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How You Spend Your Money Is Your Business and Your Business Alone

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This letter is to George Grant, who is quite unhappy with my refusal to support Trump’s protectionism:

Mr. Grant:

You ask how I “dare infer” that my “self-centered desire” to trade with foreigners as I choose should “outweigh the American people’s verdict to have our President conduct our trade in ways which he concludes advances our national interest.”

I ask how you dare infer that Donald Trump’s – or Chuck Schumer’s, or Lindsey Graham’s, or Bernie Sanders’s, or Peter Navarro’s, or Sherrod Brown’s, or Steve Bannon’s, or you-name-the-arrogant-brute’s – self-interested desire to prevent me from trading with foreigners should outweigh my own verdict, when spending my own money, to conduct my trade in ways that I conclude will advance my own interest.

How I spend my money is none of Trump’s – or American voters’ – business. Nor is it any of your business. Also none of Trump’s or American-voters’ business is how you spend your money. Nor is it any of mine.

To the extent that we embrace your and Trump’s belief that government officials have a right to superintend how each individual spends his or her own money, we treat our rights as garbage and become hapless beasts of burden for those whom we gullibly permit to shove their bridles into our mouths. I’ll have none of it.

Sincerely,
Donald J. Boudreaux
Professor of Economics
and
Martha and Nelson Getchell Chair for the Study of Free Market Capitalism at the Mercatus Center
George Mason University
Fairfax, VA 22030

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