Quotation of the Day: A Duty Is a TAX on Imports
From Don Boudreaux's open letter to Mitt Romney:
Your wish to “label China a currency manipulator” means that you seek a pretext to impose (as your website says) “countervailing duties” on imports from China – which is to say, you seek a pretext for raising taxes on Americans who buy goods and services from China. Yet in other episodes of your campaign you promise (as you did here* last month) “I will not raise taxes on the American people. I will not raise taxes on middle-income Americans.”
If you keep your promise to impose countervailing duties on imports from China you will thereby break your promise to not raise taxes on the American people. (Americans who buy imports from China are, after all, American people.) But if you keep your promise to not raise taxes on the American people, you must – as I hope you will – break your promise to punitively tax those many Americans who buy imports from China.
MP: It's a simple, but often neglected point that a tariff or duty on imports is just another word for a sales-type tax on imported goods, and those tariffs/taxes/duties are not imposed on China or other U.S. trade partners, they are imposed on, and paid for by, Americans (consumers and businesses) who purchase foreign-produced goods.