… is from page 187 of Douglas Irwin’s 2017 volume, Clashing Over Commerce – a quotation that features 1845 remarks in the United States Senate by the Pennsylvania-born U.S. Senator from Mississippi, Robert Walker (who, I note, supported the Union during the U.S. civil war) (footnote deleted):
He [Walker] rejected the argument that the United States should retaliate against foreign trade barriers: “that agriculture, commerce, and navigation are injured by foreign restrictions constitutes no reason why they would be subject to still severer treatment, by additional restrictions and countervailing tariffs, at home.” In fact, he contended, “by countervailing restrictions, we injure our own fellow-citizens much more than the foreign nations at whom we propose to aim their force.”
DBx: Protective tariffs and other trade restrictions, it must never be forgotten, are taxes and restrictions on peaceful actions by citizens of the countries whose governments impose such taxes and restrictions. Protective tariffs and other trade restrictions are designed to make goods and services in the home economy artificially more scarce. Anyone who argues that protective tariffs and other trade restrictions are sound economic policy is someone who is peddling the utterly indefensible notion that greater prosperity grows from greater scarcity. No species of economic ignorance is more idiotic than is protectionism.