Letters to Barron's
by Jay Starkman, CPA
Smoot-Hawley tariffs didn't precipitate the Great Depression.
To the Editor:
Your Other Voices essay perpetuates tariff myth and hysteria. Responsible historians say the Great Depression was inevitable, given high speculation, unsustainable debt, a tax policy that grew income inequality, and economic policies that failed to benefit many industries, reduce unemployment, or help the middle and poorer classes.
The main culprits were Federal Reserve inaction and adherence to the gold standard. Tariffs didnt help, but they werent the trigger. We should worry more about massive trade deficits and the spiraling national debt.
Jay Starkman is a sole practitioner in Atlanta. This article was originally published in Barron's, July 14, 2018.