Krugman Moves Closer to Protectionism

by Don Boudreaux on January 5, 2010

in Seen and Unseen, Trade

In his New Year’s Day column, Paul Krugman argues that protectionism can create jobs in times of unemployment.  (Lots of other problems plague this column, by the way.)

If Krugman is correct, why stop at national borders?  Just think how many jobs Congress could create by encouraging states to erect their own tariff walls?  High-taxing and heavily regulating states would then be able to protect their workers from states with lower taxes and less-burdensome regulations.  California wineries would never again lose market share to rivals in Oregon and Washington state.  Michigan autoworkers would never again be displaced from their jobs by workers in Tennessee and South Carolina.

Given Krugman’s assumption that restricting consumers’ freedom to make cross-border purchases increases the total number of jobs in economies suffering unemployment, why let all those borders between Maine and California go to waste?  Turn those borders, too, into barriers to trade and watch American employment skyrocket!

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