September 27, 2007

The Political Problem with Protectionism

Protectionism is the concept of securing American jobs/industries by raising tariffs on competitive import goods. This is a temporary solution that ignores the inevitability of globalization, and is one of the only policies that ALL economists are adamantly against. Because, simply put, the good that it does for those people in that industry is FAR outweighed by the higher costs that ALL Americans have to pay for the goods from this industry we're protecting. Typically, Republicans have been on the "economist" side of policy, which often comes across as "uncompassionate". But, a few years ago, Bush introduced a tariff on foreign steel to protect the ridiculously struggling American steel industry. Why? All economists agree that this is wrong. But, steel industry employee who have to switch to a different manufacturing job would be angry at Bush if he didn't create the tariff, and American citizens won't really think about the fact that they're paying this increased price for a commodity because of this political action. So, staying in power is always more important than doing what you know to be right. That's the lesson for the day.