Speed Reads

The politics of steel

Trump's promise to help the steel industry has reportedly done more harm than good

President Trump's vow to help the steel industry has actually done more to hurt workers than help them, The New York Times reports. "The president's own words and lack of action have actually put the industry in a worse position than if he had done nothing at all," said the president of the Alliance for American Manufacturing, Scott Paul, who added that he has "a profound sense of frustration that the president has been using steelworkers as political props."

Trump has talked up his "buy America" plan and promised $1 trillion in infrastructure, but has so far failed to move on those proposals. As a result, "foreign steel makers have rushed to get their product into the United States before tariffs start," the Times writes, noting that steel imports were 19.4 percent higher in the first 10 months of 2017 than over the same period the year before. Those overseas imports, many from China, have led to fates like that which has befallen ArcelorMittal in Conshohocken, Pennsylvania, which is poised to lay off 150 of the plant's 207 employees in 2018.

The administration's hesitancy to move on steel-friendly policies likely links back to disagreement in the White House about tariffs. "Automakers, food processors, and companies in other industries that use steel and aluminum in their products complained that tariffs would drive up costs and make them less competitive, ultimately sacrificing more American jobs than they would save," the Times notes. Read the full report here.