5.12.03

WYOMING PRESUMABLY ALREADY LOCKED UP. Dan Drezner summarizes the political fallout of the end of the emergency steel tariff. Per corollary to the Iowa Car Crop, steel miners who think they are mining coal in the Powder River Basin, and the railwaymen who haul what they perceive as coal to West Coast ports, where the ships return with steel, also stand to benefit by the end of the tariffs. Perhaps a roundup of industry comment over the weekend.

SECOND SECTION: Professor Drezner finds a report from Pittsburgh that notes the weaker U.S. dollar (and perhaps the short-term steel shortage?) mean little short-term effect, but the end of the tariffs might remove some stability and impede the ongoing consolidation in the industry. Huh? The Big Two integrated producers have recently pulled off consolidations that would have made Andrew Carnegie or Henry Clay Frick blush, and the national government's insurance program for heavy-industry pension liabilities is an added inducement for weak companies to close and hive off those legacy costs to the taxpayers.

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