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An Open Letter to Bill Clinton

Mr. Bill Clinton

Mr. Clinton:

You correctly understand that if the U.S. Export-Import Bank stops subsidizing foreigners to buy certain American exports, foreigners will buy fewer of those exports (The Hill, “Bill Clinton: Attacks on Ex-Im bank ‘ridiculous,’” Aug. 5).  (You wrongly suppose that such subsidies boost the U.S. economy generally – but that’s not why I write.)

Given your understanding that buyers of good or service X buy less of it as the cost they incur to buy X rises, can we expect you to oppose efforts to raise the minimum wage?  Hiking the minimum wage, after all, raises employers’ costs of hiring workers.  So you surely agree that, just as raising foreigners’ costs of buying certain American exports will result in fewer such exports being purchased, raising employers’ costs of hiring low-skilled workers will result in fewer such workers being hired.

Donald J. Boudreaux
Professor of Economics
Martha and Nelson Getchell Chair for the Study of Free Market Capitalism at the Mercatus Center
George Mason University
Fairfax, VA  22030