Personal Foul

by Don Boudreaux on December 4, 2009

in Standard of Living, Trade

On his blog, John Stossel alerted me to Sen. Chuck Schumer’s most recent spasm of stupid protectionist sentiments.  In response to New York’s senior senator, I sent this letter to the New York Daily News:

Sen. Charles Schumer (D-NY) is upset that Adidas will shift its manufacturing of National Basketball Association jerseys from New York to Thailand, and he menacingly calls upon the N.B.A. to terminate its contract with Adidas (“Sen. Schumer rips Adidas for outsourcing of NBA jerseys,” Dec. 2).

I wonder where Mr. Schumer’s business suits are made.  All in the U.S.?  What about his shoes?  His neckties?  His underwear?  The watch on his wrist?  How about the coffee he drinks?  The flowers he buys for his wife in January?  Are these all made in America?

Does Mr. Schumer eat cheese from only Vermont and Wisconsin?  Drink wine from only California and Oregon?  Does he vacation only in places such as Maui and Martha’s Vineyard?  Does he listen to recordings made only by musicians and recording-studio technicians holding U.S. passports?  Does he read books written only by American authors, and decorate his home with only paintings, photographs, vases, and sculptures produced by Americans residing in U.S. locales such as Santa Fe and Manhattan?  Is his life nearly devoid of modern consumer electronics, given that very few of these devices are today manufactured in America?

I don’t know Mr. Schumer personally, but I’ll bet my pension that his everyday consumption consists of countless products containing such large quantities of non-American inputs and labor that, were Mr. Schumer to rid his existence of these foreign contributions to his living standard, he would soon find himself dark-ages ignorant and appallingly impoverished.

Donald J. Boudreaux


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