Not everyone likes the idea of a tariff. If you’re a consumer of products, you might think of the tariff as a tax on you. If products (or the ingredients used to make a product, like steel) become more expensive, it often results in the loss of jobs and higher costs deferred to the customer.
To stay competitive, industries seek out cheaper stuff from foreign markets. China’s labor, for example, makes steel extremely cheap to produce compared to American steel, so it’s highly favored in industries trying to stay competitive. Why would you buy more expensive steel?
President Trump is attempting to combat that problem while hopefully spurring job growth in key industries. Many business groups and even Republican allies are upset at the tariffs and potential pending trade war that grows in intensity with each passing day, but it’s not all bad news for everyone.
Yesterday, President Trump visited one of the states who is feeling the positive impact of tariffs. Minnesota is one of the major iron producers in the country. Iron is used to make steel and Minnesota’s iron accounts for nearly 80% of all the first production steel made here.
As you can imagine, the iron industry in Minnesota is extremely happy about the tariffs. President of the Iron Mining Association of Minnesota, Kelsey Johnson, will tell you the same.
“He’s been fantastic on our issue and really, this has changed the dynamic in the economy in northeastern Minnesota so we’re really supportive. In 2015, we had a significant economic downturn due to high levels of imported steel and unfortunately, that really affected our iron mines in Northeast Minnesota.”
The Political Impact
It’s not just the people of Minnesota who love the tariffs. You can find states like Ohio, Michigan, Pennsylvania, and others, specifically in the rust belt, who felt left behind by the government. Blue-collar workers came out in droves to vote for President Trump, a candidate they believed would help get industry moving in the country again.
The problem is, the GOP is, by standard, free trade advocates. They often side against protectionist arguments. The democrats are always against Trump no matter what, so while both sides of the aisle hate this move, Trump is scoring political victories and support.
Krystal Ball, a liberal writer for The Hill, wrote a supportive message about the tariffs in her article, “I Hate Trump, but I Love These Tariffs.” The overall message is that Trump’s policies show care and concern for the forgotten workers and industries of America, which have been dying out for decades.
She’s not wrong. With unprecedented growth in nearly every economic sector, employment numbers at record levels, and once near-dead industries hiring again, there is somewhat of a positive story to tell about tariffs. It almost makes up for having to pay extra for products knowing the good it does.