They see nothing but dogma — no matter how many jobs are lost, how high the trade deficit rises or how low the dollar falls.Frederic Bastiat knew this criticism well, back in the 1830s.
"We advocates of free trade are accused of being theorists, of not taking practice sufficiently into consideration." Economic Sophisms, First Series, Chapter 13.Too bad Lighthizer hasn't read the relevant literature.
More amusing though is this tidbit.
Free trade has long been popular with liberals, and it remains so with liberal elites today.I could introduce him to quite a few liberals, but none that heartily support free trade. And, noticeably, this anti-free trade screed appears in....the New York Times.
Lighthizer is correct when he says
Conservative statesmen from Alexander Hamilton to Ronald Reagan sometimes supported protectionism...That's exactly the problem--we can't even rely on our conservatives to support free trade consistently, which is why I'm concerned for our future.
And somehow Lighthizer thinks the best way to build "a prosperous middle class" is to make me pay more for the things I buy. Somehow he missed Adam Smith's lesson that the amount of goods and services you can command determines your wealth, not how much money you make, or where it is produced.
Really, it's too bad he hasn't read the relevant literature.