Upper Midwest papers are carrying the news that US Representative Rick Nolan, a Democrat from Crosby, Minnesota, will introduce legislation prohibiting the import of foreign steel into the US for five years. This is in response to the idling of several taconite plants in northern Minnesota and the consequent lay-offs of personnel.
Nolan accuses foreign governments of subsidizing their steel production to make their products cheaper than US steel. If this is indeed the case, why should that be detrimental to the US as a whole? Is more expensive steel, and the products produced from it, beneficial to the country? What if the foreign mills gave us their steel for free? People seem to enjoy dining at all-you-can-eat buffets to the disadvantage of ordinary restaurants, should the buffets be forced to charge per item at a rate identical with their competitors?
As Steve Landsburg points out, we have the technology to raise bananas in North Dakota but continue to import them. Maybe the enlightened Representative Nolan should introduce legislation forbidding the import of bananas and give the potential banana farmers of the northern plains a break.