… is from page 8 of C. Donald Johnson’s 2018 book, The Wealth of a Nation: A History of Trade Politics in America:
In contrast to the current conventional view of trade politics, protectionism has historically, more often than not, been a tool for big business to entrench moneyed interests at the expense of the working class.
DBx: And so protectionism remains today even though many people are blind to this reality.
Of course some workers benefit from protectionism. Of course some small businesses benefit from protectionism. These benefits are easily seen, largely because these beneficiaries are used as mascots by the corporate interests that are nearly always at the center of the drive for punitive taxes on purchases by fellow citizens of goods sold by foreign suppliers.
But not only, in the home country, do legions of consumers suffer from protectionism, so, too, do many workers and business – both existing and prospective. These victims of protectionism are largely unseen, except to people who think as sound economists think.
I repeat what many others have noted over the years in one form or another: three minus one does not equal any number greater than two – despite protectionists’ silly insistence that three minus one equals some number not only greater than two but, indeed, greater than three.
How anyone can fall for anything as absurd as protectionism is beyond my powers to comprehend, but fall for it many people do. Sadly so.
Pictured above is current U.S. [Anti-]Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross, who – owning oodles of shares of U.S. steel companies – made a tidy sum of lucre as a result of Uncle Sam’s punitive taxes on American purchases of foreign-made steel.