What gets you into trouble…

The reason, during every political season, that politicians play the protectionism card is because it works. Honestly, you don’t have to be a businessperson who sources from, and sells to, other nations to understand that our relationships with fellow humans in other countries are essential to our own peace and prosperity. You simply have to look around! But, sadly, apparently far too many Americans sorely lack peripheral vision. 

This popular notion that there’s a “beating” that takes place when folks from two separate nations trade is ludicrous! As Milton Friedman pointed out:

The most important single central fact about a free market is that no exchange takes place unless both parties benefit. 

As your man or woman (yes, both major party candidates, at least rhetorically, embrace protectionism) gets his/her followers’ fist-pounding approval when he/she rants and raves on how he/she will punish our trading partners, know that the folks truly being punished by whatever their idol is proposing will be, well, those fist-pounding approvers — who will unwittingly give up their freedom, their discretionary income, and in some cases their jobs should their hero/heroin make good on his/her threats! Mark Twain got it right:

It is not what you don’t know that will get you into trouble; it is what you know for sure that just ain’t so.

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