Just the other day Pres. Trump signed his EO on tariffs on steel and aluminum imports in doing so he has started a debate on free trade….many do not see his tariffs as good for the notion of free trade and still others think that free trade is a cornerstone of conservatism…..but is it, that cornerstone?
The American Conservative spotlights this in a recent article….
According to a recent analysis in the New York Times, President Trump’s “isolationist” trade policy is “at odds with longstanding conservative orthodoxy about the benefits of free and open markets.” The reader is further told that the president is under pressure from his working-class base, which is obstreperously demanding that protectionist taxes be placed on imported steel and aluminum.
I say not so fast.
The Times presents the GOP base’s supposed impatience with free trade as a departure from almost sacred Republican beliefs, and free trade itself as a permanent conservative characteristic. Their evidence is that large corporations favor free trade while labor unions have generally been more protectionist.
TAC also takes a look, a historic look, at tariffs…..
America’s first great protectionist political figure was Alexander Hamilton, George Washington’s treasury secretary. And compared to later mercantilist politicians in our history, Hamilton wasn’t even that much of a protectionist. His original U.S. tariff bill imposed an average taxation level of just 8.5 percent on imported goods. And Hamilton argued that any protection encompassed in those duties, as opposed to revenue requirements, should be discontinued as soon as protected industries established themselves in the American economy.
Hamilton’s opponents, the early American free traders, feared he had created a monster, while northeastern industrialists, particularly in Pennsylvania, predictably argued that protection should be substantial and permanent to ensure national prosperity.
It is too early to tell if the Trump tariffs will be good for the country or not…..steelworkers union seems to think it will be but many economists see it doing the opposite for the country.
Trump has already exempted some countries from his tariffs….that right there tells me that he is not serious. If you are going to impose tariffs then it should be on all involved not a select few.
Time will tell whether good or bad.