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An Open Letter to Andy Schlafly

Mr. Schlafly:

I understand that you believe that by punitively taxing Americans who buy imports, Pres. Trump is “putting Americans first.”  What I don’t understand is why you are so timid in applying the logic of your argument.

Shouldn’t the governor of my state “put Virginians first” by punitively taxing Virginians who buy goods and services sold by non-Virginians?  Go further: shouldn’t the Board of Supervisors in my county of Fairfax “put Fairfaxians first” by punitively taxing Fairfaxians who buy goods and services sold by non-Fairfaxians?  Indeed, wouldn’t I magnanimously “put our neighborhood first” were I to threaten to cage or to shoot those of my neighbors who refuse to pay punitive taxes that I impose on their purchases of any goods and services sold by people who live outside of our neighborhood?

If in the off-chance you find these further applications of your logic to be indefensible, can you explain why you defend the application of this very same logic to America?

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


Addendum: Protectionists never have good responses to such questions. (The reason, of course, is that there are no good responses. Protectionism, like any other illogical proposition, is indefensible with logic.)