In the last post we were saying that the benefits of free trade were widespread and the costs were narrow. We said that the government needed to be part of the solution as tariffs are reduced. Mark Perry comments on and links to a paper by Scott Lincicome, Doomed To Repeat The Long History Of America’s Protectionist Failures, that quantifies the opportunity to benefit all involved. Scott concludes:
These surveys show that, contrary to the fashionable rhetoric, American protectionism has repeatedly failed as an economic strategy.
Scott reviews the previous research and shows us the exorbitant costs of protectionism. Here is Table 7:
So, there is an enormous opportunity for government to find a solution other than higher tariffs. There is also an enormous opportunity to reduce or eliminate tariffs and provide net benefits. As we said government should not be the whole solution to change but it can be part of it. Eliminating tariffs is the best solution. Not increasing tariffs is the minimum we can expect of responsible government. Finding useful ways to facilitate change that will happen should be part of responsible government.