Therefore, despite the naive proclamations from Trump about “making America great again” with protectionism and tariffs, the economic analysis above demonstrates that protective tariffs make the country imposing them worse off,on net, and that proposition is supported by 200 years of economic theory and hundreds of empirical studies. That is why economists almost universally support free trade and oppose tariffs and trade protection – because economic analysis and empirical evidence clearly show that there are always net economic losses from protectionism.
If Trump is successful with his mercantilist and protectionist trade policies, it will be average Americans who will be punished by punitive tariffs, not the Mexicans or Chinese. And while Trump’s protectionism might save some U.S. jobs in the short run, his tariffs and other protectionist measures will unavoidably lead to even greater job losses in the long run, and less prosperity and a lower standard of living for the average American. That’s not a formula for greatness, it’s a guaranteed formula for economic impoverishment.