Trade Deficits Through History

Thursday, May 04, 2017

Walter Williams very succinctly argues against Donald Trump's demagoguery on trade deficits, ending on the following historical note:

Let's put trade deficits into historical perspective. If trade deficits were something for a president to fret about, every U.S. president from 1790 to today ought to have been fretting. For most of our history, we have had current account deficits ( I should say every president except Herbert Hoover and Franklin D. Roosevelt, whose administrations ushered in the Great Depression. Nine out of the 10 years of the economic downturn of the 1930s, our nation had a current account trade surplus. Should we reproduce the economic policies of that era and re-create the "wonderful" trade surplus? [link in original, bold added]
In addition to the obvious question Williams's historical observations raise about the alleged dangers of trade deficits, the rest of his column explains exactly why they are not a problem in terms anyone can understand.

-- CAV

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