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At the White House yesterday. Photo: Andrew Harrer-Pool / Getty

An exceedingly eager President Trump wants to launch his steel-and-aluminum salvo tomorrow, and Europe is threatening to clamp down on U.S. steel imports that get steered across the Atlantic. Not to mention on the sale of peanut butter, cranberries, orange juice, bed sheets, chewing tobacco and more.

Why it matters: Europe is starting out its threatened retaliation gingerly, affecting only a few billion dollars worth of American goods. But all manner of wars begin gingerly, only to migrate quickly out of control due to factors no one anticipated. At the low end, the cost could be hundreds of jobs, but the industries under discussion employ millions.

"Things unravel, especially when politics are involved," says Moody's' Mark Zandi, whose base case is for U.S. trading partners to match Trump's trade actions proportionately and attempt not to escalate.

By the numbers: Trump's metrics for his long-nursed indignation over trade imbalances are factories closed and jobs lost. But Jed Kolko, chief economist at Indeed, points out again that:

  • Metal-consuming sectors such as manufacturers employ 4.6 million people, versus just 415,000 people in metal-producing sectors.
  • Since 2001, both have bled jobs: employment in the metal-producing sectors dropped by 35%, and metal-consuming sectors by 20%, even as joblessness across the economy rose by 11%.

The bottom line: The industries at risk in this brewing trade conflict employ a lot more people than those Trump is trying to protect.

Go deeper

37 mins ago - Health

CDC panel: COVID vaccines should go to health workers, long-term care residents first

Hospital staff work in the COVID-19 intensive care unit in Houston. Photo: Go Nakamura via Getty

Health-care workers and nursing home residents should be at the front of the line to get coronavirus vaccines in the United States once they’re cleared and available for public use, an independent CDC panel recommended in a 13-1 emergency vote on Tuesday, per CNBC.

Why it matters: Recent developments in COVID-19 vaccines have accelerated the timeline for distribution as vaccines developed by Pfizer and Moderna undergo the federal approval process. States are preparing to begin distributing as soon as two weeks from now.

Obama: Broad slogans like "defund the police" lose people

Snapchat.

Former President Barack Obama told Peter Hamby on the Snapchat original political show "Good Luck America" that "snappy" slogans such as "defund the police" can alienate people, making the statements less effective than intended.

What he's saying: "You lost a big audience the minute you say it, which makes it a lot less likely that you're actually going to get the changes you want done," Obama told Hamby in an interview that will air Wednesday morning at 6 a.m. EST on Snapchat.

Nasdaq's ultimatum

Photo: Kelly Sullivan/Getty Images

New diversity and inclusion rules are on the table for some of America's most powerful corporations, courtesy of one of its most powerful stock exchanges.

What's new: Nasdaq is threatening to delist companies that won't move toward having at least one woman and at least one underrepresented minority or LGBTQ person on their corporate boards.