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Quotation of the Day…

… is from page 245 of Douglas Irwin’s 2017 book, Clashing Over Commerce; Doug here is writing about the post-civil-war United States; during this period, Republicans were the party of protectionism:

As much as the Democrats were dismayed by the corrupt politics behind tariffs, they ran up against a simple problem: the policy delivered tangible benefits to important constituencies, which in turn gave their political support to the Republicans.

DBx: Of course, protectionists of this era, as in ours, were forever offering up cockamamie tales of how government-induced greater scarcity of raw materials, intermediate goods, and consumer goods are really a blessing and source of much-increased wealth and happiness for the nation, cities, towns, villages, the People, workers, families, students, teachers, cats, and dogs.  Doug Irwin critically reviews these tales in his book; they differ in no essential ways from the tales offered today by protectionists.  Then as now, these tales were factually incorrect or incomplete and, with rare exception, logically incoherent.  (The few such tales that are coherent are irrelevant in reality.)  What all such tales have in common is that they do just enough to persuade ordinary men and women to allow themselves to be plundered by a subset of existing producer groups.

(Pictured above is William “Pig Iron” Kelley [R-PA].)