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Free Trade

Here’s a letter to the Boston Globe:

You demand that Uncle Sam slap punitive taxes on Americans who buy subsidized solar panels and wind turbines from China (“Obama should take on China’s trade violations in clean energy,” Sept. 16).  And you assert that such taxation of Americans is a matter of “sticking up for the principles of free trade.”

Wrong.  The principles of free trade demand that no government punish its own citizens with trade restrictions.  Ever.  Even if another government, such as China’s, harms its citizens by forcing them to pay tariffs or subsidies, the principles of free trade demand that our government nevertheless refrain from inflicting like harm on us.

Free trade is the principle that people should be free to spend and to invest their money as they see fit.  Period.  That principle is in no way contingent upon its acceptance or rejection by other governments.

Donald J. Boudreaux