Trump delights in executive swagger. His tariffs show it.

Never mind that the Cato Institute’s Colin Grabow notes

  • defense-related products require only 3 percent and 10 percent of domestic steel and aluminum production, respectively. Or that
  • six of the top 10 nations that export steel to the United States have mutual defense agreements with the United States. Or that
  • China, an actual military competitor and potential adversary, is not among the top 10. Or that
  • Canada, a NATO ally, supplies more U.S. aluminum imports than the next 11 countries combined. Or that, as The Post reports,
  • “For nearly a quarter-century under U.S. law, Canada has been considered part of the U.S. defense industrial base, as if its factories were American.” Or that
  • the aluminum for military aircraft and the steel for military vehicles will be more expensive, so, effectively, the administration is cutting the defense budget1

.. Electrolux, Europe’s largest manufacturer of household appliances, responded to the U.S. tariffs by suspending plans to invest $250 million in a Tennessee factory.

.. Protectionism is a scythe that slices through core conservative principles, including opposition to government industrial policy, and to government picking winners and losers, and to crony capitalism elevated to an ethic (“A few Americans first”).

.. Big, bossy government does not get bigger or bossier than when it embraces protectionism — government dictating what goods Americans can choose, and in what quantities, and at what prices.