Tired of Namby-Pamby Schemes to Boost Employment in America?

by Don Boudreaux on January 21, 2012

in Trade, Work

Here’s a letter to the Wall Street Journal:

You report that the tariff Uncle Sam imposes on Americans who buy Chinese tires is “meant to whack imports of passenger and light-truck tires and give a boost to manufacturers and job creation in the U.S.” (“Get-Tough Policy on Chinese Tires Falls Flat,” Jan. 20).

No doubt.

But why settle for such an indirect means of boosting manufacturers and creating jobs in the U.S.?  If economics and ethics justify government inflicting burdens on American drivers so that American tire producers get more work, Uncle Sam should go directly to where the rubber meets the road: he should hire unemployed workers, equip them with switchblades, and send them hither and yon to randomly slash perfectly fine tires.  Even without tariffs on Chinese tires, the resulting increase in tire demand would raise demand for U.S. tires both directly (as many people with slashed tires would buy American-made replacements) and indirectly (as the now productively employed members of the U.S. Tire Slashing Corps – the TSC, as future historians celebrating its job-creating exploits might call it – earn incomes that they would no doubt spend in part on American-made tires).

It’s a win-win.

Sincerely,
Donald J. Boudreaux
Professor of Economics
George Mason University
Fairfax, VA  22030

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