Is it just me, or are there ANY free trade arguments that could not also be made against income or sales taxes, usually without any rewording at all? It is almost as if we've totally lost sight of the fact that tariffs were originally a revenue measure, and quite an effective one, requiring far less invasion into people's lives and businesses than sales taxes or especially income taxes. It is almost as if we have forgotten that belts hold one's pants up and are a fashion accessory for the sartorially inclined and solely discuss them in the context of domestic discipline.
Let's see---deadweight losses due to making transactions no longer profitable to both sides and thus not happening? Check.
Interfering in patterns of specialization and comparative advantage? Absolutely
Opportunities for rent-seeking and favored groups? Yes, on steroids
So why is it that we here so much about these arguments when we're talking international trade and hardly ever when we're talking about intra-national trade? Why are the 'free traders' so privileged in the discourse?
Smoke Without Fire
2 days ago