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“Buy American” vs. “Buy, American”

Written by Gary North on November 5, 2016

Once again, we meet up with Smith and Jones. Wong has made an offer to Smith. Smith thinks it’s a good deal. Jones is irate. He protests. He thinks that Smith should pay a sales tax to the federal government whenever he buys from Wong. Jones calls this sales tax a tariff. He prefers not to mention the phrase, “sales tax.” He knows that voters resist sales taxes, but they favor tariffs.

Smith: Wong’s offer looks like a good deal.

Jones: It’s not a good deal for America.

Smith: It’s a good deal for me.

Jones: You’re not America.

Smith: Who is?

Jones: People who live in America.

Smith: Which people who live in America?

Jones: People who work in America.

Smith: What about people who buy in America?

Jones: That depends on who they buy from.

Smith: Why should it matter who we buy from?

Jones: It matters to Americans.

Smith: It doesn’t matter to me. I just want a good deal.

Jones: It’s not a good deal for most Americans.

Smith: Most Americans don’t care what I buy.

Jones: But they care what people like you buy.

Smith: Who are people like me?

Jones: People who don’t always buy from Americans.

Smith: What about imported raw materials?

Jones: That’s OK.

Smith: But what about Americans who sell raw materials?

Jones: They had better lower their prices.

Smith: That’s what I tell sellers of manufactured goods.

Jones: That’s different.

Smith: Why is it different?

Jones: Because sellers of raw materials did not labor to produce raw materials.

Smith: What has labor got to do with it?

Jones: Everything.

Smith: Why isn’t ownership the only legal issue governing buying and selling?

Jones: It is: the ownership of labor.

Smith: Not raw materials.

Jones: Correct.

Smith: Do you labor for a living?

Jones: Yes.

Smith: Does your employer sometimes buy raw materials?

Jones: Yes.

Smith: So, you want your employer to buy raw materials at a good price?

Jones: Yes.

Smith: So, he buys imported raw materials.

Jones: Yes.

Smith: Do you want sales taxes on imported raw materials?

Jones: No.

Smith: I agree. I don’t want sales taxes on imported products.

Jones: That’s where you and I differ.

Smith: What do we differ on?

Jones: The need for sales taxes on the output of foreign workers.

(For the rest of my article, click the link.)

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