If one wishes to know the truth about so called "protectionism" (American System of Political Economy) one must go to the sources who investigated the differences between "Free Trade" and the American System. Below is a link to Henry C. Carey's treatise on the subject entitled "The Harmony of Interests; Agricultural, Manufacturing and Commercial."
In this work Carey examines the REAL effect of tariffs on various raw and finished goods over an approximately 4 decade period. This is a detailed examination of the effects of relatively higher and lower tariffs on these products. It was found that when tariffs were relatively HIGHer, BOTH domestically produced AND imported goods of that type were consumed AND American jobs remained secure.
It is also interesting to note that those periods in our history when our economy grew fastest and "mostest" were those periods when we were operating under the American system.
Another man who identified the errors of Adam Smith's "Free Trade" was Friedrich List. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Friedrich_List.
The quote from List below is very telling as to these differences, i.e. That if one wishes to build and maintain an economy, one must protect it.
Most Americans have no clue that such a system as the American system existed. Most have no idea that it was under this system that America became the economic powerhouse it did by the mid to late 1800's.Any nation which by means of protective duties and restrictions on navigation has raised her manufacturing power and her navigation to such a degree of development that no other nation can sustain free competition with her, can do nothing wiser than to throw away these ladders of her greatness, to preach to other nations the benefits of free trade, and to declare in penitent tones that she has hitherto wandered in the paths of error, and has now for the first time succeeded in discovering the truth.
It is a fallacy to believe that "free markets" or "invisible hands" actually control the markets, or that they are made more efficient by taking a hands off approach. The ONLY name I need cite to PROVE that there is no such thing as a "free market" is George Soros. In addition, the collapse of the industrial sector of our economy is further evidence of the destructive nature of 'free trade" policy, wherein financial derivatives have taken over and their unproductive expansion has lent the APPEARANCE of economic growth to disguise the destruction of America. We are reaping the results of the blind faith belief in the "Invisible Hand" today. It could not be more clear.
And I believe there was a plant is opening a plant in one of the Carolinas. As Carey mentioned in his exhaustive study of the effects of tariffs, it often takes several years for the effects of a tariff to be apparent in the economy. He factored that in. Fascinating read really.