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This Way Is So Much Less Bothersome

Here’s a letter to Investvine:

Regarding your report on the U.S. International Trade Commission’s decision to punitively tax Americans who buy shrimp from certain foreign countries (“US plans to raise shrimp import taxes,” August 18): let’s describe this decision as what it is, namely, government-orchestrated theft.

If American shrimpers waved guns in consumers’ faces and threatened to shoot if these consumers insist on buying low-priced imported shrimp rather than buy higher-priced domestic shrimp, such thievery would be punished with jail time.  Fortunately for American shrimpers and many other domestic producers, they need not themselves engage in such distasteful and risky activities.  Uncle Sam does it for them.

Bureaucrats in Washington – at the behest of domestic producers – threaten force against consumers who would continue to buy low-priced imports rather than pay the higher prices demanded by domestic producers.  Just as if the domestic producers themselves wielded the guns, when government does so consumers are forced to hand over money against their will to these producers in exchange for nothing other than not being roughed up, held captive, or killed.

Calling government’s supply of such thieving services “trade policy” doesn’t alter the essence of what’s going on: theft carried out with threats of violence.

Donald J. Boudreaux
Professor of Economics
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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