Navarro thinks in aggregates, not individuals, joining the Keynesian and Harvard-MIT traditions in error. Countries don’t trade with each other, people do. “China” and “America” do not trade with each other; people who live in China and people who live in America do.
Remember this every time Navarro’s boss tweets something like “We are on the losing side of almost all trade deals. Our friends and enemies have taken advantage of the U.S. for many years. Our Steel and Aluminum industries are dead.” As Ludwig von Mises points out on p. 44 of “Human Action,“ “It is always single individuals who say We”. Also, domestic steel production is above its 40-year running average, according to the St. Louis Fed. Ditto aluminum.
Here’s Ben Zycher on Earth Day. A slice:
Earth Day is a classic religious holiday: The interpretation of destructive weather as the gods’ punishment of men for the sins of Man is ancient.
For adherents of individualism–such as most economists are–free trade basically means the freedom of individuals or their private organizations and intermediaries to import what they want from where they want–even if the degree of freedom of their trading partners is lower. Your country’s electorate has little influence on liberty in foreign countries, but it has some influence at home (at least a bit more). So instead of fighting for foreigners’ liberty, let’s do it at home; let’s be free even if foreigners are not.