Free-trade advocates have reacted predictably negatively to President Trump’s proposed tariffs on steel and aluminum, which were announced on March 8 and will take effect on March 23.
The predictable and overwhelming reason free traders oppose the tariffs is that while they may help some Americans who work in the steel and aluminum industries they supposedly will hurt Americans who consume products that contain steel and aluminum through higher prices.
Free traders believe that any time a company or corporation is faced with higher production cost burdens (higher wages, increased regulation, health care costs, etc.) that they must automatically recover these costs in the form of higher prices to the consumer. That’s not always true – and is especially untrue now – since the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act of 2017 became law and corporations are reaping much higher profits as a result.
In short, free traders mistakenly believe