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When you run multi-trillion dollar budget deficits and wish to provide broadband, health care, education and everything else imaginable “free” to Americans, you have to pay for it somehow:

The Wool Trust Fund, which started in 2000, provides tariff relief for domestic makers of wool clothing and fabric on the wool they import. According to U.S. Sen. Charles Schumer’s office, the federal Office of Management and Budget is considering elimination of the program from the federal budget.

So, to raise a few more dollars, we try to protect some influential wool producers and stick a knife in the heart of the users of wool in America.

In a letter to the OMB sent Wednesday, Schumer, D-N.Y., said doing away with the fund, which also provides economic development money to domestic wool producers, “would seriously threaten the continued economic viability … of Hickey Freeman and the few other remaining U.S. manufacturers of tailored wool clothing.”

So Chuck, let me ask a question. You are right that allowing tariffs on imported wool to rise would do extreme damage to this company. So why do you not recognize that raising taxes and tariffs generally will do damage to all companies? Will you now get behind an elimination of the tire tariff? Or steel tariff? Or the tariffs on thousands of other products that are vital inputs to American producers.

By the way, a story like this ought to remind readers that getting cheap imported items from abroad is a way to expand the employment in sectors that rely on those items as inputs into producing goods here. If you doubt that, look at what happened to the auto sector in Detroit following the implementation of the Smoot Hawley tariffs.

Thanks to Chris M. for the pointer.

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