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Monday, October 24, 2011

Tariffs For Jobs?

A Television program tried an experiment a year or two ago. The experiment was to remove all foreign products from a couples’ home to see how many items were made domestically vs. those made in foreign countries.  I’m sure that you can predict the outcome. I think the only thing left in the home was the sink.

I might not remember the story with 100% accuracy but you get the gist of it, I’m sure.

Shortly after such a discovery comes a discussion regarding the eroding manufacturing base within the U.S. and what can be done to fix it.  One of the remedies usually suggested is to enact a trade tariff on goods from countries like China.

A tariff is basically a tax. It adds to the cost of imported goods. By raising the cost goods from China, their most appealing attribute is negated. Talk about an inflation igniter!

Tariffs can be used to protect industries in their infancy or economies as they develop. In the case of advanced economies the story is a bit different. Here in the U.S. such an action could be used to protect American jobs. The problem is that the jobs and industry have already been surrendered. I don’t know if anyone has the guts to fight in order to bring it back. Even if they did, is that a viable option?

What do you think? Is a trade skirmish with China in the best interest of the United States?  Ultimately, who would be hurt the worst?

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