Donald Trump was recently interviewed by Rush Limbaugh. During the interview Trump demanded isolationist foreign economic policies like huge tariffs. Professor Donald Boudreaux responded via an open letter on Cafe Hayek:

Mr. Rush Limbaugh
EIB Network
New York, NY

Dear Mr. Limbaugh:

During your radio interview yesterday of Donald Trump, you missed several opportunities to ask probing questions – questions that would have exposed the sheer ignorance that underlies The Donald’s economic pronouncements. For example:

  • “Donald, why do you ignore the fact that over the ten-year span 2000 through 2009, the total amount of foreign direct investment received by China was $686 billion, while the total amount of FDI received by America was 162 percent higher at $1,799 billion? How, exactly, do you square these investments with your hysterical claims that the U.S. economy is being battered by foreign trade?”
  • “Donald, you complain about America’s trade deficit. Do you realize that another name for ‘trade deficit’ is ‘capital-account surplus’? Do you understand that every cent of the U.S. trade deficit is a cent of foreign savings invested in American assets – investments that increase the amount of productive capital at work in America? Do these investments hurt Americans?”
  • “Donald, you endlessly repeat that ‘no one respects America any more.’ What do you mean? If you’re referring to our military, perhaps any decline in respect is a product of the fact that our troops and guns have too often been sent to accomplish goals that troops and guns are unfit to accomplish. If you’re referring to the U.S. economy – while you’re right that Uncle Sam’s fiscal diarrhea certainly is a problem that must be fixed – the strength and resiliency of our economy is surely respected worldwide, else why are all of those foreigners investing their savings in America more so than in any other country? Are foreigners dissing us with these investments?”
  • “Donald, am I correct in guessing that one reason you want to be a politician is that you’re fond of making grand pronouncements on matters that you know absolutely nothing about?”

Donald J. Boudreaux
Professor of Economics
George Mason University
Fairfax, VA 22030