1,028 Economists Oppose Protectionist Policies
Some in Congress are considering ways to enact protectionist policies against China. Fortunately, 1,028 of America’s top economists, from all 50 states and top universities, have signed the following petition sponsored by the Club for Growth in opposition to protectionist policies against China. In addition to many other prominent and well-respected economists, signatories include Nobel Laureates Finn Kydland, Edward Prescott, Thomas Schelling, and Vernon Smith. The petition and names of the signers appears as full page ad in today's Wall Street Journal.
We, the undersigned, have serious concerns about the recent protectionist sentiments coming from Congress, especially with regards to China.
By the end of this year, China will most likely be the United States' second largest trading partner. Over the past six years, total trade between the two countries has soared, growing from $116 billion in 2000 to almost $343 billion in 2006. That's an average growth rate of almost 20% a year.
This marvelous growth has led to more affordable goods, higher productivity, strong job growth, and a higher standard of living for both countries. These economic benefits were made possible in large part because both China and the United States embraced freer trade.
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. Worse, such a move will likely encourage China to impose its own tariffs, increasing the possibility of a futile and harmful trade war. American consumers and businesses would pay the price for this senseless war through higher prices, worse jobs, and reduced economic growth.
We urge Congress to discard any plans for increased protectionism, and instead urge lawmakers to work towards fostering stronger global economic ties through free trade.
To see the full list of the 1,028 economists who signed the petition click here.
MP: I, along with four other economists at the University of Michigan-Flint signed the petition: School of Management Dean Jack Helmuth, and Professors Yener Kandogan, Dennis Ellis and Chris Douglas.
See a related editorial in the WSJ here.