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Bonus Quotation of the Day…

is from page 2 of Douglas Irwin’s excellent 1996 monograph Three Simple Principles of Trade Policy:

Exports and imports are inherently interdependent, and any policy that reduces one will also reduce the other.

DBx: Doug here relates an elementary truth of economics – yet a truth overwhelmingly ignored by pundits and politicians. How many are the pundits and politicians in America who assert that the U.S. trade deficit can be reduced or even eliminated with higher tariffs and other barriers on American imports more onerous restrictions on Americans seeking to purchase foreign-made goods? How many are the pundits and politicians who support the ExIm Bank because they think it to be a means of increasing America’s exports relative to her imports?

When it comes to trade, most politicking and punditry (outside of too few publications such as the Wall Street Journal and Reason) is the intellectual equivalent of Cliff Clavin offering to Sam Malone and Norm Peterson his informed opinion on string theory. If most of today’s politicians and pundits who hold forth on questions of trade had any idea of just how silly and uninformed their ‘analyses’ are, they would be deeply embarrassed to be on record uttering, muttering, and writing what they utter, mutter, and write.

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