Regulation of the Day 68: Ironing Tables

Regulation begets rent-seeking. When government assumes the power to regulate imports, domestic firms will lobby to use that fact to their advantage.

Case in point: Home Products International (HPI), an American company, makes ironing tables. So does Hardware, a Chinese company. I personally have no idea which firm makes the better ironing table. That’s for consumers to decide.

Or at least it should be for consumers to decide. But it doesn’t always work that way in practice. HPI seems to have already made that decision for us.

At HPI’s request, the International Trade Administration will continue to add anti-dumping duties to the price of the Chinese-made ironing tables. That way HPI doesn’t have to worry as much about competing. Sorry, consumers.

Is this fair? Of course not. But all too often, it is how regulation works.