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Probing the (Il)logic: Another Open Letter to Rick Manning

Mr. Rick Manning, President
Americans for Limited Government

Mr. Manning:

Again today – the third time this week! – your organization blasted out an e-mail beseeching Pres. Trump to punitively tax Americans who buy low-priced Mexican sugar.  You must really fear the damage that you suppose is done to an economy whenever its consumers gain increased access to goods and services.

So I’ve a question: why your bush-league focus on sugar from Mexico?  Why not go big league?!  Why not unfurl the logic of your economics to its full glory?  Why don’t you also urge Pres. Trump, for example, to

– raise capital-gains, corporate, and personal income tax rates to confiscatory levels;

– slap sky-high taxes on all carbon emissions;

– impose a great deal more crushing government regulations on U.S. businesses;

– mandate occupational licensing for all trades and jobs;

– outlaw all education in S.T.E.M. subjects; indeed, outlaw all education;

– transform his plan to improve America’s infrastructure into a plan to destroy America’s infrastructure;

– encourage the Fed to fuel hyperinflation by flooding the economy with newly created dollars?

If the economic reasoning used to justify artificial restrictions on Americans’ access to sugar is sound, then you’ll applaud the genius of the above proposals.  Each proposal, if adopted, will artificially restrict Americans’ access not only to sugar but also to all other goods and services.  These government-engineered supply restrictions will – again, if your economics is sound – only add to the great abundance of material prosperity that you obviously believe will spring from enforced dearth.

I’m eager to see if your future e-mail blasts reveal that you consistently follow the logic of that strange species of economics that leads you to believe that Americans are enriched by restrictions on their access to goods and services.

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