Arnold Kling  


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The Washington Post reports,

Powerful senators from both sides of the aisle, Schumer among them, are pushing two bills that threaten retaliatory action if China does not budge. For the first time, the idea is gaining broad support. The bills are moving swiftly through the Senate, and many analysts expect one will pass.

Meanwhile, the Club for Growth has this petition:

As economists, we understand the vital and beneficial role that free trade plays in the world economy. Conversely, we believe that barriers to free trade destroy wealth and benefit no one in the long run. Because of these fundamental economic principles, we sign this letter to advise Congress against imposing retaliatory trade measures against China.

There is no foundation in economics that supports punitive tariffs. China currently supplies American consumers with inexpensive goods and low-interest rate loans. Retaliatory tariffs on China are tantamount to taxing ourselves as a punishment.

Of the 1028 signatories, I spotted only a handful that I know are on the left. I wonder how many liberals said, "Euuwww, Club for Growth," and refused to sign. I mean, if the Economic Policy Institute had circulated a petition against the Bush steel tariffs, I would have said "Euuuww, Economic Policy Institute" ...and signed, anyway.

UPDATE: According to Pat Toomey, at least 20 signatories also signed a petition against the Bush 2003 tax cuts. That is a sufficient number to suggest that my only heuristic applies. You should trust that opposition to trade retaliation against China is based on economic reasoning, not politics.

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CATEGORIES: International Trade

TRACKBACKS (6 to date)
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The author at Club for Growth in a related article titled Economists Blogging About the Petition writes:
    The signers of the 1930 petition unfortunately didn't have their own blogs to write about the dangers of protectionism. Luckily for us, some of the signers of the 2007 version do. Here are some: Arnold Kling makes an important point of putting principl... [Tracked on August 1, 2007 9:48 AM]
The author at Trade Diversion in a related article titled But do trade economists oppose protectionist policies? writes:
    Commemorating 1,028 economists' futile opposition to the Smoot-Hawley tariff in 1930, the Club for Growth gathered 1,028 economists' signatures to oppose Congressional momentum towards imposing punitive tariffs on China: We, the undersigned, have serio... [Tracked on August 2, 2007 12:59 PM]
COMMENTS (1 to date)
ivan writes:

Not even Brad DeLong has signed.

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