Serious Cat is serious

Our long time friend over at Cafe Hayek, Don Boudreaux, has been running a series “A Protectionist is Someone Who…”, one example of which is:

… is convinced that 5-1=6.

Our own conclusion to the statement is:

A protectionist is someone who argues that you should be poorer so they can be richer.

Additional versions and variants are welcomed in the comments. After all, it’s always true that the readership knows more, has greater talent, than the staffing of any newspaper.


  1. A protectionist is someone who thinks that 500 employees continuing to earn 50,000 per year is much, much more important than 300 million consumers saving $100 per year.

    A protectionist is someone who can barely add, cannot multiply and thinks statistics has something to do with beating the odds at Vegas.

  2. “A protectionist is someone who argues that you should be poorer so they can be richer.”

    When you benefit from government policies you begin to appreciate the merits of those policies, which is the rationale for the lobbying industry.

  3. A protectionist is someone who thinks that a manufacturing job that produce $200,000 to $500,000 output in goods per year is better for the economy than an Uber driver that provides $20,000 per year in services.

  4. A protectionist is someone who thinks trade policy ought to favor the interests of people who actually work for a living over the interests of Wall Street bankers, welfare queens, and tenured professors.

  5. Warren – as free trade is simply more trade – a bigger marketplace – please explain how this could possibly make bread, or anything else, more expensive.

    • Easy: free trade lowers the real wages of scarce labor factors of production. In the USA, that’s also known as the working class–workers who mostly don’t have college degrees: the majority of American workers IOW. Google the Stolper-Samuelson Theorem sometime.

      • Unskilled labour isn’t scarce, and Stolper-Samuelson doesn’t model the effects of reducing the prices of goods and services on real wages.

  6. A protectionist is someone like WP who can comfortably afford to soak up a one hundred per cent increase in the price of washing machines and air conditioners, and expects everyone else to follow his noble example.

  7. Whether or not WP (or anybody else) can afford a more expensive washing machine is not really important here. What is important is that the extra dollars he spends on it can’t be spent on anything else. So- instead of a washing machine + a nice dinner out with friends, all he has is a washing machine. And multiplied by enough washing machine buyers, maybe the restaurant has to lay off a couple of workers. I’m sure the washing machine companies are happy, though.

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