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Steely Inconsistency

Here’s a letter that I sent today to the Baltimore Sun, in response to this op-ed:

To the Editor:

rightly criticize the Antitrust Division’s requirement that, as a
condition of merging with Arcelor, Mittal Steel sell its Sparrows Point
mill ("Getting the Point," Feb. 22).  But you miss an acute incongruity
behind this requirement: the world steel market is so competitive that
U.S. steel makers must sometimes be protected from it.

Or, at
least, the Bush administration thought so in 2002 when it raised
tariffs on steel imports in the hope that protection from low prices on
the world market would enable U.S. steel producers to "restructure."
Do these producers now have such dreadful market power that Arcelor
Mittal cannot be trusted to keep the mill at Sparrows Point?  I doubt
it – but if so, surely part of the blame rests with President Bush.

Donald J. Boudreaux

And people — many intelligent people — continue to suppose that government policy-making is generally coherent, even noble, from the standpoint of ordinary citizens seeking economic well-being.

See also this insight from Dan Ikenson.