The Original MAGA: Tariffs, Trade, and the True Cost of Protectionism

 The Original MAGA: Tariffs, Trade, and the True Cost of Protectionism

In this episode of Liberty Curious, we go deep into the historical roots of ‘Making America Great Again’. Kate Wand sat down with Phillip W. Magness, Senior Research Faculty and F.A. Hayek Chair in Economics and Economic History at AIER, to discuss the true implications of tariffs and protectionism and how they have shaped America’s economic landscape.

From the earliest years of the American founding, promises of putting America first echoed through political chambers. These calls, though wrapped in patriotism, often harbored hidden implications of cronyism, favoritism, and a veiled tax that burdened everyday consumers. Despite the appealing rhetoric, tariffs and protectionist measures stand as barriers to economic freedom, prosperity, and genuine international cooperation.

As history warns, “When goods cease to cross borders, armies soon follow.” By tracing the history of tariffs, we see a repeating pattern: opportunistic rent-seeking, strained international relations, and a government that often interferes with natural economic exchanges. This meddling not only fosters less peace but also empowers the federal government at the expense of states and the very people it promises to protect.

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Use these time stamps to navigate the content of the interview:

0:00 – Intro
1:03 – MAGA & Tariffs
3:46 – I, IPhone
6:00 – American Founding debates
8:09 – Trade Liberalization
10:20 – James Madison
14:14 – Special Interests
16:15 – Early Cronyism
19:00 – Alexander Hamilton
22:25 – Infant Industry
26:16 – Less choices, higher prices
29:13 – The eve of the Civil War
34:15 – Rent-seeking
38:07 – Tariff renaissance
40:05 – American System
50:13 – Income Tax
54:50 – The Rise of Government Expansion
58:02 – The Ring of Power

Money And Markets Watchdog