The ghost of Smoot-Hawley past, present and future?
Thursday’s National Review Online included an article by Messrs. Moore and Kudlow with the following 2nd and 3rd paragraphs:
Does Trump aspire to be a 21st-century Hoover, with a modernized platform of the 1930 Smoot-Hawley tariff, which collapsed the banking system and helped send the U.S. and the world economy into a decade-long depression?
We can’t help wondering whether the recent panic in world financial markets is in part a result of the Trump assault on free trade.
The Donald only wishes he had that much influence. If he did, he’d be the richest man in the world. I’m surprised NRO would publish such a meaningless speculation.
“Free trade” vs. “Smoot-Hawley” is a persistent meme that is surpassed in its destructive influence by, perhaps, only global warming/climate change. I have sent my January of 2011 American Thinker article, “Smoot-Hawley and the Depression,” to several well-known economists associated with online publications asking, humbly, for their opinion of my assertion. I have received no responses. If in their opinion my analysis is nonsense, I would have appreciated a no-nonsense critique.
The issues surrounding free trade are complex and debatable. But the scare-tactic Smoot-Hawley bogeyman isn’t part of an honest discussion of those issues. Trade protectionism had little to do with the economic contraction of the Great Depression. Download the spreadsheet and see for yourself.