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Will Trump's Tariffs Kill Free Markets?

President Trump’s tariffs on steel and aluminum against allies like Canada, Mexico and the European Union are only the latest skirmish in a long-term attack on America’s free-market economy. So now that Trump is also mulling tariffs on foreign automobiles, renegotiating NAFTA and raising trade barriers against China, will that finally be the death knell for free enterprise? Hardly.
The president’s threats must be fought, but the good news is America’s fundamental institutions will withstand Trumpian bluster. For one thing, our economy remains a powerhouse. America’s $19 trillion economy already withstands an annual $1.9 trillion in annual regulatory costs from Washington. On top of that, Trump’s tariffs will cost “only” a few billion dollars. In short, the economy is dragging along a big, deadweight burden, but it can still get the job done.
Another American strength is our system of property rights. Compared to most countries around the world, Americans enjoy relatively

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