Episode 833: Worst. Tariffs. Ever. : Planet Money Tariffs are stupid. This is one of the few things economists can agree on. Today, we bring you the story of the worst tariffs ever.
NPR logo Episode 833: Worst. Tariffs. Ever.

Episode 833: Worst. Tariffs. Ever.

Library of Congress
Smoot and Hawley.
Library of Congress

About a month ago, President Trump walked up to a podium, and followed through on a big campaign promise. He said the U.S. was going to impose a 25-percent tariff on foreign steel, and a 10-percent tariff on foreign aluminum.

His announcement was met with a lot of face-palming from economists. Why? Because we've been down this road before.

Today on the show, we learn how the Smoot-Hawley tariff act of 1930 helped tank the world economy. And why it means that today, 90 years later, President Trump has the power to start what many people say is a trade war.

Music: "Addicted To You," "Soul Child," and "Bugatti"

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