Bootstrapped Self-Sufficiency

by Don Boudreaux on December 15, 2010

in Subsidies, Trade

Here’s a second letter to the Washington Post on Harold Meyerson’s deep misunderstanding of economics and trade:

Harold Meyerson calls for “a tariff on offshored products, with the proceeds to go to a fund enabling such companies to manufacture their products domestically” (“Save the economy by keeping jobs at home,” Dec. 15).

Let’s start small by trying this policy first only on the Meyerson household.

Mr. Meyerson can charge his wife and children a steep fee every time they purchase a good or service from entities outside of their household.  He can then use the proceeds from this fee to subsidize his, his wife’s, and his kids’ household production of all that the Meyersons consume.  No more Meyerson-household job’s destroyed by imported food, clothing, furniture, haircuts, etc.  All will be produced in-house, with the expense for generating this happy outcome of high-quality household self-sufficiency paid for by the very tax that dissuades the Meyersons from purchasing non-Meyerson-made goods and services in the first place.

If this strategy works for the Meyersons, we can then consider extending it to the country at large.

Sincerely,
Donald J. Boudreaux

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