Thursday, May 3, 2018

Tariffs and trade wars still seem like a bad idea: open letter to the President

The National Taxpayers Union has organized the following letter, signed by more than 1100 economists, of whom I am one. It is mainly a copy of a 1930 letter, signed by1,028 economists, urging Congress to reject the protectionist Smoot-Hawley Tariff Act.

Here's the beginning:

"May 3, 2018

Open letter to President Trump and Congress: 

"In 1930, 1,028 economists urged Congress to reject the protectionist Smoot-Hawley Tariff Act. Today, Americans face a host of new protectionist activity, including threats to withdraw from trade agreements, misguided calls for new tariffs in response to trade imbalances, and the imposition of tariffs on washing machines, solar components, and even steel and aluminum used by U.S. manufacturers. Congress did not take economists’ advice in 1930, and Americans across the country paid the price. The undersigned economists and teachers of economics strongly urge you not to repeat that mistake. Much has changed since 1930 -- for example, trade is now significantly more important to our economy -- but the fundamental economic principles as explained at the time have not: [note -- the following text is taken from the 1930 letter]"

Here's a link to the pdf file of the letter.

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