1930: Will history repeat?


17 Florida economists among 1,028 opposing protectionist tide

          In 1930, Congress passed and President Hoover signed into law the Smoot-Hawley Tariff Act. At the time, this protectionist measure was vigorously opposed by 1,028 of the nation's top economists. They rightly predicted the tariffs would devastate the economy. And, in fact, the country subsequently plunged into the Great Depression.

         Now some in Congress are considering ways to enact similar protectionist policies against China, a nation that will soon be America's second largest trading partner. Once again, 1,028 of America's top economists, including 17 from Florida, have signed this petition sponsored by the Club for Growth in opposition to protectionist policies against China.

          In the petition, the economists proclaim:

There is no foundation in economics that supports punitive tariffs. China currently supplies American consumers with inexpensive goods and low-interest rate loans. Retaliatory tariffs on China are tantamount to taxing ourselves as a punishment. Worse, such a move will likely encourage China to impose its own tariffs, increasing the possibility of a futile and harmful trade war. American consumers and businesses would pay the price for this senseless war through higher prices, worse jobs and reduced economic growth.


      The 17 Florida signatories include RLCer Don Bellante at the University of South Florida and RLC advisor Randall Holcombe at Florida State University.

     The others are Mina Baliamoune-Lutz, University of North Florida; Bruce L. Benson, Florida State University; Joseph Calhoun, Florida State University; Jim Cobbe, Florida State University; Dave Denslow, University of Florida; Joseph S. DeSalvo, University of South Florida; Mark Flannery, University of Florida; James Gwartney, Florida State University; John W. Rowe, Jr., University of South Florida; Mark Rush, University of Florida; Stephen L. Shapiro, University of North Florida; Dean Stansel, Florida Gulf Coast University; Jeffrey W. Steagall, University of North Florida; Teresa Tharp, Florida Southern College; and John Zdanowicz, Florida International University.

          The RLC of Florida sent personal thank you notes to all the Florida signatories for taking a stand on this vital issue.

          For the RLC's position on free trade and other issues, see the RLC's Statement of Principles and Positions.

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