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?
Smith: Why isn’t ownership the only legal issue governing buying and selling?
Jones: It is: the ownership of labor.
Smith: Not raw materials.
Smith: Do you labor for a living?
Smith: Does your employer sometimes buy raw materials?
Smith: So, you want your employer to buy raw materials at a good price?
Smith: So, he buys imported raw materials.
Smith: Do you want sales taxes on imported raw materials?
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.)