The truth is that protectionism of the sort Trump will actively be practicing here isn’t about protecting the interests of American consumers. In fact, it’s a war against American consumers, because its explicit purpose is to raise the price of goods from abroad that’ll allow US manufactures to produce the same stuff at higher cost to make it worth their while to build facilities and hire workers.
Let’s say this works and over the course of a decade, 150,000 more people are employed producing steel. That sounds terrific — except there are 330 million American consumers. Think of it this way: Every single person in the United States is a consumer.
Trump has been taking victory laps over the GOP tax cuts that passed last year. But with this economically absurd action, he’s also effectively raising taxes on 330 million and privileging 150,000 workers whose jobs don’t even exist yet.