… is from page 23 of George Will’s 1992 book, Restoration:
All the economic arguments for the subsidy are tendentious rubbish. They are also irrelevant to the subsidy’s immorality. The subsidy has a political rationale: Some attentive and intense voters want it.
DBx: George Will is here speaking of subsidies to producers of mohair. But his point applies to all subsidies: each and every subsidy exist not because politicians are wise leaders with an especially keen ability to foretell the future. Instead, each and every subsidy, at bottom, is nothing more than political graft. Each is an economically damaging and ethically indefensible privilege created to benefit the politically influential relatively few at the expense of the politically weak many.
So, too, each and every protective tariff.
And as with subsidies to mohair producers, so too are all other subsidies, and protective tariffs, defended by arguments that are never anything other than tendentious rubbish. That some people – including many pundits and thinktank “scholars” – sincerely are gulled by these arguments is a fact that can’t be doubted. But it is also a fact that is disheartening.