Yesterday Don Boudreaux posted an open letter to the Wall Street Journal. Here’s a sample of Don Boudreaux on Peter Navarro. Read the entire letter at Cafe Hayek.
By my count, Peter Navarro’s op-ed in today’s pages – “Give Trump’s Tariffs a Fair Test” – is the seventh such piece that you’ve published by him since he became Donald Trump’s trade shaman. Each of these essays is a cascade of contradictions and confusions so immense that even listing them would require an unusually long op-ed. But two examples will suffice.
First, in a March 6th, 2017, piece Mr. Navarro argued that U.S. trade deficits inflict such harm on the American economy that U.S. trade restrictions are justified as a means of trying to reduce these deficits. Yet in today’s op-ed he boasts that the “threat of auto tariffs has likewise drawn billions of dollars of new foreign direct investment from the likes of Toyota, Volkswagen and Mercedes-Benz.” Mr. Navarro apparently doesn’t understand the elementary fact that, because every dollar invested in the U.S. by foreigners is a dollar not spent on U.S. exports, the investments about which Mr. Navarro today boasts promote the very trade deficits that, in other contexts, he bemoans.
Mr. Boudreaux is a respected economist. From the bio information at the end of his letter:
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
Don has a Ph.D. in economics (Auburn) and a law degree from Cornell.