FAIRFAX, VA. – Dear Mr. Dobbs, Congratulations on having a large new bloc of voters bear your name! Politicians ignore the "Lou Dobbs Democrats" at their peril.
Every night on CNN you claim to speak for these people. They are America's middle class: decent folks who work hard and play by the rules but who, you insist, are abused by the powerful elite. Free trade is one of the policies allegedly supported by the elite and for which you reserve special vitriol. You thunder that imports destroy American jobs, reduce wages, and make the economy perilously "unbalanced."
But you are mistaken.
The article is written by Don Boudreaux, a free market economist at George Mason University, who also blogs at Cafe Hayek.
I am an unapologetic free trader who believes, as does Mr. Boudreaux, that a trade deficit is not a bad thing. How is it bad for Asians to supply Americans with cheap manufactured goods? Tariffs will only raise the price of those goods and hurt the poorest of Americans. How is it bad to allow Asians to pull themselves out of poverty through the free exchange of goods across borders? Free trade is a win/win situation that benefits buyers and sellers. Lou Dobbs is either a first class xenophobe who has little understanding of economics or he's a populist pumping up his ratings by playing to the fears of the economically illiterate.