Gary North is one of my favorite libertarian pundits. All of his writings have a wry humor to them. After reading this recent post I found at LewRockwell.Com, I thought it needed to be shared with my conservative friends. Who among us couldn’t use a little chuckle in these trying times? Only a mind like that of Gary North could imagine a conversation between an Export Tariff Guy and a Free Market Guy. I’m going to quote from the beginning and from the end of this fun piece. If you are so inclined, you can follow the link to read the rest.
“This is a recent discussion between the Export Tariff Guy and the Free Trade Guy.”
ETG: What this country needs is an export tariff.
FTG: How would it work?
ETG: Every exporter would pay a tariff on the retail price of everything it exports.
FTG: So, it’s a sales tax on exports.
ETG: That’s correct.
FTG: And why should the government do this?
ETG: It needs the money.
FTG: So, you are in favor of added taxes.
ETG: Extra export sales taxes, yes.
FTG: So, you want the government to spend more money.
FTG: So, you are a Keynesian.
ETG: Of course not. I am a defender of free enterprise.
FTG: You think that free enterprise is promoted by raising taxes.
ETG: Yes. Sales taxes. On exports.
FTG: Any other taxes?
ETG: Sales taxes on imports.
FTG: So, you want bigger government to help promote free enterprise.
FTG: So do Keynesians.
ETG: But Keynesians are not supporters of real free enterprise.
FTG: What is real free enterprise?
ETG: Free enterprise that is promoted by high sales taxes on exports.
And Gary North ends with this:
FTG: So, let me summarize your position. You want tariffs on exports, which you say will reduce the number of imports.
FTG: You want tariffs on imports, which you say will reduce the number of exports.
FTG: You are saying that a sales tax on imports has the same effect as a sales tax on exports.
ETG: Yes. Both forms of sales taxes reduce trade.
FTG: So, you want to reduce international trade.
ETG: But only until foreign governments reduce their tariffs to zero.
FTG: But until then, Congress should impose sales taxes on exports.
FTG: Which no other nation does.
FTG: So, Congress should raise sales taxes on international trade as a way to persuade the rest of the world to reduce sales taxes on international trade.
FTG: That does not sound logical to me.
ETG: You’re not Congress.
FTC: You’ve got me there.
ETG: So, what do you think of my plan?
FTG: I think it is every bit as logical and coherent as anything I have heard from any promoter of import tariffs.
ETG: Thank you!
FTG: You’re entirely welcome.
The above two quotes together are only about a third of the conversation between North’s Export Tariff Guy and the Free Market Guy. So, if you need more chuckles today, go for it!
I’m wondering if Gary North had anyone in particular in mind for his “Export Tariff Guy”? Maybe that Nobel Prize winning economist working for the New York Times?
Well, that’s what I’m thinking. What are your thoughts?