Quotation of the Day…

by Don Boudreaux on March 8, 2019

in Crony Capitalism, Trade

… is from Robert J. Walker’s December 1845 “Report from the Secretary of the Treasury on the State of the Finances, etc.“; Walker was U.S. Secretary of the Treasury under President James Polk:

If the marshal were sent by the federal government to collect a direct tax from the whole people, to be paid over to manufacturing capitalists to enable them to sustain their business, or realize a larger profit, it would be the same in effect as the protective duty, which, when analyzed in its simplest elements, and reduced to actual results, is a mere subtraction of so much money from the people, to increase the resources of the protected classes. Legislation for classes is against the doctrine of equal rights, repugnant to the spirit of our free institutions, and, it is apprehended by many, may become but another form for privileged orders under the name of protection instead of privilege – indicated here not by rank or title, but by profits and dividends extracted from the many by taxes upon them for the benefit of the few.

DBx: Walker’s free-trade stance was noted also by Douglas Irwin.

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