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Again Making the Case for a Policy of Unilateral Free Trade

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Here’s a letter to a “long time reader but first time correspondent”:

Mr. Moss:

Thanks for your e-mail, and please pardon my reply’s tardiness.

You write that you “can’t see how we gain when our government leaves Americans free to trade in a world where other countries restrict their people’s freedom to trade.”

Would you ever write that you “can’t see how we gain when our government leaves Americans free to innovate in a world where other countries restrict their people’s freedom to innovate”?

Or would you ever say that you “can’t see how we gain when our government leaves Americans free to improve our businesses’ efficiencies in a world where other countries restrict their people’s freedom to improve their businesses’ efficiencies”?

Finally, would it ever be the case that you “can’t see how we gain when our government leaves Americans free to explore for, to discover, and to use new mineral deposits in a world where other governments restrict their people’s freedom to explore for, to discover, and to use new mineral deposits”?

Punitive taxes imposed by our government on our imports unleash exactly the same sort of damage on our economy (and, hence, on us as flesh-and-blood individuals) as would punitive taxes imposed by our government on our innovation, our entrepreneurship, and our exploration. All such punitive taxes restrict our ability to make the most of our economic opportunities. And this reality isn’t changed one bit by any other government’s, or governments’, insistence on restricting the abilities of people living there to make the most of their economic opportunities.

We should, by all means, pity such people. But we should not, by any means, tolerate our government inflicting on us the same damage that their governments inflict on them.

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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