Protect Us from Protectionism

by Don Boudreaux on October 26, 2006

in Trade

Some facts reported in today’s Washington Times by my colleague Walter Williams:

No one denies that international trade has unpleasant consequences for
some workers. They have to find other jobs that might not pay as much,
but should we protect those jobs through trade restrictions?

The Washington-based Institute for International Economics has
assembled data that might help with the answer. Tariffs and quotas on
imported sugar saved 2,261 jobs during the 1990s. As a result of those
restrictions, the average household pays $21 more per year for sugar.
The total cost, nationally, sums to $826,000 for each job saved. Trade
restrictions on luggage saved 226 jobs and cost consumers $1.2 million
in higher prices for each job saved. Restrictions on apparel and
textiles saved 168,786 jobs at a cost of nearly $200,000 for each job

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Matthew Lesich October 26, 2006 at 7:53 am

Hmm, I think I smell a potential Pareto improvement here. Correct me if I'm wrong but couldn't we make everyone better off by simultaneously cutting the tariffs and transferring half of the costs to the protected workers.

The interesting question is why politicians haven’t implemented such a policy yet

Kurt October 26, 2006 at 8:44 am

Because the self-interest of politicians is not in accordance with making everybody better off?

Ryan Fuller October 26, 2006 at 10:16 am

Matthew, we *could* just get rid of the tariffs and watch the standard of living increase across the board. The thing about Pareto improvements is that you don't need the government to force them to happen in the first place. If the parties involved in a potential trade or arrangement each think they're going to be made better off by it, they don't need a coercive third party to force them to go through with it.

Lafayette October 26, 2006 at 11:53 am

Let's presume that ML's proposition is not implemented, because it is stupid. No one has repealed, to my knowledge, the Ricardian dynamic of comparative advantage in international trade.

America's challenge is to find ways to protect "naturally" a considerable part of its employment in the low-skill sector of manufacturing. By naturally is meant improving productivity of manual workers by, essentially, training them to run the machines that make them more productive. (This can be done by allowing more aggressive amortization of new production equipment, which spurs companies to install them.)

There is simply NO sense in lamenting the dislocation of jobs to China for which China is more adept at providing the manpower to perform. It happened right under our eyes. We have only ourselves to blame if we did not see it coming.

However, by competing in exactly the same sector by enhancing productivity by reengineering component assembly to be performed by automation, then it is entirely possible that America or Europe can regain some of their markets. As regards America, it is largely a matter of will. As regards Europe, it is more a matter of reducing drastically high social charges that NO amount of productivity enhancement will ever overcome.

ydkmwayne October 26, 2006 at 1:16 pm

I would be willing to pay an extra 21 dollars so british (I am from britain) industry can compete.

Swimmy October 26, 2006 at 2:04 pm

ydkmwayne: It's excellent that you're willing to spend more of your money to support something that you value. Of course, protectionism is about forcing others to do the same, no matter their values.

I found Lou Dobbs on the Daily Show last night especially amusing. He proposed that if politicians and the like are so worried about our "dependence on foreign oil," they should also be worried about our dependence on foreign steel and other goods. That should be laugh-out-loud funny for someone with an economics degree, but such are the times.

anon October 26, 2006 at 3:06 pm

ydkmwayne: That's not $21 for "industry", that's $21 for ONE industry, the sugar industry. At $21 bucks a piece, how many industries would you be willing to prop up that way? Moreover, is it fair to force poorer people than yourself to spend an extra $21/year for every category of goods that you'd like to see subsidized?

ben October 26, 2006 at 3:23 pm

Williams wrote:

"No one denies that international trade has unpleasant consequences for some workers. They have to find other jobs that might not pay as much"

I would have thought wages for those affected by trade would increase over anything but the short term, because a) jobs lost represents a move to specialisation in the nation's comparative advantage, where raises productivity and therefore wages, and b) trade raises national income, and unskilled workers are paid considerably more in wealthy economies.

Bruce Hall October 26, 2006 at 3:48 pm

Perhaps I am missing something. We give the Chinese jobs and they give us cheaper goods that fewer and fewer Americans can buy because the Chinese now have their jobs.

So, you are willing to take SOMEONE ELSE'S job away so that you can buy cheaper products? No, of course not… not personally. We'll just let manipulated currency and piracy do that for us.

Scott October 26, 2006 at 4:12 pm

Bruce Hall,

To answer your question, yes, I am willing to take SOMEONE ELSE's job away so I can buy products cheaper. But you know what, it's pretty safe to assume you do to. You're obviously on the internet, and I assume you use email to communicate. Do you realize that email takes away jobs from telegraph workers? Do you use fax machines? They take away jobs from postal workers.

Here's a hypothetical for you. Suppose there are two restaurants, restuarant A has one server per table and restaurant B has one server per five tables. Since the labour costs are lower for B it is able to offer much lower prices. Which one would you go to? If you chose A, why stop there, why not go to a restaurant that has two servers per table, after all you wouldn't want to be so shallow as to take away someone's job to have a cheaper meal.

Bruce Hall October 26, 2006 at 4:28 pm


Wonderful points.

I presume that you only go to fast food places with lousy service.

But more to the point; the jobs taken away are not necessarily replaced by as productive jobs. And again to the point; jobs that disappear are taxes that disappear. And more to the point; unemployed populations are anchors holding back the economic ship.

Yes, I will purchase goods that represent a qualitative and technological improvement over competition. No, I don't support a system that uses currency manipulation and outright technology pirating to compete.

Adam Malone October 26, 2006 at 5:32 pm


I think Scott's point regarding the restaurant is not that he loves fast food, but that it should be his choice to eat it. If you prefer to pay higher prices for food from restaurants with higher labor costs that should be your choice. However, the government should not step in through taxes, subsidies or quotas to make sure the restaurants with higher costs are on an "even playing field" with those who maintain lower costs.

I am glad that you have the means to decide not to purchase cheaper goods. I am also happy that you have the opportunity. Consumers vote with one thing, their dollars.

To say that the Chinese steal jobs or hurt Americans is a pejorative claim, and it is also not statistically true. If you look at the last two decades, it is obvious that as Chinese (and Mexican) exports have entered our economy (causing our trade deficit to rise) our natural rate of unemployment has not decreased as your claims would state. Instead, it seems that all of the jobs that were taken away in USA have not only been replaced with jobs, they have been replaced with more jobs that are most likely better.

How do we know they are better? Look at home ownership rates in the USA, not only have the been climbing but the prices for those homes are climbing. Not only are we buying more houses, we are paying more for them.

The Chinese manipulation of their currency is not a bad thing for us. It is bad for the Chinese people, because they are using their own tax money to subsidize our consumption. But that is not our choice, it is theirs.

For extra information as to the importance of the USA maintaining a "favorable" balance of trade research Germany. They have maintained a trade surplus for much the last two decades. Yet they have unemployment that has been in double digits for quite some time. For similiar economic examples you can reference France.

Scott October 26, 2006 at 5:32 pm


Admitedly, there are things the Chinese do that run contrary to free markets, but as my mom always taught me, two wrongs don't make a right and to put up protectionist barriers is the same line of thinking.

Going back to the original post, if the average household is paying $21 per year to protect sugar jobs, I'd be willing to bet that if those households just had to pay those employees to do nothing and import sugar everyone would be better off. If it costs U.S. consumers $826,000 per job saved wouldn't everyone be better off just giving those people say $100,000? After all, consumers would still have the same amount of sugar and save $726,000 per job. Surely, the average sugar worker is making less than $100,000, so they would be better off and paying more in taxes. So, tell me who's harmed in this situation?

Adam Malone October 26, 2006 at 5:35 pm

One note…the third paragraph should have read "exports have entered our economy (causing our trade deficit to rise) our natural rate of unemployment has not INCREASED as your claims would state."

Sorry about that, my proof reading did not catch it.

Bruce Hall October 26, 2006 at 5:49 pm


The problem is that your solution is not related to the manipulation/piracy basis of job loss. Your argument for legitimate job loss is reasonable if the foreign competitor provides superior products and technology for a lower price.

I've seen American companies take significant losses because Asian companies provide cheap, illegal knockoffs of products developed with significant costs by American companies.

Workers who lose their jobs because China manipulates its currency need protection. China (Communist Party) is willing to subsidize its industries through currency manipulation as part of a long-term political and economic strategy that requires undermining the competitive manufacturing capabilities of the West.

ben October 26, 2006 at 6:48 pm

Bruce Hall

Your argument relies on trade reducing the number of jobs in the economy.

This is completely false. Trading nations enjoy at least the same if not higher employment rates than protectionist nations. How could this not be true? America is enjoying relatively low unemployment despite ever increasing trade volumes.

Trade changes the mix of jobs, for obvious reasons, but you are confusing changes in composition with absolute long term reduction in jobs.

I also think 'job' is close to useless as a measure of anything, since a) many people choose to work only a few hours each week (is this a job?), b) leisure is also a good like income, c) people derive income in ways other than selling their labor to a business.

lowcountryjoe October 26, 2006 at 9:33 pm

Bruce, is there ANY issue in which you embrace the countless decisions, made voluntarily by individuals that lead to, in your estimation, desirable outcomes? If not, by whom and from where were you taught Economics? Is there an issue where your default position is not one of central planning? And what utility do you gain from engaging in this banter when clearly you are not making any real progress in converting (m)any of us to your grandiose ideas of collectivism/egalitarianism being a preferred state before individualism had allowed for it?

“Perhaps I am missing something. We give the Chinese jobs and they give us cheaper goods that fewer and fewer Americans can buy because the Chinese now have their jobs.”

Oh, and Bruce…you ARE missing something. No one gave the Chinese these jobs; they competed for some this business and were awarded the business because, all things considered, they could provide good enough products and at low enough costs (for the buyer) to entice importers to enter into agreements for their stuff. Now, if you really believe that the Chinese gave those goods away without getting anything of value in return for them, then you should probably stop posting to this blog immediately and leave with any shred of dignity that you have remaining. Hyperbole aside, Bruce, those words you wrote do mean something and were ill chosen…please do better next time if you decide to stick around.

True_Liberal October 26, 2006 at 11:24 pm

When we place duties on auto imports (as we do for sugar) then we are in fact subsidizing the American auto worker. I have read somewhere the amount of that subsidy, and cannot place my finger on it now – but it is not trivial. The politician who supports such duties/tariffs etc. claims credit for the jobs saved, but conveniently ignores the subsidy aspect. The average voter who doesn't comprehend this gladly votes his ignorance.

Bruce Hall October 26, 2006 at 11:29 pm

If I remember my logic courses, truth and agreement are not the same.

While many agree that my arguments are that trade causes job losses, I don't believe I ever said that or inferred that.

However, when the Chery begins to replace the Chevy, it will be one more example of how trade with a country that does not respect the international principles of trade will come home to bite this country in the ass.

One of my sons recently completed a website for a Republican running for the state senate who also runs an import jewelry company specializing in pearls from China. He was returning from China with his purchase when he was stopped by customs and relieved of his goods. He knew that it did no good to protest because he would then be charged with smuggling. His reaction was that was just the cost of doing business in China. While I suppose that could happen in any foreign country, the reaction was telling. If you decided to bring your product or your expertise or your business connections to China, you can expect that it will be confiscated or stolen or pirated.

Obviously, many companies are hoping to get enough profit out of doing business with China before they have to face the competition they created. In the meantime, the rush for short term profits is wreaking havoc with too many people in America.

This issue will not be resolved in a discussion group or blog. This is the beginning of a long economic conflict that few recognize for what it really is.

Russell Nelson October 27, 2006 at 1:05 am

Bruce, I'm afraid that you demonstrate your lack of understanding when you say "unemployed populations are anchors holding back the economic ship." Imagine if you said "Larger and cheaper supplies of steel are disrupting steel consumers" or "Newly available lumber from forests in the northeast are causing homebuilders to lack for wood." Everybody would think you were TOTALLY NUTS. And yet when you say that the availability of a greater number of workers depresses the economy, you think you're being profound and wise. The rest of us are not as impressed with you as you are.

Kent Gatewood October 27, 2006 at 8:34 am

If Mexico or India were to offer medical care and university education at a significant discount, would current expenditures on Medicare, Medicaid, and public higher ed become subsidies similar to payments made to farmers?

Bruce Hall October 27, 2006 at 9:40 am


If materials are lacking and imports provide them, certainly we should seek those imports.

In the real world, decision makers always optimize their positions. While you would argue that this is a good thing, there are times when the individual decisions sub-optimize the situation for others. You would also argue that this is a good thing and normally I would agree with you since it forces adjustments.

My position is that we are making short term decisions regarding sourcing that will eventually hurt us because our trading partner is not… well ethical is not exactly the word, but it will serve here. If you have any doubt about the efficacy of the Chinese strategy, just look at what they have accomplished in a remarkably short time. Their economy is going from a backwater to soon challenging the U.S. as the world's economic power and they are doing it largely with our assistance. Again, you can argue that this is a good thing. I might agree with you again if China showed any inclination to respect those who trade with them and who manufacture there by not being outright thieves of information and design.

But, hey, a bargain is a bargain… or is it? Our overall economy has handled the situation well. True, American-based manufacturing is dying out, but the service industries are going well. We have no concerns. You are all correct.

Adam Malone October 27, 2006 at 9:49 am


Expenditures on Medicare, Medicaid, and public education are "subsidies similar to payment made to farmers". They do not become that based on what other countries do.

While I do not agree with everything that Bruce has said, Ad Hominem attacks will not encourage free & open discussion, which is the purpose of this group.

Bruce, it is possible that one of the difficulties between a meeting of the minds here is the way in which so many non-economists/liberals/"bleeding hearts" look at the world. They look at the world and potential outcomes in their best possible light, instead of their actual real world outcomes.

Example: In New York, rent control was submitted as the best solution to rising costs of housing. Instead of solving the problem of rising housing costs it created a seperate problem, housing suppliers provided fewer apartments to rent. A politician would say "Look at what we have done to help the poor", and economist would say "Look at how many poor people don't have apartments to rent because of this program".

Example: Minimum wage laws are enacted to help the poor. And they do help SOME of the poor. However, minimum wage laws decrease the total amount of jobs, encouraging discrimination. (Please see Thomas Sowell's book, Markets and Minorities). The law helps a certain group of people at the expense of another group. It is fairly simple math. Every time you raise a full time employee's wages by $1 you are increasing the total salary by $2000 a year (40 hours per week, 50 weeks per year). Take a small business like a grocery store…with five employees at minimum wage the owner now makes $10,000 less a year (actually it is more like $10,700 when SS and FICA are included). Now ask a simple question; will that employer employ the same people as before? Or instead would that employer try to higher people who are more efficient? The answer is obvious, the employer will prefer the more efficient employee. Therefore those laborers who are less efficient like elderly/retirees, high school students, mentally handicapped, etc, will be either fired or not hired. Those hired will be those who would have had fewer problems finding a job in the first place. The people who were helped by the legislation did not need help. The people who were hurt by the law, were supposed to be helped when the beneficient crafters of the law designed it.

Looking through rose tinted glasses will tell legislators that they can "adjust" (or interfere) free markets for the betterment of all. True economists will tell you that no matter what you do, if you "nudge" the market, the market will nudge back. Political interference in the marketplace is a study in unintended consequences. And those consequences are never good.

Bruce Hall October 27, 2006 at 9:51 am

Before anyone jumps on the phrase American-based, let me clarify that as American owned and controlled….

But, I know, that makes no difference. Control is irrelevant.

Randy October 27, 2006 at 11:44 am


I disagree that "American-based manufacturing is dying out". The knowledge exists. So it won't take long to fire up the factories to manufacturer whatever it is that we need if all the overseas manufacturers decide to cut us off for some reason. Just as I have the knowledge to grow my own veggies and raise my own cattle if I wanted to. I don't worry about the ethics of it. I don't see any ethical value in forcing everyone to spend precious time growing veggies and raising cattle. Nor do I see any ethical value in forcing American workers back into the factories.

Bruce Hall October 27, 2006 at 2:55 pm

Randy, the circumstances are not so much that we should be concerned they will "cut us off" as it is that they are undermining our position in the long term. We are trading away our competitive advantages for short term profits.

For those who argue it is simply "free trade" and "good economics" to source in China, perhaps they might want to read the following:

* Inc. Magazine

China's national industrial policy facilitates forced technology transfer to Chinese industries. One new mechanism is the so-called CCC safety certification. Every electronic component or piece of equipment to be sold in China must be submitted to the Chinese government body overseeing the CCC certification. The process requires the foreign manufacturer to give Chinese officials full access to engineering drawings and schematics and to provide a complete finished product for evaluation. In addition, the applicant companies must pay for Chinese officials to visit and inspect their factories outside of China.

* Voice of America

* U.S. State Department

* U.S. State Department (2)

* Public Broadcasting System

I'm not sure if those economists are ignoring this issue because it is inconvenient to fit it into their "free trade" philosophy or because they view it as unimportant. Either way, this is an example of how China steals jobs, business, and profits from the world… especially the U.S.

Randy October 27, 2006 at 3:29 pm

Honestly Bruce, I don't really see that any jobs, businesses, or profits have been "stolen". It seems to me that this could only be possible if consumers were somehow forced to buy from a given vendor. I see no evidence of that. Your argument boils down to advocating that American consumers should be required by law to buy only from government approved vendors.

ben October 27, 2006 at 3:45 pm


First, it isn't possible to trade away the kind of advantage that matters, which is comparative advantage.

Second, you are analysing the issue as a collective problem when in fact what is happening is individual US producers who want to sell in China are deciding that submitting their drawings and other IP to officials is worth the cost. Regulating this therefore cannot improve the situation.

Third, the US's best response to Chinese protectionism is almost certainly not protectionism of its own – that just denies all US consumers access to the cheapest goods, and may carry no counterveiling benefits at all, let alone enough to offset this tremendous loss to consumers.

Fourth, while abuse of IP occurs in China I do not believe this is an important source of its growth in the last ten years. That growth is driven by its large labor pool and the development of institutions which have allowed the mobilization of that labor. China's prosperity has been built on manufacturing, not information goods, so I doubt IP abuse explains much of China's success.

lowcountryjoe October 27, 2006 at 6:10 pm

"China's national industrial policy facilitates forced technology transfer to Chinese industries. One new mechanism is the so-called CCC safety certification. Every electronic component or piece of equipment to be sold in China must be submitted to the Chinese government body overseeing the CCC certification. The process requires the foreign manufacturer to give Chinese officials full access to engineering drawings and schematics and to provide a complete finished product for evaluation. In addition, the applicant companies must pay for Chinese officials to visit and inspect their factories outside of China."

And yet the arrangement (contractual terms/conditions) continues and new arrangements are being forged on a daily basis; you'd think that these arrangement were made after carefull analysis. If you happen to be opposed to business — as I suspect you may be, from time to time, and depending on the political leanings of the ownership — why are you concerened that businesses are doing this? I could see if you were an owner of some of these companies through shareholdings but then there is always the choice to sell your position.

triticale October 27, 2006 at 6:37 pm

Bruce Hall is thinking the same way as a high priced trial lawyer who does his own filing because he is too cheap to pay a law clerk. If the Chinese can do something more cheaply, then it is misuse of our money to pay ourselves to do it.

Henri Hein October 27, 2006 at 7:37 pm

Bruce, and other protectionists:

First, it's important to understand that the benefits of free trade do not require bilateral trade. Unilateral trade is equally beneficial. Thus, even if we bought $1 trillion of cheap goods from China, and they bought $0 from the US in return, the US would still be better off. To see this, I liked Prof. Boudreaux analogy of a supermarket:
In such a situation, the US would still benefit from cheap goods and further specialization, which in turn increases productivity, which in turn increases wages and living standards.

Secondly, it doesn't matter if or how much foreign countries subsidize their exports. Imagine that China subsidized their steel to the point that it is entirely free to the US steel consumer. There is no disadvantage to the US, and no reason not to accept the steel. All this means is that Chinese tax payers are paying for US steel consumption. That would be a cost to the Chinese, but it would be beneficial to the US.

Bruce Hall October 27, 2006 at 7:50 pm


Yes, I like free lunches, too. Too bad the world doesn't really work that way.

Now for the real world… and the real world costs… or at least ONE of the costs of dealing with China.

I know, YOU are better off.

Russell Nelson October 28, 2006 at 1:59 am

Bruce, if all of us are better off by trading with China, where are the victims? Are you saying that at some time in the future, China is going to say "Okay, we now know how to make your products without you. Now go away and we will continue to sell into the US."? If they're going to steal IP, they don't really need anybody's help. Reverse-engineering is a fairly well-developed art. And if it's legal for China to sell something into the US, then it's legal for Iowa to sell it into New York. Are you going to suggest that New York needs to put up protectionist barriers against Iowa?

Matthew Lesich October 28, 2006 at 8:35 am


You've ignored the fact that such agreements are unlikely to be reached because the agreement suffers from the free rider problem.

This'll mean that there may not be enough money to bribe the workers to give up their tarrifs which leaves us back at square one

Bruce Hall October 28, 2006 at 10:46 am


I don't believe I ever made the case that we are all better off dealing with China… others have stated that as their belief.

My position is clear: China represents an economic threat to the U.S. because it is a wholly unethical trader.

If I steal something that you make and then sell it back to you for less than you can make it, does that make it a bargain for you? If you believe so, then we should do a lot of business. I can make you very pleased with those new economics.

The fact that China provides cheap labor in the short run does not offset the economic harm done to businesses that have their products and processes usurped by China. It does not make up for the costs of research and development that are lost as a result of counterfeiters not only destroying the market opportunities in China of those whose products or processes were taken, but also undermining those companies in the U.S. by becoming "competitors" as they sell their knock-offs in the U.S. You might actually read some of the examples I cited earlier rather than giving totally hypothetical examples of how we benefit by being undermined.

What you've basically said is that since the Chinese are going to steal from us, we might as well buy from them to make up for it. Wow, that is really obtuse! Just because a corrupt government in China looks the other way doesn't mean that we should. Or is all fair in economics and war?

I lose your analogy to Iowa and New York completely. Are the Iowa farmers ripping off the research and development and processes and products of the New York businessmen?

Henri Hein October 28, 2006 at 11:39 pm

"I like free lunches, too"

There was no free lunch implied. Heinlein's principle says that just because something appears free, it's not: somebody else paid for it. In my example, Chinese tax payers were paying for US consumption.

As for "Legislators Detail Concerns About Counterfeit Goods from China," this is hardly surprising: legislators detail concerns about everything under the sun.

You have several further problems with this part of your case:

1. The article assumes that all counterfeit products are a problem. In fact, not all counterfeit products are bad. For instance, I drive an expensive German car, and appreciate the option to use third-party parts when the Audi parts are ridiculously expensive.

2. The article states that 15-20% of goods manufactured in China are counterfeit, but it does not follow that 15-20% of *exported* goods are as well. In fact, it's more likely that China's domestic market includes the lion's share of this.

3. The article states that 70% of counterfeit products seized at the border are from China, but again, fails to mention what percentage of overall trade this represents. Given the tone of the article, I wouldn't be surprised if it was miniscule, or they would have included that number as well.

4. There is no reason to believe that the US market cannot deal with counterfeit products. If those products had reached market, rather than seized by US customs, chances are they would have been dealt with successfully.

5. Given the debate over IP, it is invalid to just assume that IP violations are harmful. When Hollywood whines (which it always does), it's often a good reverse indicator that things are probably OK they way they are, or only getting better. Remember VHS?

6. Don't be surprised when government officials provide data on how wonderful a job they do and how indispensible they are — for instance, US Customs telling us that all would be chaos without their dilligent controls at the border.

Martin October 29, 2006 at 11:20 am


Way to Go!

The people you are arguing with are not scientists but mystics.

They can't handle data, but by God they sure believe…

Henri Hein October 29, 2006 at 1:17 pm

We sure can't handle half-baked conclusions based on myopic emphasis on carefully selected data.

lowcountryjoe October 29, 2006 at 5:36 pm


Mystics? Data? Yeah, maybe so but try explaining what you'll find at this link…

nunyabizness November 2, 2006 at 6:29 pm

To respond to Henri….

1. You also have the right to use couterfeit blood products when real plasma isn't available, too. How bout a bag of tapwater with that anneurism, Mr. Hein?

2. How do you know WHAT percentage of counterfeit goods go where? You got a crystal ball you use for that prediction?

3. What difference does it matter what percent of overall trade it is? If the Chinese are responsible for 70% of counterfeits doesn't it follow that they're the ones doing most of the counterfeiting? Or is math your bad subject?

4. As long as you're the one buying that counterfeit product, I call that successful. If I bought it and it broke because it was counterfeit – and your silly rules permit counterfeit products – I'd say it's your fault.

5. It's invalid to assume IP violations are NOT harmful – EXCEPT in the case of Hollyweird. You ass-u-me whatever you like, not everyone ascribes to your particular brand of cowardice.

6. Don't be surprised when fake libertarian economist-wanna-be's spout bullshyte as if it were fact.

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