my mind, Henry Hazlitt's "Economics in One Lesson
" is a great resource on the consequences of tariffs. "It is useless to deny that a tariff does benefit-or at least can benefit-special interests. True, it benefits them at the expense of everyone else,"
writes Hazlitt. If there is one thing definitely not needed in North Carolina and this nation, it's more cronyism.
When thinking about policy, it's always best to start with people. And tariffs operate just like a tax, placing an inordinate amount of the burden on citizens who are struggling to make ends meet, driving up prices, damaging wages and affordability. My inclination is that Trump's proposed 25 percent steel tariff and 10 percent aluminum tariff will be scaled back from the percentages currently being proposed. The fourth story listed below highlights Rep. Mark Meadows effort to do just that.
Trump has a propensity to start out big in his initial push and then adjust from there once he's driving the policy debate. The Republican Party and many conservatives were once huge advocates for tariffs and protectionism, let's hope both major political parties and politicians continue to eschew these policies as a relic of a bygone era.
Below is a list of current links directly related to North Carolina and the proposed tariff.