The Last Capitalist

A site dedicated to restoring individualism in the United States of America

“We Should Just Raise Tariffs on Them…”

Posted by jemartynowski on December 2, 2008

Sound like an angry union worker or laborer in a manufacturing position you know?  I have heard this brilliant cure-all statement from two people close to me that clearly either don’t think about consequences of their actions (totally possible) or don’t care about those consequences and the crappy things that would happen to others as a result (also possible).  The common response if I say this?  “Who cares about those people in other countries?!  We need jobs here!”

These people couldn’t be more misinformed, misguided, misdirected, or mis- anything elsed.  It’s not people in other countries you would hurt.  It would be people here that would suffer.  There are a number of reasons your own country would be the ones paying for this but I’m not going to name them all.  Instead, I’ll link, once again, to the ever on-point Walter Williams.  Click here for his commentary summed up in a small article on the merits of free trade vs. protectionism. 

The most important consequence for people in our own country is increased price of goods.  If we raise the prices of things brought in here, the cost of living increases for citizens here.  Increasing the costs of living decrease the quality of life.  It’s simple logic.  You might say, “well, if we just do it on cars, people will just buy American cars.”  Sure, but that would happen regardless of tariffs if the cars were a better deal.  People are going to act in their best interest, and if they think that the Toyota they are going to buy is a better value than a GM car, why should you be allowed to hinder their choices?  Fascism is OK as long as you force people to buy your product? 

Look at the tariff option in practice.  In Japan, their tariffs force its citizens to buy Japanese rice or pay the tariff-loaded foreign rice.  Both prices are about the same, because the Japanese companies can charge more as long as they don’t pass up the foreign companies’ price.  they will always be cheaper.  All they’ve done there is increase the price of rice for the people of Japan.  Seeing as it is the main ingredient in much of what they eat, the average citizen could have saved a decent sum of money had the tariff not existed.  You have already harmed the quality of life of the average citizen.  Just imagine if we started doing that here in the United States. 

Imagine adding$20 or more every month to a family’s grocery bill.  Families may start to buy less quality goods or have to cut back somewhere else to make up for that.  Now do you feel the same about tariffs seeing as you harmed the average family?  Just so you could save a couple jobs at a company that probably doesn’t deserve to stay open on its own merits?  How could anyone be for this kind of thing?  Walter Williams, in his article, explains how the average consumer doesn’t have millions of dollars to lobby the politicians into looking out for their interests.  But companies do.  So they can create a push for these taxes without regard for how it would harm the average consumer.

So yes, guys, you go ahead and tax the crap out of those foreign companies.  The rest of America thanks you for making things more expensive.  You guys are great.  Jerks.

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