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Commentary

‘Tariff Man’ (to the Tune of ‘Piano Man’)



(With apologies to Billy Joel)

It’s nine o’clock on a Saturday
Your iPhone is glowing and bright
There’s an old man up Washington
Watching cable news into the night.

He says, "Let’s make America Great Again!
By slapping a tariff on steel—
And aluminum bars and on Japanese cars
Now, let’s make those foreigners kneel!"

La la la, di da da
La la, di da da da dum

So jack up that tax, you’re a Tariff Man!
Let’s make Americans pay
For the right to buy stuff from those foreigners--
We should make it here, anyway!

We grow lots of sugar in Florida
That we could’ve shipped from abroad
If it’s world price times three, grow it domestically
And make special interests applaud!
And the tariffs raise prices everywhere
And the jobs that they “save” cost a ton
We’d be better off if we didn’t scoff
At free trade, and just let things run!

La la la, di da da
La la, di da da da dum

Now Paul is a real estate contractor
He’d like to buy things for his wife
But he canceled a deal because structural steel’s
More expensive—it’s doubled in price!

And the firms are all practicing politics
As their businessmen fly to DC!
Yes, they’re spreading a problem called poverty,
And calling it prosperity!

Jack up that tax, you’re a Tariff Man!
Let’s make Americans pay
For the right to buy stuff from those foreigners--
We should make it here, anyway!

These policies concentrate benefits
And they spread costs to you and to me
These costs are concealed, but see, they are still real—
They are there, though they’re harder to see.
Some goods are expensive that shouldn’t be
Because tariffs have made them cost more!
And we’d have more for bars, and put bread in their jars
But we’re stopping goods at our shores!

La la la, di da da
La la, di da da da dum

Jack up that tax, you’re a Tariff Man!
Let’s make Americans pay
For the right to buy stuff from those foreigners--
We should make it here, anyway!


Art Carden is a Research Fellow at the Independent Institute and an Associate Professor of Economics at Samford University’s Brock School of Business.






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