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  • Oct 25th, 2017 @ 10:10pm

    Re: Re: Re:

    "Protectionism" has a meaning. Since any legislation necessarily helps some parties and hurts others, your use of the term would make any and all legislation protectionist regardless of what it does. Anti-protectionist legislation would be semantically impossible. That would make the term useless (not to mention incompatible with long-held usage).

    What you or the author might reasonably say, is that you support legislation that helps the good guys and hurts the bad guys, leaving out the term "protectionism". Of course, you would then be no different than any protectionist, since everyone believes he is one of the good guys.

    Again, just because some party you don't like, or a large corporation, or an incumbent, or a bad guy benefits from legislation does not make that legislation "protectionist". There were undoubtedly "evil" corporations that benefited from the Civil Rights Act, the abolition of slavery, and women's suffrage--that does not make those measures protectionist.

    It is only protectionist if a government actively uses its police powers to selectively protect the crony party from competition. That means subsidizing the crony (forcefully transferring funds from competitors and consumers through taxes) or repressing the crony's competitors. Ending or banning selective subsidies or taxes can NEVER correctly be called "protectionism", since those measures are always and everywhere *anti*-protectionist.

  • Oct 24th, 2017 @ 4:19pm


    William Braunfeld,

    Whether a government uses its police powers to *protect* its crony by taxing the crony's competitors, or by selectively subsidizing the crony, makes no difference. (Let me remind you, a tariff, does not *prevent* any foreign company from importing and selling its goods.) It is still protectionism, as that term has been used for about a century.

    The removal of such cronyism, e.g., by banning a government from engaging in it, is one form of market liberalization--consumers are no longer forced their government to provide (through taxes) for a political crony they don't prefer; and consumers are also no longer forced to pay more (because of tariffs) for the foreign goods they do prefer.

    For the author to refer to banning government protection of any company as "protectionism", is to misuse the term as its exact opposite.

  • Oct 24th, 2017 @ 10:33am

    You have it backwards

    Freeing up a market is the opposite of protectionist, regardless of who such liberalization benefits.

    Government subsidies, targeted tax breaks, and public/private partnerships are precisely how protectionist cronyism works, regardless of who benefits from such protectionism.