Wednesday, November 23, 2016

Trump Keeps a Key Campaign Promise

A Don Boudreaux letter to the Wall Street Journal:

Many people are distressed that Donald Trump is failing to assure us that he will refrain from using the power of the presidency to create special privileges for his private companies (“Donald Trump Raises Prospects of Keeping Ties to His Firms,” Nov. 23).  Yet in fact, Trump is simply delivering on a key campaign promise.

Central to Trump’s political message is the assertion that prosperity for ordinary Americans requires government creation of special privileges for existing, private firms – special privileges, such as tariffs, that artificially inflate the sales and profits of these firms.  (And those who eagerly bought into this message include not only Trump’s supporters but also those who cheered Bernie Sanders and those who voted for Hillary Clinton.)  Therefore, if using special privileges to artificially inflate the sales and profits of existing American firms is indeed the key to ‘shared prosperity,’ there’s no reason why Trump should not begin this glorious process of national enrichment by granting special privileges to his own Trump Organization, Inc.

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

The above originally appeared at Cafe Hayek.


  1. So what, good on the left (or whomever) for pointing out Trump’s mega hypocrisy. There also the Emoluments Clause in the Constitution dealing with it.

    1. I think the point is that Trump propping up his own businesses with government force is no worse in principle than him using government force to prop up other American businesses, which many seem to support.

    2. Central to Trumps campaign was attacking Hillary for “pay for play” wrt her foundation. He’s doing and will do the same thing as President on a grand scale. His mega hypocrisy stands on its own, regardless of who’s pointing it out.

      Furthermore, the argument made in the article applies to virtually every statist (including phony anti-state paleo conservative militant Hillary haters) when they’re “distressed” at what the state does, as the state itself is about providing privileges to an array of special interest groups through force. Libertarians cite their arguments, when valid, all the time.