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Another Open Letter to Sen. Sherrod Brown

Sen. Sherrod Brown (D-OH)
United States Senate
Capitol Hill
Washington, DC

Dear Sen. Brown:

About your and Sen. Olympia Snowe’s (R-ME) proposal to tax American consumers more heavily if Beijing refuses to conduct its monetary policy according to your liking, you proclaim that “Addressing Chinese currency manipulation is vital to getting our economy back on track” (reported by Reuters, “U.S. senators push for China currency bill,” Dec. 13).

Your objection is that, by keeping the prices Americans pay for Chinese products low, this alleged currency manipulation harms the U.S. economy because it ‘destroys’ some American jobs.

So do you also oppose efforts to upgrade America’s infrastructure?  Consider, for example, that tens of thousands of miles of smooth Interstate highways – by making freight transport faster and less subject to disruption – reduce transportation costs and, hence, reduce the prices consumers pay for goods (not to mention steals jobs from railroad workers, as well as from motel maids, diner cooks, and truck repairmen – all of whom would find more work were America’s highways more congested and pitted with potholes).

And, of course, education: will you seek to rein it in, too?  The more educated the populace, the greater is its capacity to devise labor-saving technologies.  Surely your heart breaks whenever you ponder the damage done to the U.S. economy by all of these educated Americans who are forever finding ways to produce more output with less labor.

Donald J. Boudreaux

P.S. My offer to debate you on free trade vs. protectionism remains open.  If you’re so certain of protectionism’s merits, then you ought have no fear of explaining and defending those merits in a public forum against someone, such as myself, who believes that protectionism is dopey strange – someone who is so benighted as still to cling to the doctrine of unilateral free trade.


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