53 Comment by Clyde Wilson on 18 September 2009:
#47. The language about protection of manufactures in the early law was merely an appeal to “incidental protection.” The purpose of the tariff was revenue, sufficient to eliminate the need for any other taxes. Obviously, past a certain point, an increase in the tariff results in a decrease in the revenue, since the purpose of a “protective tariff” is to reduce imports and shift consumption to domestic manufacturers, who are thereby guaranteed sales and a margin of profits up to the cost of the tariffed import. The tariffs were revenue tariffs up until 1828, when, after intensive lobbying and bribery by the industrialists, along with intense propaganda about “Americanism,” a near 50 per cent tariff was instituted with a long list of items individually tariffed as designed by the industrial lobbyists for specific advantages. Except that raw materials and specilised products imported by the industrialists were EXEMPt from any tariff. Very obviously such legislation is partial and counter to free enterprise. Among other things it discourages new competitors, foreign or domestic, to established tariff-protected corporations. “Tariff protection” inevitably means bribery and deception in the design of complex legislation.
What is now falsely called “free trade” is just another example of the evil inaugurated by the tariff protectionists of the 19th century. If one believes that free enterprise is generally the most fair and productive form of economic activity, then one may assume that the tariffs of the 19th century actually retarded American expansion, great as it was because of the energy of the people and the great natural resources. How can charging everyone higher prices lead to greater prosperity? It can only shift money from the consumer to the protected producer.