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Protectionism Expands the Power and Reach of Government

Here’s another letter to Rick Manning, president of an organization mysteriously named “Americans for Limited Government”:

Your organization sent out again today yet another blast e-mail imploring addressees to “help” Trump “implement his trade agenda.”  Your e-mail is addressed to “Dear Liberty Activist.”

To quote John Stossel: give me a break.

Why would a liberty activist encourage government to obstruct people’s ability to buy imports?  Why would a liberty activist entreat the state to punitively tax buyers who spend their money in ways that you and Trump find objectionable?  Why would a liberty activist cheer on a policy that artificially inflates the profits of some producers by artificially stripping other producers of resources and by stripping all consumers of options?  Why would a liberty activist suppose that liberty is served rather than betrayed by joining his or her voice with yours in calling for the state to threaten peaceful people with violence?  Why would a liberty activist actively oppose liberty?

Those who join with you to encourage Trump to “implement his trade agenda” are neither friends of liberty nor advocates of limited government.  Such people, instead, are officious threats to liberty.  Whether through ignorance or venality, their actions – like yours – only fuel the expansion of government power and put Americans’ liberty and prosperity in greater peril.

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