Hard-Boiled Cronyism

by Don Boudreaux on August 14, 2013

in Crony Capitalism, Trade

Here’s a letter to Politico:

You title your report on the U.S. Commerce Department’s recent grant of special privileges to American shrimpers “Commerce slaps foreign shrimpers with taxes” (Aug. 13).

This title is deceptive.  A more accurate and informative title would be “Commerce slaps American shrimp consumers with taxes.”

This tariff – as with all protectionist measures – is first and foremost an attack on domestic consumers.  By portraying it as an action aimed at foreigners, you divert readers’ attention from a reality that crony-coddling government officials would prefer to keep hidden, namely, that those whose freedom to spend their money as they choose is impeded and whose cost of feeding their families is unnecessarily raised by this tariff are Americans.

Sincerely,
Donald J. Boudreaux
Professor of Economics
and
Martha and Nelson Getchell Chair for the Study of Free Market Capitalism at the Mercatus Center
George Mason University
Fairfax, VA 22030

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