And, relatedly, here’s a letter that I sent on Thursday to the Wall Street Journal:
You are rightly critical of the vote by the U.S. International Trade Commission to, as you say, “impose new duties on imports from China” (“Steeling from Americans,” Dec. 31).
I suggest that you describe such protectionist actions in a way that is more in tune with the title of your editorial – namely, as new duties imposed on people from America.
Imports themselves never pay duties. Duties are paid always by parties to voluntary economic exchanges. And because duties diminish the attractiveness of such exchanges to consumers, Uncle Sam’s duties are not taxes on inanimate objects from abroad; they are taxes on innocent Americans here at home.
Donald J. Boudreaux