Here’s a letter to the Wall Street Journal:
I applaud my former George Mason University colleague Neomi Rao for the work that she’s spearheading, as director of the Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs, to reduce Americans’ regulatory burdens (“The Trump Regulatory Game Plan,” Dec. 14). It’s reassuring to know that, as concerns the regulatory terrain under her watchful eye, “[t]he Trump administration remains confident in markets and the American people’s ability to make responsible choices.”
But I have some questions – questions not so much for Neomi but for other members of Pres. Trump’s administration, such as Commerce secretary Wilbur Ross, and for Pres. Trump himself. I ask them: Why does your confidence in markets and the American people’s ability to make responsible choices end at the border? Why, given your understanding that government regulations on Americans’ commerce with other Americans often produce effects that are harmful, do you believe that government regulations on Americans’ commerce with non-Americans often produce effects that are helpful? Why, given your recognition that economic activity is distorted and debilitated by high taxes called “taxes,” do you suppose that economic activity is improved and invigorated by high taxes called “tariffs”? Why, given that you distrust bureaucrats with power to superintend Americans’ choices in the domestic economy, do you trust bureaucrats with power to superintend Americans’ choices in the global economy?
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