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All At Once

Here’s a letter to a free-lance writer in Tempe, Arizona:

Mr. Sean Gardner

Mr. Gardner:

Thanks for your e-mail.

You ask if I believe that “existing tariffs should be reduced to zero gradually or all at once.”

All at once.

Tariffs and tariff hikes typically are imposed all at once.  I see no reason why the removal of an economic and moral evil should proceed at a slower pace than the imposition of that evil.

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

Of course, even if most tariffs are gradually raised, this fact does nothing to support the case for removing them only gradually.  If A’s battering of innocent B started slowly and increased only gradually, this fact supplies no justification for allowing A to reduce his battering of B gradually rather than to stop it immediately.