Tariffs: The Taxes That Made America Great

America Fist Free Trade Tariffs
America Fist Free Trade Tariffs

U.S.A.-(Ammoland.com)- As his limo carried him to work at the White House Monday, Larry Kudlow could not have been pleased with the headline in The Washington Post: “Kudlow Contradicts Trump on Tariffs.”

The story began: “National Economic Council Director Lawrence Kudlow acknowledged Sunday that American consumers end up paying for the administration's tariffs on Chinese imports, contradicting President Trump's repeated inaccurate claim that the Chinese foot the bill.”

A free trade evangelical, Kudlow had conceded on Fox News that consumers pay the tariffs on products made abroad that they purchase here in the U.S. Yet that is by no means the whole story.

A tariff may be described as a sales or consumption tax the consumer pays, but tariffs are also a discretionary and an optional tax.

If you choose not to purchase Chinese goods and instead buy comparable goods made in other nations or the USA, then you do not pay the tariff.

China loses the sale. This is why Beijing, which runs $350 billion to $400 billion in annual trade surpluses at our expense is howling loudest. Should Donald Trump impose that 25% tariff on all $500 billion in Chinese exports to the USA, it would cripple China's economy. Factories seeking assured access to the U.S. market would flee in panic from the Middle Kingdom.

Tariffs were the taxes that made America great. They were the taxes relied upon by the first and greatest of our early statesmen, before the coming of the globalists Woodrow Wilson and FDR.

Tariffs, to protect manufacturers and jobs, were the Republican Party's path to power and prosperity in the 19th and 20th centuries, before the rise of the Rockefeller Eastern liberal establishment and its embrace of the British-bred heresy of unfettered free trade.

The Tariff Act of 1789 was enacted with the declared purpose, “the encouragement and protection of manufactures.” It was the second act passed by the first Congress led by Speaker James Madison. It was crafted by Alexander Hamilton and signed by President Washington.

After the War of 1812, President Madison, backed by Henry Clay and John Calhoun and ex-Presidents Jefferson and Adams, enacted the Tariff of 1816 to price British textiles out of competition, so Americans would build the new factories and capture the booming U.S. market. It worked.

Tariffs financed Mr. Lincoln's War. The Tariff of 1890 bears the name of Ohio Congressman and future President William McKinley, who said that a foreign manufacturer “has no right or claim to equality with our own. … He pays no taxes. He performs no civil duties.”

That is economic patriotism, putting America and Americans first.

The Fordney-McCumber Tariff gave Presidents Warren Harding and Calvin Coolidge the revenue to offset the slashing of Wilson's income taxes, igniting that most dynamic of decades — the Roaring '20s.

That the Smoot-Hawley Tariff caused the Depression of the 1930s is a New Deal myth in which America's schoolchildren have been indoctrinated for decades.

The Depression began with the crash of the stock market in 1929, nine months before Smoot-Hawley became law. The real villain: The Federal Reserve, which failed to replenish that third of the money supply that had been wiped out by thousands of bank failures.

Milton Friedman taught us that.

A tariff is a tax, but its purpose is not just to raise revenue but to make a nation economically independent of others, and to bring its citizens to rely upon each other rather than foreign entities.

The principle involved in a tariff is the same as that used by U.S. colleges and universities that charge foreign students higher tuition than their American counterparts.

What patriot would consign the economic independence of his country to the “invisible hand” of Adam Smith in a system crafted by intellectuals whose allegiance is to an ideology, not a people?

What great nation did free traders ever build?

Free trade is the policy of fading and failing powers, past their prime. In the half-century following the passage of the Corn Laws, the British showed the folly of free trade.

They began the second half of the 19th century with an economy twice that of the USA and ended it with an economy half of ours, and equaled by a Germany, which had, under Bismarck, adopted what was known as the American System.

Of the nations that have risen to economic preeminence in recent centuries — the British before 1850, the United States between 1789 and 1914, post-war Japan, China in recent decades — how many did so through free trade? None. All practiced economic nationalism.

The problem for President Trump?

Once a nation is hooked on the cheap goods that are the narcotic free trade provides, it is rarely able to break free. The loss of its economic independence is followed by the loss of its political independence, the loss of its greatness and, ultimately, the loss of its national identity.

Brexit was the strangled cry of a British people that had lost its independence and desperately wanted it back.


About Patrick J. Buchanan

Pat Buchanan

Patrick J. Buchanan is the author of the new book “The Greatest Comeback: How Richard Nixon Rose From Defeat to Create the New Majority.

  • 15 thoughts on “Tariffs: The Taxes That Made America Great

    1. Tariffs are specifically named in the Constitution as one of the very few jobs allocated to the Federal Government. If the Federal government would focus on its Constitutional directives and eliminate all the other unconstitutional powers it has wrongly assumed, we would have a more slimline focused government, a more effective and less costly government, a less abusive government and more freedom for citizens.

    2. Apparently, “economic patriotism” means standing between to parties’ mutually beneficial trades.

      Tariff supporters are all economically illiterate. It seems that all “great nations” were socialist to some extent and loved big government (but I repeat myself), so apparently that made them “great” too, right?

      (None of this should be construing into thinking “Free Trade”, which is governments making agreements to manage trade, is anything like an actually free market.)

      1. When you can guarantee that the other guys gubmint is not interfering with the two parties you will have an argument against tariffs. Until then you sound like the rest of the Utopians.

        1. “When you can guarantee that the other guys gubmint is not interfering with the two parties you will have an argument against tariffs.”

          So, the foreign government waste its money propping up some crony, at the cost to the foreign citizens (and their taxation). This provides American citizens with a good at less than they would otherwise have it. It increases their purchasing power. The cost is the American company that makes this good sells less (makes less profit). But this is still a net benefit, as the increase in purchasing power is a much larger benefit than the loss to the company.

          But, your “solution” to this net benefit to Americans is to have the (incredibly inefficient) government stand between the American citizens’ and that foreign company’s mutually beneficial transaction. This would help that American company, while having the much larger effect of decreasing the American citizens’ purchasing power. But, you miss one very important further effect, the “destructive sector” of the economy (the US government) is further grown, and gets more powerful. And who is more likely to attack Americans’ freedoms, the foreigners or the US government (please don’t be so daft as to answer that one wrong)?

          -An (Austrian) Economist

          1. Ace, did you not read the 350 billion dollar trade deficit? When a country sends all of its money out of the country, it becomes broke. We can’t afford the trade agreement with China. Not only that, but China has tariffs on US products. yes, they aren’t “supposed” to, but how do you get them to stop breaking the trade agreement? How does losing jobs in the USA due to an unfair trade agreement help its citizens?

            The Chinese economy is such that most Chinese can’t even afford US goods, even if they wanted to, partly do to tariffs, but mostly due to low pay. Also, why support the Chinese economy knowing of their human rights abuses? If the USA is such a bad place, how much worse is China?

            I personally avoid buying Chinese goods as much as possible and seek out US made goods – and I willingly pay more to support US companies and jobs. Only the wealthy making money from Chinese trade, and ignorant people that do not understand the ramifications of a huge trade deficit with another country, especially one that is not an ally, and one that steals corporate intellectual property and US military plans, is frequently caught producing products that do not pass US regulations on materials (such as lead in children’s toys, poisons in animal feed, etc.).

            I would list more and explain further, but you clearly are too ignorant and if you hadn’t already known these issues, and many others, I will not be able to convince you here. You need to do a bit of research, easily done on the Internet and learn the truth on your own. You will not believe it otherwise, and you might not still. Education is something one wants, it cannot be forced upon the unwilling.

            1. “did you not read the 350 billion dollar trade deficit?”

              We have a trade deficit with Santa Claus! Oh no! It doesn’t matter.

              “When a country sends all of its money out of the country, it becomes broke.”

              Wrong (and Mercantilism). Given the monetary inflation, it ensures the rest of the world eats our price inflation.

              “Not only that, but China has tariffs on US products.”

              Which hurts Chinese people. Why should the US do the same and hurt its people?

              “We can’t afford the trade agreement with China.”

              Why should the government direct trade?

              “The Chinese economy is such that most Chinese can’t even afford US goods, even if they wanted to, partly do to tariffs, but mostly due to low pay.”

              And? That’s good for the US that their people are that rich! It also makes China a lot less scary, right?

              “Also, why support the Chinese economy knowing of their human rights abuses?”

              Is a random guy from China responsible for what the government in China does? Are you responsible for Obamacare or the Bump-Stock ban?

              “Only the wealthy making money from Chinese trade, and ignorant people that do not understand the ramifications of a huge trade deficit with another country”

              And, apparently, Economists. So, try to explain it to me. How is the “trade deficit” with Santa Claus bad for me?

              “one that is not an ally”

              Didn’t That one guy tell you not to get involved in foreign entanglements?

              “one that steals corporate intellectual property”

              There is no such thing as IP. It’s cartel protection.

              “producing products that do not pass US regulations on materials”

              Government regulation is good now? What?

              Hey, pilgrim, I used to be a conservative until I realized that “conserving” the past meant lots of past tyranny. Don’t tell me I don’t know what I used to believe mattered.

              If you want logical consistency, try reading up on libertarianism. At least then you wouldn’t be so concerned about who buys what from whom (and likely what people might dare to put in their bodies)!

          2. Wrong again Ace. American goods produced by American companies employing American workers is the real deal. Not shoddy goods produced with inferior foreign work forces. Goods that dont have lasting value. Pay more for quality that lasts. Employ more Americans. That is what will really work.

            1. “American goods produced by American companies employing American workers is the real deal.”

              Why don’t you put your money where your mouth is and buy only American made stuff? Like bananas, cell phones, computers, clothes, and vehicles. Only fully American companies, who only buy American made components, employing American workers.

              Oh? That’s really hard? No kidding, it’s a global market. What I’m asking (and what you’re demanding) is probably impossible.

              “Not shoddy goods produced with inferior foreign work forces.”

              Yes, and to enforce your good intentions, you’re going to use men-with-guns to ENSURE that everyone makes the correct decision (aka: your decision) with what they buy. How dare they attempt to buy different stuff than you do?

              “Employ more Americans.”

              No, increase their purchasing power by allowing them to buy what they want. You have no concept as to specialization nor comparative advantage.

              Do you know why Americans aren’t willing to make iPhones? Because the pay is too little, because the consumers demand it at a lower price than companies can hire Americans to do. If someone did try to make a phone with American labor, they’d either be out of business or have a tiny little market share.

              Why do you hate freedom so much? Why must you be a control-freak at people for daring to buy things you already do? Why can’t you leave people alone?

              Do you like it when governments tell you which guns you can buy? Then why do you want the government to tell everyone which EVERYTHING they can buy!

              Go read Mises.org or “Economics in one lesson” and get back to me when you understand something about the topic.

              If you’re going to be a fool, keep your mouth shut! (Proverbs 17:28)

            2. Ace, you stated one wise idea, “If you’re going to be a fool, keep your mouth shut!” You really need to take your own advice. You post gibberish and believe you are wise. As I stated in my first post, ignorant people don’t understand. Your posts show you are completely clueless and no amount of discussion and facts are going to help you because you are not capable and are unwilling to learn. You are well-fed on manure.

    3. More of this tariffs trash? Jeez.
      Where were all you conservatives talking up tariffs before Trump made it the cause dejour, resurrected from the 19th century? Where were you talking tariffs in the 1990s, for instance? These ridiculous political fads changing on a dime upon the installment of a new celebrity in the White House, his fandom switching their politics as fast as fashion changes in Paris. What a circus of conformist spectacle is popular electoral politics. High school cliques can’t touch this collectivist drama.

        1. @KK, You have him right. He is a troll that gets paid per response. Thus he is only interested in baiting other readers, rather than making a cogent argument.

          1. I’m conflicted. The immediate case that comes to mind, and there are probably hundreds that apply in this country, is Canada’s handling of dairy products. They’ve made their import tariffs so high that US dairy farmers cannot export milk and other dairy products to Canada. What this has also done is allowed the Canadian dairy farmers to make the price of milk so high (more than $10 a GALLON!) that if it were in the US we’d probably be marching on Congress demanding an end to it.

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