Advancing a Free Society

The Bizarre Trade Economics of Barack Obama

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Fresh from his major political defeat in the mid-term elections, President Barack Obama has decided to go on the political offensive by acting presidential, albeit in the worst possible way.  One object lesson was apparent in his Saturday op-ed in The New York Times, “Exporting Our Way to Stability.” His cascade of political and economic blunders begins with his first word: “exporting.”

According to Obama, a new emphasis on domestic jobs starts with yet another pointless world tour.  Instead of deregulating at home, he will seek to persuade the plenipotentiaries of India, Indonesia and Japan and South Korea to accept our new, muscular trade export policy.

Here is the gist.  Far from relying on “paper profits of financial speculation,” a newly revitalized America will do what it does best, which is produce goods for the export markets.  Simple multiplication, according to the president, shows us that “every $1 billion we export supports more than 5,000 jobs at home.”

So infatuated is Obama with the allure of the export trade that he includes the term “export” 13 times in an 838 word article.  And therein lies his Achilles heel: The word “imports” is not used even once.

Continue reading Richard Epstein at Forbes.com