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Maybe We Should Prohibit the Wheel, Too

Here’s a letter to the Washington Post:

Promising a “renaissance in American manufacturing,” the Obama administration proposes “raising taxes on multinational corporations that Democrats accuse of shipping jobs overseas” (“New Democratic strategy for creating jobs focuses on a boost in manufacturing,” August 4).

Never mind that until the current downturn U.S. manufacturing output was at an all-time high and still growing.  Even now it remains the largest in the world.  The lie of U.S. manufacturing decline – repeated ad nauseam – conveniently paves the path for greater government control over the economy.

Instead focus on the plan to tax business actions that “ship jobs overseas” – that is, the plan to tax actions that economize on labor costs.  Will Democrats seek also to tax, say, shipping containers?  Over the past half-century, these humble boxes have put millions of high-paid longshoremen out of work.  Perhaps the Democrats will tax also high-grade rubber tires: by enabling cars and trucks to travel farther on single sets of tires, the number of jobs in tire-manufacturing plants is reduced.  Or maybe TeamObama will slap a punitive tax on electrical generators, for ready access to inexpensive electricity continues to encourage businesses to lower their costs by replacing human labor with machines.

The possibilities to spark the kind of economic “renaissance” envisioned by Mr. Obama and friends are endless.

Donald J. Boudreaux


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