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The China Syndrome

Posted By Don Boudreaux On October 4, 2012 @ 4:33 pm In Trade | Comments Disabled

Here’s a letter to the Wall Street Journal:

John Taylor is correct that Mitt Romney’s economic policies are less likely to thwart growth than are those of Pres. Obama (“The Romney Cure for Obama-Induced Economic Ills [1],” Oct. 4).  The bar, alas, is low.  Because entrepreneurs and investors aren’t keen to produce and take risks when the president threatens them with higher tax rates, saddles them with crushing regulations, and scolds them for allegedly being selfish, ungrateful, predatory, and (to boot!) not especially important to economic growth anyway, entrepreneurs and investors respond by producing less and taking fewer risks.

Mitt Romney does seem to be less hostile than is Barack Obama to entrepreneurship, commerce, and private investment.

But contrary to Mr. Taylor’s claim, Mr. Romney’s trade proposals are not clearly better than are the president’s.  Mr. Taylor writes that “Mr. Romney intends to move ahead on trade agreements and create global enterprise zones to remove barriers to trade.”  That would be grand.  Yet what we hear most loudly about trade from Mr. Romney isn’t about freeing trade; it’s about restricting it.  Mr. Romney repeatedly boasts that he’ll raise taxes on Americans who buy imports from China.

So rather than making a principled case for removing barriers, Mr. Romney’s singular trade obsession seems to be to raise barriers and thereby make trade less free.

Sincerely,
Donald J. Boudreaux
Professor of Economics
George Mason University
Fairfax, VA  22030

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