Patriotic Protectionists?

by Don Boudreaux on August 13, 2009

in Myths and Fallacies, Trade

Yesterday I sent a letter to the Washington Post challenging Harold Meyerson’s completely misinformed understanding of the state of manufacturing in the United States.  Today I sent this other letter challenging another of Meyerson’s misunderstandings:

Protectionist Harold Meyerson asserts that the higher tariffs endorsed by protectionist Sen. Sherrod Brown would inject “some pro-American considerations into our trade policy” (“Just One Word: Factories,” August 12).

Wrong.  Higher tariffs would inject only some pro-American producer considerations into our trade policy – and only for some American producers.

The consumers who would pay higher prices in return for fewer and lower-quality goods and services would be Americans.  And at least one-third of American imports today are inputs used by American producers to enhance their products’ qualities and their firms’ operating efficiencies.  So higher tariffs would harm many American producers.

Does Mr. Meyerson rank as “Americans” only those relatively few producers who stand to gain from monopoly protection which would make the vast majority of the rest of us worse off?

Sincerely,
Donald J. Boudreaux

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