- - Wednesday, July 6, 2016


A tariff is one of the few things that big government does well: punish people. And if tariffs don’t punish enough, big government can enact punishing laws.

When touch labor in one of our trading partners costs 10 percent or 5 percent less than the touch labor in our economy for a comparable product, why must we punish our consumers and the partner’s workers with tariffs and laws? If the answer is that we are obligated to protect our workers’ jobs from the competition of lower-touch labor costs elsewhere, must we also prevent our workers from enjoying the benefits of lower product prices here?

All the finger-pointing by Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton sidesteps this critical issue. How can our economic policies cope with the fundamental fact that our touch labor costs are many times higher than the touch labor in those countries that have “stolen” our manufacturing jobs? “Bringing back” our old manufacturing jobs, however it is done, will raise product prices so that our workers may not be able to afford those products.

Instead of finger-pointing, we need fresh economic policies to help us navigate toward mutual prosperity in a world filled with trading partners having much lower labor costs than ours.


Potomac Falls, Va.

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