Turn Right! No, Left!!
It's far from clear how to help the steel industry, and with good reason. There is little agreement within the industry itself! Here's a sampling of opinions just on the question of what to do about "legacy costs":
"At no cost to the taxpayer, all steel companies (including importers) should bear the cost of the downsizing of the '80s. This should be done through the proceeds of a surcharge of 1.5% . . . on all steel shipments&used to pay retiree insurance benefits. . . " United Steel Workers of America, "The Crisis in American Steel," Rapid Response Conference, April 5, 2001.
"Government assistance to troubled steel companies for continued operation or legacy costs is unacceptable. That assistance is unfair to those steel companies who are not troubled." Steel Manufacturers Association, "On Ending the Steel Crisis: Statement on a Program Need and Principles Underlying Its Implementation," February 23, 2001.
"It's absolutely ridiculous to tax the successful companies to bail out the unsuccessful business practices of unsuccessful ones& We're not in favor of the $500 million provision [in H.R. 808] for similar reasons." Dan DiMicco, President and Chief Executive Officer of Nucor Corp. (a steel mini-mill), quoted in Nancy Kelly, "Rockefeller plan divides AISI audience," American Metal Market, May 16, 2001.
"To tax those who did not have a hand in creating legacy costs will just hurt everyone." Keith Busse, President and CEO of Steel Dynamics, Inc. (a steel mini-mill), quoted in Nancy Kelly, "Rockefeller plan divides AISI audience," American Metal Market, May 16, 2001.
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The Consuming Industries Trade Action Coalition