Wednesday, January 17, 2007

For all the protectionists out there...

...here are some must-read links.

We will start with a link to a Center for Trade Policy Studies article by Daniel Griswold, titled ""Bad News" on the Trade Deficit Often Means Good News on the Economy". This article shows:
"...by all three measures of economic performance–GDP, manufacturing output, and the unemployment rate–the U.S. economy performs better in years when the current account deficit [the trade deficit] is rising as a share of GDP than in years when it is shrinking. And it performs especially well in years when the current account deficit is rising most rapidly."

(For a view of this information, see John Stossel's editorial "Losing Sleep Over the Trade Deficit?")

Want more? Here is economist Walter Williams, from his editorial "Trade Deficits: Good or Bad?":
"Professor Don Boudreaux, chairman of George Mason University's Economics Department, wrote "If Trade Surpluses Are So Great, the 1930s Should Have Been a Booming Decade" (www.cafehayek.com). According to data he found at the National Bureau of Economic Research's "Macrohistory Database", it turns out that the U.S. ran a trade surplus in nine of the 10 years of the Great Depression, with 1936 being the lone exception.

During those 10 years, we had a significant trade surplus, with exports totaling $26.05 billion and imports totaling only $21.13 billion. So what do trade surpluses during a depression and trade deficits during an economic boom prove, considering we've had trade deficits for most of our history? Professor Boudreaux says they prove absolutely nothing. Economies are far too complex to draw simplistic causal connections between trade deficits and surpluses and economic welfare and growth.
"

Still think we need to shrink our trade deficit?

In a survey by Robert Whaples of members of the American Economic Association, 87.5% of the PhD respondents agreed "The U.S. should eliminate remaining tariffs and other barriers to trade."

Still need more?

Ok, here are some classic editorials by Walter Williams, titled "Foreign Trade Angst", and "Our Trade Deficit".

Finally, a perspective on the trade deficit from David Gardner, co-founder of "The Motley Fool" investment website. In "Our Friend, the Trade Deficit", Gardner gives "three basic truths" you need to know before having an opinion on the trade deficit. They are:
1. International trade balance accounting does not count services rendered...

2. In international trade accounting, foreign investment in a country is counted as a "debt."...

3. Finally, trade deficits generally demonstrate a healthy openness to, and appreciation of, the culture and assets of other nations... and demonstrate as well as a trade policy that favors the consumer.

Read the whole article.

Still not convinced? Then keep running around screaming "The sky is falling!", because I won't help you.

2 comments:

barker13@frontiernet.net said...

Ed wrote...

"Still think we need to shrink our trade deficit?"

Uhmmm... YES.

Ed excerpted...

""Professor Don Boudreaux, chairman of George Mason University's Economics Department, wrote "If Trade Surpluses Are So Great, the 1930s Should Have Been a Booming Decade" (www.cafehayek.com). According to data he found at the National Bureau of Economic Research's "Macrohistory Database", it turns out that the U.S. ran a trade surplus in nine of the 10 years of the Great Depression, with 1936 being the lone exception."

Ed... it was a WORLDWIDE depression. Meaningless stat.

Ed notes...

"87.5% of the PhD respondents agreed "The U.S. should eliminate remaining tariffs and other barriers to trade."

Since when do you kowtow to "PhD respondents?" (*GRIN*) What percentage of PhD respondents believe Global Warming is America's fault and that we can stop it? (*SMILE*) Com'on, Ed... nice try... and note - the "stat" doesn't even specify whether we're talking PhD's in Economics or just PhD's in general.

Ed... Americans need jobs. Good paying jobs. Jobs that allow them to enter the middle class and stay there or even enter the upper middle class and conceivably upper class without amassing huge speculative debt.

BILL

EdMcGon said...

Ed... it was a WORLDWIDE depression. Meaningless stat.

Bill,
What caused the worldwide depression? High tariffs. Remember Smoot-Hawley?

I will grant you the PhD thing.

But as for America's need for jobs, we aren't going to get there by crawling under a rock. If you read what I posted, and visited those links, you would see that the trade deficit is the true "meaningless stat".