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Protectionists are Offensive

Here’s a letter to NWI.com:

A headline of yours reads “Steel executives ask administration for crackdown on imports” (Feb. 3).  It’s true that steel executives are asking for a crackdown, but it’s misleading to describe the target of the crackdown as imports.  Imports are inanimate objects that neither think nor act.  The target of the requested crackdown is American consumers.

A more accurate and revealing headline would read “Steel executives ask administration for crackdown on consumers.”  And a more accurate report would go on to explain that the particular consumer ‘offense’ that steel executives want the crackdown aimed at is the offense of stretching dollars in ways that enrich the households of the consumers who earned these dollars rather than in ways that enrich American steel executives – executives who, apparently, are either too lazy or too dimwitted to earn profits absent government penalties on consumers who patronize their competitors.

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