… is from pages 132-133 of the first edition of historian Samuel P. Hays’s useful 1957 book, The Response to Industrialism: 1885-1914 :
Although the tariff debate often centered around the interest of consumers, who bore the brunt of the duties in the form of higher prices, the alignment of forces depended more on the interests of producers. If an important industry sought protection, its demands would weigh heavily with the legislator from its district. A Congressman could afford to support the consumer point of view only if among his constituents no industrialist demanded aid.
DBx: On this front, nothing changes. You show me a protective tariff and I’ll show you a producer group whose members benefit unjustly at the greater expense of the general public – at the greater expense of consumers as well as of other producers whose operations are made either more costly or impossible by the tariffs.
Read again this quotation from Hays and then reflect upon the absurdity of looking to elected politicians to defend consumers and others whose interests, while real and substantial, are too dispersed to capture the attention of politicians.