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Any Differences?

What are the economically relevant differences between the hypothetical proposal summarized in the indented passage below and the tariffs and other import restrictions so beloved by protectionists?

On December 31st of each year the U.S. government shall randomly select some small percentage – say, five percent – of active workers from each of the 840 occupations that are detailed by the Bureau of Labor Statistics in its Standard Occupational Classification system and prohibit these workers from working at those occupations during the upcoming year.

There might well be economically relevant differences that separate the effects of this hypothetical proposal from the effects of the actual proposals of protectionists, but, if so, I don’t see them.


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