Steelworkers got nothing from tariffs
The Wall Street Journal
Thanks to Donald Trump’s tariff war, steel companies have “reaped a windfall,” said The Wall Street Journal. Steel company chiefs utter the same words, one after another: “a record year,” “record profitability,” “best year.” The common theme is “higher prices, strong sales, and a drop in foreign competition.” You can guess where the profits came from: America’s consumers and other industries that rely on steel. But at least while steel mills are “minting” money, they must be providing good blue-collar jobs. In fact, they aren’t. In November, 83,400 people were working in steel mills. That’s actually a decrease of 100 jobs from last February—a month before the tariffs were announced. How have workers in other industries fared? You can put a dollar figure on what it’s meant for the auto industry: “The profit-sharing checks going to Ford’s hourly workers were reduced by somewhere around $750 to $1,850 each.” Caterpillar estimated the cost of the tariffs at $100 million last year. For Whirlpool, it was $300 million. Multiply this effect across every steel buyer. Then add in the victims of retaliatory tariffs: soybean farmers, bourbon distillers, lobster trappers. Was all this really worth it, for the president to proclaim himself a “blue-collar savior” and steel executives to rake in big profits?