Tariffs in American history

Posted On: Friday - July 27th 2018 11:43AM MST
In Topics: 
  Trump  Economics  US Feral Government

Is everything you learned in HS economics wrong?

Peak Stupidity leans pretty hard toward liberty and libertarianism, and here are 70 posts to prove it. The free trade concept that Libertarians seem to LUV, LUV, LUV is one with which we may need to agree to disagree on. Under that very same "Liberty/Libertarianism" topic key linked-to above, many of the posts are more Constitutionally oriented than anything. The sets of Constitutionalists and Libertarians should have a yuuuge [OK, enough, Ed.] overlap, you'd figure, since our Founders believed strongly in liberty. I don't know anymore...

I have yuuuge respect for the Founders of the United States, I'm sure the smartest men to have ever started a country. Sure, not many get a chance to, kinda from scratch like that, but you're not likely to see the likes of intellects like Madison, Jefferson, Franklin, Adams.... ever again. The thing is, our country, for most of it's existence, HAS had tariffs in place, and, in fact, they were the main source of US Fed-Gov. income, back before Amendment XVI allowed taxes on individuals. It worked pretty damn well, as it seemed to be enough, but small enough not to allow for the beast of a Feral Gov. that we have now to exist. Pat Buchanan's columns* have seemed kind of out-of-date lately, but I really liked his latest, Did Tariffs Make America Great?, which is a short history of tariffs during the lifetime of this country ... well, right up to where Ben Stein above, pictured in our favorite movie, Fast Times at Ridgemont High. Since it's sequencial and there's not that much of a summary, please read the whole thing.

For America over the last 2-3 decades, the problem has not really been just free trade, but it's been very unfair trade with lots of countries, one mentioned just yesterday, in fact. The bigger question, besides just getting a fair deal, it that of protectionism via tariffs. The two sides are simply:

Pro Free Trade - If you protect industries, consumers will miss out on better deals, like all the cheap China-made crap, but also American industry will find parts and raw materials from abroad more expensive. With the overseas competition stifled, there is definitely an incentive for American manufacturers to make junkier stuff (think US auto industry pre-1980).

Pro Protectionism - American consumers can't buy a whole lot when they don't have good jobs to begin with. As Mr. Buchanan quotes many of the Founders and historic American icons of industry saying, along with what I've been saying for years, the wealth of a country is very related to how much manufacturing it does (vs. service industries, including F.I.R.E. "). They've We've also said, just based on the country's security, that essentials for the country's existence and prosperity should be made here.

OK, you can read these arguments written much better elsewhere, so I'll quit there. However, the reason this important issue is finally being discussed is President Trump's pushing for tariffs and a better deal for our trade with China. President Trump brings up MANY issues that should have been brought up long ago. That's one great benefit of having this man in office, whatever frustration the Peak Stupidity blog has had with some of his tweets, but more importantly his choices for whose advice he listens to. President Trump's bully pulpet may be disorganized as all hell, but he says things that nobody would have the guts, smarts, or more likely, integrity, to talk about before.

In addition, on the tariff and unfair-trade issue, this stuff is indeed up in Trump's wheelhouse. Some of the rest of his leadership method has failed because it's NOT all about making deals - one needs principles and principled people around. This stuff IS about making deals, so it's nice to have this guy in place.

On this issue, I've leaned heavily for a while toward the protectionist side. Pat Buchanan's short history on tariffs has helped my decision some more. Between the trans-nationalist Libertarians and the Founders of America, this is a no brainer - I'm gonna go with the latter. Come on, Libertarians, tell me: $10/hr coffee barista jobs, and big money, Finance, Insurance, Real Estate, and Education help the economy by .... anyone ... anyone ...

* The column linked-to in that post was very interesting. However, Mr. Buchanan, as much as I agree with his principles, seems to write as if it's still the 1980's as far as civility in politics goes. I'll write another short post on this.

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