The other day, I experienced first-hand a bit of the negative impact of “Trump’s tariffs” within our industry (my brother & I operate a swimming pool service). I posted about it on Facebook:
“Today our supplier told us they were out of the usual 55 lb. buckets of chlorine tabs, claiming that “Trump’s tariffs shot the price way up, so nobody can afford to order them now” (apparently, they come from China). “And our US supplier ran out of buckets, so we can’t get anything from them either” (don’t know if that’s also claimed to be a result of Trump’s tariffs, or some other reason).
So we ended up getting a smaller bucket of a different brand.
I’ve no idea if any of what he said is true (as emotional as the guy was about it, it’s hard to say whether it’s not just something else to blame on Trump). But I thought it interesting, if it’s true then it’s the first impact we’ve seen on our industry (so far).
It’s hard to imagine how more taxes and increasing the cost of so many materials and goods for American businesses and ultimately all Americans is supposed to help boost the economy (aside from Washington’s economy, anyway)—but whaddo I know?”
The post garnered a few comments in favor of the tariffs:
“While you may experience a temporary supply problem, as soon as American manufacturers of said product tool up for production, you will enjoy a higher quality product which will be readily available.”
“…and provide good jobs for American workers.”
Here’s the thing: I’m all for quality products, and good-paying jobs, and a robust economy, and making America great again (which, BTW, would entail LESS taxes, LESS government, and MORE freedom, not MORE taxes and MORE government).
Having the government force people and businesses to pay higher prices for imported goods and materials, so that they might say “well, if we’re paying the higher price anyway, we might as well buy the American-made product” does nothing but drive up consumer prices, and can also lead to industry layoffs.
On the other hand, free-market solutions—such as reducing (or even eliminating) the excessive tax and regulatory burdens on American businesses, thereby freeing them to better compete in the world marketplace…well, I believe that American entrepreneurs and businesses, given such a burden-free opportunity, would likely kick the rest of the world’s ass, most of the time.
THAT is how you increase product quality, lower consumer prices, create higher-paying jobs, spark a robust economy, and make America great again (although technically, America was never great—rather, the American people did great things because they were, at least to the greatest degree ever afforded in human history, free—meaning free from government intervention.
But you don’t have to take my word for it…instead, how about the words of one of the most notable economists and social philosophers of the twentieth century, Ludwig von Mises:
“A nation is the more prosperous today the less it has tried to put obstacles in the way of the spirit of free enterprise and private initiative. The people of the United States are more prosperous than the inhabitants of all other countries because their government embarked later than the governments in other parts of the world upon the policy of obstructing business.”
And besides that, the obvious economic benefits of free-market solutions over government mandates and taxation is secondary to the fact that forcing people to pay more for what they want, or extorting a percentage of the transaction, under the threat of violence for non-compliance, is a violation of basic human rights, and thus immoral.
The only moral path to a peaceful and prosperous society is freedom, whereby all interactions and transactions are voluntary, and thus free of coercion, force, violence, or theft (i.e., statelessness, or anarchism, or my preferred term, Autarchism.
So, as I said at the opening of this article: more taxes (tariffs), thus increasing the cost of so many materials and goods for American businesses and ultimately all Americans, will not only fail to help boost the economy (aside from Washington’s economy), but will actually be detrimental to it.