≡ Menu

Yet Again, Another Open Letter to the Scarcityist-in-Chief

22 January 2018

Mr. Donald Trump
1600 Pennsylvania Ave., NW
Washington, DC 20500

Mr. Trump:

Your imposition of penalties on Americans who buy foreign-made washers coincidentally was announced one day before I’ll welcome into my home a technician to repair my years-old washing machine.

The stated justification for your punitive tax on Americans who buy washers assembled outside of the U.S. or Canada is that it will prevent ‘injury’ to American producers of such machines.  Well now.  My hiring a technician to repair my old washer inflicts just as much ‘injury’ on domestic manufacturers as do purchases by other Americans of new washers assembled outside of the U.S. and Canada.  After all, were I unable to have my washer repaired, I’d buy a new one – perhaps one assembled in the U.S.

Can you explain to the American people why those of us who stretch our incomes by purchasing foreign-assembled washers deserve to be punitively taxed while others of us who stretch our incomes by having our existing machines repaired are not so taxed – despite the fact that the consequences of each of these different actions on domestic appliance producers are identical?

More fundamentally, you and your administration complain of  imports ‘injuring’ American producers.  So I ask: what ethical right have you to injure American consumers in order to artificially bloat the revenues of a handful of American producers?

Who the hell, sir, are you to override or penalize the spending decisions of peaceful people?

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