Trade restrictions

Do any of our politicians know any history? We already know they have no clue about economics or morals. In the real world such ignorance would be prosecuted as criminal negligence.

In 1929 the stock market crashed, and the U.S. entered into what is now known as the Great Depression. In 1930 the U.S. enacted the Smoot-Hawley Tariff and according to our own State Department:

...while the tariff might not have caused the Depression, it certainly did not make it any better. It provoked a storm of foreign retaliatory measures and came to stand as a symbol of the ?beggar-thy-neighbor? policies (policies designed to improve one?s own lot at the expense of that of others) of the 1930s. Such policies contributed to a drastic decline in international trade. For example, U.S. imports from Europe declined from a 1929 high of $1,334 million to just $390 million in 1932, while U.S. exports to Europe fell from $2,341 million in 1929 to $784 million in 1932. Overall, world trade declined by some 66% between 1929 and 1934. More generally, Smoot-Hawley did nothing to foster trust and cooperation among nations in either the political or economic realm during a perilous era in international relations.

Today we have a recent stock market crash (beginning in April 2000), increasing unemployment, and a generally weak economy. The government is now enacting more and higher tariffs. Steel, lumber and other traditionally 'protected' products are getting tariff increases, while catfish, computer chips and possibly shrimp are getting new tariffs. Of course, U.S. trading partners are a little miffed about the U.S. Government talking 'free trade' and then enacting increased trade restrictions. France is leading the E.U. in getting their own trade restrictions going against the U.S.

While the economic effects are bad enough, I also have a problem with the morality of trade sanctions. In the catfish trade issue, a small number (maybe tens of thousands) of U.S. catfish farmers will benefit at the expense of a similar number of Vietnamese fisherman and at the expense of all catfish consumers. Restaurants, food packagers, and catfish eaters are all being told that they cannot engage in peaceful trade with whom they wish to trade. It is as if a police officer came to my house and told me that I was not allowed to drive the extra block to purchase food at the cheaper supermarket unless I paid him a large fee.

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Gentlemen, I very much doubt

Gentlemen, I very much doubt any politicians - apart from Ron Paul perhaps and a few folk here in Britain - have ever read Murray Rothbard's account of the Great Depression and the disastrous monetary policy of the Fed, or have any idea that unemployment in the US was actually higher after Roosevelt's New Deal than before.

The lack of historical knowledge and economic understanding on the part of political folk is frightening. It may be, of course, that quite a lot do know about such matters, but are so cynical in their pursuit of power that they would rather act as if they were total doofuses instead.

But does anyone at State

But does anyone at State even know what is on their own web pages?!

Good point about the

Good point about the morality of these kinds of policies. If we were to engage in them as private citizens we'd be arrested.

Further it is things like this that make me wonder...maybe Bush really is an idiot.

Is Bush really an idiot!!!I

Is Bush really an idiot!!!I think one must look more into exactly what Bush is trying to accomplish...A study of history of the French Revolution maybe in order... The French seemed to have learned something from their revolution.Not to say the French are smarter of course!! However it seems as though the American revolution never ended!!!!
Truly Concerned about the world

I love Bush!! he's the

I love Bush!!
he's the man!!!

I love Bush!! he's the

I love Bush!!
he's the man!!!