Do tariffs wreck economies?


Many words and mucho looting

Number of pages in the tariff law

Historians, economists, investors–people in the thrall of government control over the economy–urge us to believe the 1929 Crash was a leper’s bell reaction to the approaching Tariff Act of 1930. But comparison with the previous prohibition-era tariff of 1922 reveals huge differences in search, seizure and asset forfeiture powers for Coast Guard and Customs. There were large increases in tariffs on the corn wet mills made into sugar and the sugar bootleggers converted into moonshine, but not much else.

Sugar and corn tariff of 1922:

SCHEDULE 5.-SUGAR, MOLASSES, AND MANUFACTURES OF.
PAR. 501. Sugars, tank bottoms, sirups of cane juice, melada, concentrated melada, concrete and concentrated molasses, testing by the polariscope not above seventy-five sugar degrees, and all mixtures containing sugar and water, testing by the polariscope above fifty sugar degrees and not above seventy-five sugar degrees, 1&24/100 cents per pound, and for each additional sugar degree shown by the polariscopic test, forty-six one-thousandths of 1 cent per pound additional, and fractions of a degree in proportion. …

PAR. 724. Corn or maize, including cracked corn, 15 cents per bushel of fifty-six pounds; corn grits, meal, and flour, and similar products, 30 cents per one hundred pounds.

Sugar and corn tariff of 1930:

PAR. 501. Sugars, tank bottoms, sirups of cane juice, melada, concentrated melada, concrete and concentrated molasses, testing by the polariscope not above seventy-five sugar degrees, and all mixtures containing sugar and water, testing by the polariscope above fifty sugar degrees and not above seventy-five sugar degrees, 1.7125 cents per pound, and for each additional sugar degree shown by the polariscopic test, three hundred and seventy-five ten-thousandths of 1 cent per pound additional, and fractions of a degree in proportion. …

PAR. 724. Corn or maize, including cracked corn, 25 cents per bushel of fifty-six pounds; corn grits, meal, and flour, and similar products, 50 cents per one hundred pounds.

Tariffs on opium and coca leaf products did not change. 

Europeans, amid the wreckage of another of their opium wars, liquidated stocks when the US pressured Austria and Germany into passing laws against some drugs, including heroin and hemp. European stock markets peaked at about the time the Fifth Amendment was gutted so that bootlegger money could be seized under the income tax. The French stock market peaked in February, 1929, when the Naarden scandal was in the newspapers.

US stock markets followed suit when prosecutor Mabel Willebrandt–whom HL Mencken called “Prohibition’s Portia”–explained these facts about the Fifth Amendment and asset forfeiture confiscation of liquor and drug money in a syndicated column in August and September of 1929. Comprehension dawned as the First Lady of Law gave legal details of how government enforcement transformed wealth into poverty. Those same puritanical prohibition and looter laws caused money to flee banks and brokerages and the economy collapsed.

The Kleptocracy to this day attributes the crash to exaggerated reaction to the tariff, thereby distracting economists and historians from the prohibitionist measures that actually wrecked the economy. Those economy-wrecking measures prompted formation of the Liberal Party for repeal. When writing on economics, it is good practice to separate these variables. The tariff is blamed in order to avoid mentioning something more embarrassing: the sanctimonious asset-forfeiture looting that wrecked the economy and caused the Great Depression–and again in 1987 and again in 2007. Protective tariffs are ungood, but certainly not as dangerous as the communist manifesto income tax injected into the Constitution as “a replacement.”

Conservative mystics also pretend that the protective tariff did NOT cause the Civil War, when they know perfectly well that it did, just as it caused the Nullification Crisis. They then turn around and believe just as fervently that such armed extortion is “good for the economy” in the same way making beer a felony was salutary. Today a bad but impotent tariff of Abominations is blamed for the entire Crash and Depression following use of new tax laws to enforce new prohibition laws. Conservatives worship a mythical dead body invented 150 years after the fact and clothed in imaginary sermons preaching altruism and wielding whips against those who use money.

Surely one does not expect reasoned consistency from these ideologies, but rather, apologias holding their pseudoscientific policies harmless from all blame and liability for ensuing disasters. Ask yourself: have not the noble experiments of 1987 and 2007 given the lie to this superstitious evasion?

If in need of economic, financial or legal translations from Spanish and Portuguese to English or English into Portuguese, look me up.
My non-English ex-pats blog is http://www.amigra.us

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