Protectionist Blather

by Don Boudreaux on April 15, 2010

in Trade

Here’s a letter sent today to the Wall Street Journal:

Appropriately enough on April 15, Robert Scott argues that Uncle Sam should raise taxes on Americans who buy Chinese-made goods (Letters).  He ends his protectionist case by bellowing that “It’s time we put national interests before corporate interests.”

Anytime government obstructs trade with foreign producers, among the chief beneficiaries are always corporate interests.  Does Mr. Scott, for example, think that Pres. Obama’s tariff on Chinese tires harms corporations such as B.F. Goodrich and Firestone?  Does he believe that the likes of American Airlines and Continental Airlines would cheer if Uncle Sam lifted the prohibition on foreign airlines serving domestic routes within the U.S.?

And is Mr. Scott aware that the trade restrictions which he thinks hurt only corporations raise the prices of food, clothing, furniture, housing, and other goods and services bought by consumers?  Indeed, as economists Christian Broda and John Romalis found, trade with China has disproportionately benefitted America’s poorest households – hardly the “corporate interests” that Mr. Scott unwittingly serves.

Sincerely,
Donald J. Boudreaux

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