A Holiday Open Letter to Ian Fletcher

by Don Boudreaux on December 20, 2012

in Balance of Payments, Trade

Mr. Ian Fletcher
Coalition for a Prosperous America
700 12th St., NW
Washington, DC  20005

Dear Mr. Fletcher:

I received your e-mail today asking me, along with 4,999 other people, each to contribute $10 to help your protectionist pro-monopoly organization, the Coalition for a Prosperous America, raise $50,000.  Understandably, you attempt in that mass e-mail to persuade us to make net investments in your organization by assuring us that our investments will make the CPA more productive and, hence, better able to achieve its goals.

Yet among the promises you offer in your fund-raising pitch is that the CPA will work to “eliminate the trade deficit” – that is, to prevent non-Americans as a group from making net investments in America.

Query: if the CPA benefits when non-CPAers invest in the CPA, why do you think that America suffers when non-Americans invest in America?  That is, can you explain why the productivity of you and your colleagues at the CPA will rise if I make a net investment in the CPA while the productivity of you, me, and other American workers will fall if someone from Toronto or Tokyo or Timbuktu makes a net investment in America?

You’ll receive my $10 upon my receipt of a satisfactory answer from you to my question.

Sincerely,
Donald J. Boudreaux
Professor of Economics
and
Martha and Nelson Getchell Chair for the Study of Free Market Capitalism at the Mercatus Center
George Mason University
Fairfax, VA  22030

……

Ian Fletcher’s and the CPA’s fund-raising pitch should bear the following opening line: Choose to Send us Money so that We Can Work Harder to Reduce Your Freedom to Choose How to Spend Your Money!

UPDATE: Scott Lincicome graciously gave me permission to post here his reply to Fletcher (a reply prompted by the very same e-mail solicitation to which I reply above):

Dear Ian,

Since this is the second time in the last week that you’ve asked me to donate to your employer, I figure that you deserve a formal reply instead of the usual delete/brush-off.  Unfortunately, I don’t have any extra money to donate to your organization this year because I spent $54 on 6 pair of Made in the USA Wigwam King Cotton socks from the CPA Buy American Store (http://www.cpabuyamerican.com/Wigwam_King_Cotton_Socks_p/a10-f1055.htm).  I guess if I had purchased imported socks for $7.99 at Target.com (http://www.target.com/p/hanes-premium-men-s-6pk-crew-socks-white/-/A-14073530), I could have donated the $46.01 in savings to my charity of choice, or maybe even your organization.  Indeed, just think of how many additional donations the CPA could’ve received if more people had based their Christmas purchases on value instead of nationalism! 

Alas, maybe next year.

Merry Christmas,

SL

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