Quotation of the Day…

by Don Boudreaux on March 3, 2017

in Myths and Fallacies, Trade

… is from page 262 of James Bovard’s 1991 book, The Fair Trade Fraud (footnote deleted):

Unknown-2Commerce Secretary [Robert] Mosbacher warns, “This whole idea of unilateral free trade works just about as well as unilateral disarmament.”  His misleading analogy is heard frequently these days.  U.S. missiles and military have helped preserve American national independence; U.S. trade barriers have weakened American competitiveness and lowered American living standards.  Rather than “unilaterally disarming” our trade barriers, the proper analogy is to unilaterally diffuse old bombs that have been left scattered across our industrial landscape.  If foreign nations refuse to sever the ball and chain on their economies, is the U.S. obliged in self-defense to continue hobbling the American economy?

DBx: I love Jim’s analogy.  U.S. tariffs are indeed akin to still-live “bombs that have been left scattered across our [U.S.] industrial landscape.”  (I do wish, though, that Jim here would not have used the misleading term “American competitiveness” – but in this instance this complaint is minor.)

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