The recent action by President Trump on steel tariffs is like using a sledgehammer when a more precise approach would do.
Certainly, other countries—especially China—have taken advantage of the U.S. on steel imports.
But the tariff is too broad and may backfire.
Numerous U.S. and Connecticut firms use imported steel or steel components, incorporating or manufacturing them into parts they sell around the country and the world.
Using imported steel allows them to keep their prices competitive.
This steel tariff threatens these businesses.
We need policies that benefit big firms like US Steel, and small metal formers, of which there are dozens throughout Connecticut.
Tariffs, in general, are bad policy.
They invite counter actions, such as those now being considered in Europe, that could damage many U.S. firms.
When you shoot from the hip, the ricochet can come back to hit you.
Trump's tariff decision does exempt Canada, our biggest steel importer, and Mexico.
That's at least better than a blanket tariff.
But what we really need are thoughtful efforts that promote trade, grow U.S. jobs, and work for all American firms, large and small.
Pete Gioia is an economist with CBIA. Follow him on Twitter @CTEconomist.