The Atlantic

Trump Repeats Nixon's Folly

This president isn’t the first to embrace a “trade war” to bolster his populist credentials—but in the end, it’s ordinary people who will bear its cost.
Source: Elizabeth Dalziel / AP

President Trump just raised the price of cars, beer, vacations, and apartment rentals.

That’s not what most headlines say. Those headlines say that Trump will raise tariffs on steel and aluminum. Higher tariffs mean higher prices for those inputs—and therefore for the products ultimately made from those outputs. Automotive and construction top the largest users of steel in the United States. Aluminum is heavily used to make airplanes, cars and trucks, and beverage containers, and also in construction.

The last time the by industries that consumed steel estimated that the Bush steel tariffs cost in excess of 200,000 jobs—or more than the total number of people then employed in the entire steel industry at the time.

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