by Mitch Kokai
Senior Political Analyst, John Locke Foundation
The first law of thermodynamics, translated into plain English, states that “there is no such thing as a free lunch.” Conservation of energy is a basic law of physics that cannot be violated. My question to Sen. Bernie Sanders and his supporters, with his promise of free college tuition, is: Has he discovered a way around the laws of physics? Or is he lying about getting something for nothing and really means that he plans to take the earnings of one American in order to provide “free” college tuition? Of course, he might have a more horrible method in mind as a way to provide free tuition, namely the enslavement of professors. One wonders whether Sanders would receive as much cheer from his youthful supporters if he were honest with them and told them he was going to provide for their “free” education by taking the earnings of another or by enslaving professors.
Presidential candidate Donald Trump promised, “I will be the greatest jobs president that God ever created.” To assist in accomplishing that goal he has vowed to impose a 35 percent tariff on imported Ford vehicles from Mexico. More recently, he threatened to impose tariffs on Carrier air conditioners because its parent company, United Technologies Corp., announced plans to move to Mexico.
Trump’s battle is not against Mexico, Ford or United Technologies. Instead, his real battle is against American people who would buy goods made abroad. This is readily seen by asking the question: Would Trump and other anti-free traders be concerned if Americans voluntarily refused to purchase foreign goods? Donald Trump and business and labor groups, who are against Americans purchasing goods made in other countries, can simply ask the American people not to purchase from abroad. Tyrants would never buy that strategy. Tyrants do not trust free markets and what they imply, voluntary exchange, because people acting voluntarily might not do what the tyrant thinks they should do. That is why they favor compulsion in the forms of tariffs and quotas to stifle peaceable, voluntary exchange with foreigners.