Tariffs vs. the Pursuit of Happiness

Thursday, November 14, 2019

Reproduction by William Stone, via Wikimedia Commons, public domain.
I am grateful to Bruce Yandle of the American Institute for Economic Research for reminding America, in this age of tariffs, of the Boston Tea Party and what it implied to its participants:
The Boston Tea Party on December 16, 1773 was a powerful protest by a freedom-loving group called the Sons of Liberty against the British government's decision to impose a tax -- a tariff -- on tea imported from China to the Colonies. The protestors opposed an arbitrary government action, which they saw as an infringement on their rights as Englishmen.
And, in case this historical review isn't sufficient to give the reader at least a sense of irony about our Chief Executive acting like an English monarch in his purported effort to "make America great again," Yandle makes things more explicit:
Thomas Jefferson, the Enlightenment thinker who penned [the preamble to the Declaration of Independence], saw this new nation as an experiment in liberty, one where free people ... with rights ... could pursue happiness. And how might they go about doing so? By cooperating and engaging in mutually beneficial exchange in the world's marketplace. These free people would not be inhibited by government, but assisted by it in their happiness pursuits.
This is a profound point: By dictating to the American people with whom they may trade and on what terms, our government is indeed doing the exact opposite of what it was intended to do.

To make America great again, one must have some idea of what made her great in the first place. By imposing tariffs, Trump eloquently demonstrates that he does not fully understand his self-proclaimed mission.

-- CAV


Steve D said...

'By imposing tariffs, Trump eloquently demonstrates that he does not fully understand his self-proclaimed mission.'

I agree with this post except for the word 'fully' in the sentence above. I don't think Donald Trump has the slightest clue about what made America great. He has all the optimism of Ronald Reagan but with even less understanding.

Gus Van Horn said...

I stand corrected, sir!