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Workers install solar panels on a house in Van Nuys.
Workers install solar panels on a house in Van Nuys. (Los Angeles Times)

To the editor: Has President Trump studied Economics 101? If yes, he’d know that imposing tariffs on solar panels, which are made much more cheaply in China than the United States, is supposed to stimulate growth in American solar manufacturing. But at what cost? (“Trump slaps big tariffs on imported solar panels in major escalation of a trade fight with China,” Jan. 22)

Today, a growing American industry is based on the installation of those cheap solar panels. By raising the price of the panels by 30%, solar heating will be priced out of the market, resulting in layoffs of American installation workers and possibly the bankruptcy of many American companies.

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Solar manufacturers in the United States have proved they can’t produce panels at close to the Chinese cost. The free market has spoken. I thought Republicans believed in the free market.

And don’t get me started on the fact that renewable solar energy, which has worked so well in California, is a major weapon in the fight against climate change.

Marsha Hymanson, Altadena

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To the editor: Trump is imposing tariffs on solar panels and washing machines because the importation of these products is undercutting U.S. manufacturing.

This is coming from a man who uses non-U.S. manufacturers for his Trump Home products and the Donald J. Trump Collection. Also, the toiletries and other items at his hotels are listed as being made abroad, including China.

When asked during a Republican primary debate in Miami why voters should trust that Trump “will run the country differently from how you run your businesses,” he answered: “Because nobody knows the system better than me. … I’m a businessman. These are laws. These are regulations. These are rules. We’re allowed to do it. … I’m the one that knows how to change it.”

To borrow a phrase by Mel Brooks, “It’s good to be the king.”

Ron Diton, Upland

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To the editor: Perhaps it is merely coincidental that Trump’s new tariffs align with the Big Carbon wish list. Is a wind turbine tariff next?

Perhaps our president does not know that solar employment expanded last year 17 times faster than the U.S. economy and that the industry employs more than 260,000 Americans. Perhaps he doesn’t realize that the coal industry, which stands to benefit from slowing solar energy growth, annually causes hundreds of billions of dollars in health and other costs and thousands of premature deaths, according to a Harvard Medical School study.

Going forward, let’s track the annual change in employment in the American solar industry. Will the lost jobs due to more expensive panels be made up by domestic solar manufacturers? Let’s see what happens to energy costs or the welcome drop in greenhouse gases.

Jan Freed, Los Angeles

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