Today’s WSJ online reports on the ruling of the US trade commission that subsidized steel from China is an unfair competitor to US steel, and will likely result in tariffs on that steel in the future. Once again the government is failing to understand the necessity of free trade. China is artificially changing the price of steel for its companies, so the government thinks that the best strategy is to artificially raise it back to its original level. Why not just allow the US population to buy the steel at lower cost when it is being supplied that way? China thinks it is gaining by doing this (even though we can be pretty confident they are not), and if we simply buy the steel from it we save ourselves a lot of money, not to mention the resources that currently are being used to produce steel here that can be diverted elsewhere. China is paying to allow us to get steel at a lower price. Why would we turn that down?

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