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Bonus Quotation of the Day…

is from pages 135-136 of the 5th edition (2020) of Douglas Irwin’s superb book Free Trade Under Fire (footnote deleted; link added):

[A]ccording to one calculation, the Trump administration’s decision to impose 25 percent tariffs on imported steel in 2018 means that U.S. consumers and businesses are paying more than $900,000 a year for every job saved or created by the tariffs. The cost is more than thirteen times the typical salary of a steelworker.

DBx: Just a reminder: Protectionists continue to insist that tariffs enrich the country by, in effect, forcing domestic consumers to pay workers in protected industries more than the value of these workers’ outputs.

Protectionists’ would be more credible if they tried their trick at home by, say, paying each of their babysitters $150 per hour, each of the workers who mow their lawns $200 per hour, and each attorney they hire $5,000 per hour. Protectionists’ credibility would be further raised if they were also to quadruple – or, better, quintuple – the amounts they pay at supermarkets. For example, if today’s supermarket bill comes to $200, a protectionist – if protectionist ‘theory’ is correct – can enrich himself or herself by instead forking over to the supermarket a full $1,000.

I challenge protectionists to do as I describe here and then to keep track of their net worths.

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