Thus your proposal can be summed up as deterring good industries in order to encourage the bad ones.

Frédéric Bastiat
Complete Works, Volume 2, pages 134 to 141 (in French)
December 25th, 1847

Here is a letter from Victor Considérant and the corresponding answer by Frédéric Bastiat. In his letter, the former boasts about being a protectionnist and accuses the latter to be anti-protectionnist. However, he preaches the suppression of tariffs at the same time, including fiscal ones while accusing Frédéric Bastiat to be against free-trade because he accepts these ones.

In his response, the latter shows the absurdity there is in wanting to cut fiscal revenues and promising new spending at the same time. Indeed, when Victor Considérant presents himself as a protectionnist, he shows his willingness to support some industries thanks to subsidies. This is where today’s quote is framed in denouncing subsidies to industry, which as soon as they would not consist in robbing the poor in order to give to the rich (to tax craftsmen in order to subsidise a prosperous industry), consist in taking the money from those who create value in order to hand it to those who destroy value.

Frédéric Bastiat had already explained the issue with subsidies in his address to the electorate of St Sever in 1846 and will revert back to it several times, notably in his last pamphlet in What is seen and what is not seen.

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