If At First You Don't Secede
From L. Neil Smith via DumpDC:
You cannot force me to agree with you. You can force me to ACT as though I agreed with you — but then you'll have to watch your back. All the time. —L. Neil Smith
I heard an idiot on the radio this morning proclaiming grandly that the sovereign remedy for all the nation's problems is to impose a heavy tariff on all imported products, so that people are economically compelled to buy only those things that are produced in America, by Americans.
A log-jam immediately began to pile up in my mind, consisting of all of the many things that are not only wrong, but wrong-headed about this silly-assed notion, the first being, by what right does this guy think he can steal from me or tell me with whom I will be allowed to do business?
I confess that I have only included the weasel-words "virtually" and "almost" so you'll think I'm more reasonable than I really am. The fact is, this is one of the worst ideas ever generated by a power- hungry human brain, nakedly greedy for the fruits of somebody else's labor.
But, as usual, I digress.
A tariff, in case you're feeling shy about asking, is a special tax levied on merchandise or materials imported from other countries. Back in the 1960s, for example, American automobile companies and the automobile workers' unions were unwilling to compete with the cheaper, higher-quality products being shipped here, mostly by Japan. Instead of trying to make better, cheaper products themselves, they leaned on their bought and paid-for politicians, who obligingly added about four thousand dollars (in 1960s money) to the price of the average Japanese import.
Sounds like a good deal all around, doesn't it? The car companies get to stay in business. The workers get to keep their jobs. The government gets a lot of extra moolah. The only ones who get screwed are the Productive Class who have a crappy choice between driving a pile of Detroit road-garbage or paying four grand extra for a decent car.
Four grand they might have spent on a better home (that was a lot of money in those days), a better bathroom, modern appliances, their childrens' dental bills, their college educations, or several hundred pairs of shoes. Four grand savagely ripped out of their pockets by corrupt politicians, lazy and obsolescent manufacturers, and union drones whose products—if they came out of the factory on a hangover Monday or a Friday being celebrated early—consumers were wise to avoid.
There are many historians and economists who will claim that one of those disasters was World War II that, if not directly caused by the Smoot-Hawley Tariff Act of 1930, which raised the import taxes on over 20,000 items to record levels (and without a doubt lengthened the Depression by at least five years) was certainly made unavoidable by it. I cannot attest to this myself because it is not within my area of expertise.
I do know for sure that the American conflict erroneously known as the "Civil War" was the direct and inevitable result of tariffs...
Read the rest.
Don't believe the hype.
Think for yourself.