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Here’s a letter that I sent a few days ago to the Washington Post:

Richard Trumka’s brief for punitive taxes on Americans who buy steel and aluminum is a standard-fare mash-up of familiar canards and fallacies (“The politicians screaming about a trade war are beholden to Wall Street,” March 20).  Nothing in it is new, and nearly every substantive point is false.  For example, his assertion that “closing mills and factories in the United States and moving them overseas is how investors enrich themselves” is belied by the fact that, as reported by the Organization for International Investment, “in 2015 and 2016, the United States once again was the world’s top destination for FDI.”

Businesses and factories are, on net, moving here – which, by the way, is one reason why the U.S. continues to run so-called trade deficits.  Amusingly, Mr. Trumka is on record bemoaning the size of U.S. trade deficits.  He’s obviously unaware of the inconsistency of being hostile toward both large U.S. trade deficits and American direct investment abroad, for the bigger is the latter, the smaller is the former.

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