Pres. Donald J. Trump
You said at today’s CPAC meeting that “we’re going to make trade deals. But we’re going to do one on one – one on one – and if they misbehave, we terminate the deal.”*
By “we” you mean you. By “misbehave,” you mean act in ways that you find objectionable (which surely includes offering to sell goods to Americans at especially low prices). And by “terminate the deal” you mean use threats of coercion to prevent Americans from buying as many imports as Americans would otherwise choose to buy.
Now I do support the idea of one-on-one trade deals, but I have a radically different proposal for implementing them – namely, that you mind your own business and let each of us Americans make whatever trade deals each of us likes, one-on-one, with whichever suppliers each of us chooses to deal with.
I am far better positioned than you are, sir, to determine if deals offered to me by foreign sellers are good for me or not. Such offers that I judge will harm me I will reject and such offers that I judge will help me I will accept. I neither need nor want your help in screening such offers, for what your ‘help’ means in practice is that you will frequently prevent me from buying and selling in ways that I judge to be best for me and my family. Your ‘help’ will hurt me. And what is true for me is true for most other Americans.
So mind your own damn business and let the rest of us mind ours.
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.