French economist Frédéric Bastiat
In 1845, the French government levied protective tariffs on scores of items, from sewing needles to locomotives. The intent was to protect French industries from companies outside France that could produce the goods more cheaply.
The reaction from Mister Bastiat
requiring the closing of all windows, dormers, skylights, inside and outside shutters, curtains, casements, bull's-eyes, deadlights, and blinds — in short, all openings, holes, chinks, and fissures through which the light of the sun is wont to enter houses”.
Mister Bastiat’s satirical petition did an exemplary job of exposing the tendency of governments to pander to special interest groups, to the detriment of everyone else.
Throughout the ages, protective tariffs have been created for this purpose and, historically, they work only briefly, if at all.
Make your choice, but be logical; for as long as you ban, as you do, foreign coal, iron, wheat, and textiles, in proportion as their price approaches zero, how inconsistent it would be to admit the light of the sun, whose price is zero all day long!”
On the surface, tariffs sound like a good idea, but in reality, they’re veritable icebergs of economic destruction. Two principles should always be considered
when musing on a tariff:
Tariffs (protectionism) never benefit a nation. They do, however, often increase the revenue received by the imposing government.
The more a people pay for products, the lower their standard of living.