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Source of Desirable Jobs

Here’s a letter that I sent a few days ago to the Washington Times:

Peter Leitner wants Uncle Sam to stop G.M. from selling its Hummer division to China-based Sichuan Tengzhong, LTD., in part because this sale allegedly would be a practice in “forever hijacking scores of U.S. jobs” (“Hummer sale to China,” June 5).  Mr. Leitner is blind to the full scope of the modern economy.

Most U.S. jobs today depend critically on economic openness of the sort that Mr. Leitner decries. Capital from abroad; inputs from abroad; customers abroad; and consumer goods from abroad (that lower prices in the U.S. and so raise Americans’ real wages) – each of these consequences of economic openness plays a large role in creating countless jobs in the U.S. and, ironically, in imparting to all jobs in America much of the attractiveness that makes the prospect of losing these jobs so difficult.

Making America more closed to trade would indeed keep fewer U.S. jobs from ‘moving abroad,’ but it would also make these jobs less worth keeping.

Donald J. Boudreaux


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