Champions of keeping markets free and government limited typically have a solid grasp of economics. No such grasp is had by the people who run the oddly named “Americans for Limited Government.” Here’s yet another letter to the president (Rick Manning) of that organization:
You say today in your now-daily e-mail plea for Trump to punitively tax Americans who buy low-priced Mexican sugar that “This is the perfect opportunity for President Trump to prove that what it will take to protect American jobs is through tough trade enforcement.” [sic]
Before pronouncing publicly on trade you really should learn some economics. Contrary to your insinuation, to protect American jobs in the U.S. sugar industry is not remotely “to protect American jobs.” Restricting Americans’ purchases of imported sugar destroys jobs not only in America’s export industries and in those American industries whose costs of production are artificially hiked by restrictions on sugar imports; the restrictions that you demand destroy jobs also in those many other American industries whose sales fall because the prices that American consumers pay for sweetened foods are driven artificially higher.
Yet you’re totally blind to the jobs that tariffs destroy.
It’s disturbing that you and your colleagues, who claim to defend individual liberty and economic prosperity, are as economically ill-tutored and misguided as are the likes of Bernie Sanders, Chuck Schumer, and Elizabeth Warren.
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