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Open Letter to Mitt Romney

Dear Mr. Romney:

A blog-post by the Cato Institute’s Sallie James links to a transcript of your appearance recently on the Greta van Susteren show on which you complained that Beijing pursues policies that make Chinese products less expensive than American products.

I overlook the fact that, because only 2.7 percent of Americans’ personal consumption expenditures are on goods and services produced in China, 97.3 percent of the goods and services bought by American consumers obviously are less expensive to Americans than are Chinese-made equivalents.

Instead, let me here go to the heart of your argument and accept your presumption that party A harms party B if A offers to sell goods or services to B at prices lower than what it would cost B to produce those goods or services himself.

Accepting this presumption, I’m obliged to advise you that you can make yourself and your family better off by styling your own hair.  Your current stylist obviously does a fine job – strong evidence in support of my suspicion that that stylist has pursued policies that make it less costly for you to use his or her styling services than it would be for you to design and maintain your coiffure yourself.

Clearly, you’re being harmfully exploited.

By accepting my counsel that you style your own hair you will no doubt improve your well-being and, more importantly, demonstrate to voters that you’re a man of your convictions – one who acts in the same ways that he proposes that other people act.

Donald J. Boudreaux