Tariff as Tax

A tariff is a tax on the importation of goods into the United States. Like all taxes, tariffs have economic and social consequences. Tariffs were a major source of revenue for the federal government prior to the development of the income tax after 1912. Should tariffs be for revenue only? Or, should tariff duties accomplish other goals? Tariff duties can "protect" American producers from foreign products by raising prices on imports to levels so high that consumers will not buy them. Which American producers should the tariff protect? At what levels? Or, should consumers be favored with policies that allow importers to bring in foreign goods cheaply? Finally, should the government intervene at all in shaping the American economy with tariffs that went beyond raising the revenues needed for operating the courts, Congress, and presidency?

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