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Someone Please Tell Me Again Why Politicians Should be Treated With Respect

Here’s a letter to The Hill:

Sen. Harry Reid (D-NV) – a leader of a party whose members publicly preen themselves on their alleged devotion to science and realism – throws a conniption fit because the uniforms to be worn by U.S. athletes at the 2012 Olympics were stitched together in China rather than in America (“Burn US Olympic uniforms because they’re made in China,” July 12).

Mr. Reid’s outburst reveals his ignorance of a foundational conclusion of economic science, namely, that people are enriched when they’re free to purchase from whomever they choose regardless of political boundaries.  Yes, there are economists who emphasize (mostly purely theoretical) exceptions to the case for free trade – none of which are relevant here – and even a few fringe economists who reject that case altogether.  But economists’ overwhelming, non-partisan, and research-based consensus today is, as it has been for years, that free trade (even when unilateral) is beneficial.  Mr. Reid’s temper tantrum proves that he is either inexcusably dimwitted about matters on which he legislates, or interested, not in science and realism and truth, but in scoring political points by appealing to the uninformed emotions of constituents.

If Mr. Reid had announced that locating water in the Mojave is easily done with divining rods, that cancer is best cured with crystals, or that the Senate chamber is haunted by Daniel Webster’s ghost, he’d be laughed out of office.  But let him make a similarly laughable remark about trade and he continues to be treated as if he and his opinions deserve respect.


Donald J. Boudreaux
Professor of Economics
George Mason University
Fairfax, VA  22030

Apparently, Donald Trump – purveyor of neckties stitched together in China – joins Mr. Reid in wishing to burn U.S. Olympic uniforms stitched together in China.

Turning now to people of good sense and sound ethics, here’s the always-enlightening Tim Worstall.


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