I am opposed in theory and in practice to all tariffs. There is no such thing as an “industry-supporting” tariff. Which industry? You mean the particular one that happens to be failing because it cannot produce what people want at a price that covers its costs, but happens to have good lobbyists in Washington? What about all the other U.S. industries that would suffer and not be supported when they are forced to purchase the higher-priced U.S product rather than the lower priced foreign import? This is precisely what happened to many U.S. industries after Bush43 imposed steel tariffs. But I guess no one cares about the other industries that don’t engage in political bootlicking.
And what about all the industries that suffer because consumers will have to economize by purchasing less of the domestically produced higher-priced product? If foreign steel is tariffed, the higher priced domestic steel now becomes one of the inputs to many other U.S. manufactured products and raises all of their prices. Now consumers buy less of their products and those industries suffer.
Tariffs may sometimes have a short-run effect of supporting only that particular industry with political clout in Washington; but they do so only at the cost of hurting all other industries, as well as consumers. Tariffs hurt the economy as a whole. That’s the nature of all protectionism.
Import tariffs did not help Japan in the long run (though that was the popular myth amongst failing U.S. manufacturers who could not believe that the Japanese could actually produce better consumer products at prices that covered their NON-UNION costs). The main effect of import tariffs in Japan was that Japanese manufacturers wound up holding lots of U.S. dollars. Alas, there’s no place in Japan to spend U.S. dollars — they have to circulate, by definition, back into the U.S. — so Japan, if you remember, started buying lots of U.S. real estate back in the 1980s (they owned part of Rockefeller Center in New York City) and started investing in manufacturing within the U.S. (such as opening up non-union Toyota and Honda plants). Thanks for the tariffs, Japan! Your plants provided lots of employment for us! (Just as our tariffs would end up being good for some other country.)
You mentioned “some planning.” That’s another myth worth exploding. A free, unregulated, untariffed market is not anarchic and it is not “unplanned.” The choice is not between “planning” and “no planning.” All economic activity, by definition, is planned, even under conditions of complete laissez faire. The question is only WHOSE plan? The plan of each individual buyer and seller, integrated and coordinated with everyone else’s plan by means of the price system? Or one big plan imposed from outside the price system (hence, outside the individual plans of individual buyers and sellers) by a MITI set of bureaucrats?
Japan outproduced us for very simple classic reasons: they made innovative quality products at costs that were lower than the price they could profitably sell them. U.S. manufacturers were unable to do the same — mainly because of unions — and thus could not compete. It has nothing to do with central planning or governmental industrial policy. It has nothing to do with “management style” (another big myth of the 1970s and 1980s). It has nothing to do with Japanese bureaucrats being better than American bureaucrats — all bureaucrats are the same. It has nothing to do with education or IQ — Israel has a higher percentage of Ph.D.s and M.D.s than any other country, yet Israel is still pretty much an economic basket-case.
It’s very simple. Economic freedom (and the more, the better) leads to economic prosperity.
In theory, and in practice.