The mounting pressure for protectionism is becoming so acute, in fact, that the prospects of a full scale trade war—with all that implies—are growing all the time. And a government trade policy predicated on old ideas of free trade is worse than a joke—it is a prescription for disaster. In the 19th century, Cobden and Bright in England, Frederic Bastiat in France, and Henry George in the United States proved that free trade benefits the masses and that no overall benefit can come from tariffs, which only raise prices for goods workers must buy.
Business has always favored tariffs, on the quite natural grounds that such levies protect it from competition and thereby increase its profits. Thus, we have always had business on one side and labor on the other.
Why protectionism spells trouble for global economic growth | World Economic Forum
Politically, the Democratic Party traditionally has been the party of free trade while the Republican Party was the party of the tariff. A modicum of thought will show that the simple logic of the protectionists is easy enough to refute.
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But it will mean more jobs in those industries that can now export more to Japan. The Carter administration has attempted thus far to walk a tightrope, trying to placate labor while avoiding quotas and tariffs. The concern of the only global international organisation, which was formed to ensure that global trade flows smoothly and freely, is evident.
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