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Recent headlines about Trump’s trade ‘policies’ prompt this thought:

imagesIt’s as if, many years ago, a creative economist (say, an Armen Alchian, a Jagdish Bhagwati, a Milton Friedman, a Ludwig von Mises, a Paul Samuelson, a Jacob Viner, or a Leland Yeager) wrote a popular comic book featuring an utterly cartoonish protectionist villain who, as president of the United States, incessantly barks out the most simplistic and idiotic fallacies about trade – and the Trump administration is a big-budget effort to bring that cardboard, comic-book creep to life.