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Why Stop With Such A Modest Measure?

Here’s a letter to USA Today:

Arguing for punitive taxes to be levied on Americans who buy goods from China, AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka says that “Conservative and progressive economists agree that a 25% to 40% revaluation in the renminbi would reduce the U.S. trade deficit by $100 billion to $150 billion a year, adding up to 1 million jobs to American payrolls” (“Opposing view on international trade: ‘It’s time for action’,” Oct. 1).

No doubt.

But even greater job ‘gains’ would be guaranteed if Congress enacts legislation prohibiting the use of labor-saving technologies such as internal-combustion and turbine engines.  Horse-breeders, blacksmiths, and saddle-makers will all find much higher demands for their services.  So, too, will local farmers and merchants who would no longer face job-destroying competition from distant rivals.  A ban on internal-combustion and turbine engines would also correct the long-standing trade deficit that Americans have with these machines, for the inexpensive flood of outputs that these engines have made available to us over the years far exceeds in value the outputs that they (or their producers) have purchased from us in return.

Donald J. Boudreaux


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