Chinese Steel, the Presidential Race, Smoke & Mirrors

Chinese Steel, the Presidential Race, Smoke & Mirrors

The article titled “Why Clinton and Trump Keep Talking About Chinese Steel” points out the very shallow depth of our political discussions with our presidential candidates..

They both say China is illegally dumping steel into the USA.

What they fail to disclose, just like most topic of interest is, what exactly are they planning to do about it.  Legal measures have already been taken, adding such high dumping duties to selected products of imported Chinese Steel that the boarders are effectively closed.  Dumping duties make the effective prices much higher that domestic prices.

Are either of them proposing closing our import borders for semi-finished steel to protect the US Steel industry?  This would be a disaster, as steel intensive manufacturers would either import the finished products, or build their factories in other countries where they can obtain cheaper steel. Results would be, consumers pay higher prices for their products, and or American jobs are lost.

So many complex issues face this country, and yet the debates are over and we have yet to hear details from either side on how they propose to reduce the deficit, how they plan to fix our dysfunctional government mandated “Obamacare” or how they plan to rescue the (soon to be out of money) Social Security system. How about hearing how they plan to get any new bills passed when the divide between the parties is seemingly growing wider.   If they take a clue from the current President, this means more executive orders.  Is this really the government “by the people and for the people” when executive orders create new laws?

It seems the Washington political class likes to use smoke and mirrors to keep us little people in the dark about what their real plans are.  Just like Obamacare, where we were told, “we have to pass the law to find out what’s in it” (Nancy Pelosi) it seems we have to elect a president to find out what their plans are.  It didn’t work out very well for Obamacare, did it?

Why Clinton and Trump keep talking about Chinese steel

The issue of whether the Chinese government is putting American steel at an unfair disadvantage has now come up in two consecutive debates. That both candidates have focused on international trade in steel might be surprising, since it is not an issue that directly affects large numbers of voters.

“One of the biggest problems with China is the illegal dumping of steel and aluminum into our markets,” Clinton said Wednesday night. Later, she went after Trump for using Chinese steel in his projects as a real-estate developer. Trump himself had raised the issue in the second presidential debate.

Clinton was referring to a continuing legal dispute between several Asian countries and other nations around the world over subsidies for steel. In June, the U.S. International Trade Commission ruled that Chinese and Japanese subsidies were causing economic injury to the American steel industry. In August, the European Union imposed punishing tariffs on certain types of Chinese and Russian steel in retaliation.

One reason that the candidates are focusing on this rather obscure controversy in international law could be that voters see trade as a political issue, whether or not it affects their own pocketbooks. Researchers who study public opinion on trade have found that Americans are not more likely to oppose international trade if they work in industries or occupations, such as manufacturing, that are vulnerable to competition from overseas.

Instead, Americans’ attitudes on trade are more closely connected with their views on broader questions about American exceptionalism and the country’s position and status in the world. For Clinton and Trump, the issue of Asian steel could be a way to appeal to voters who believe that American power is in decline.

October 19 by Max Ehrenfreund,  Washington Post

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