- The Washington Times - Tuesday, May 4, 2010


Daniel Griswold’s column “A free-market ‘5-year plan’ to boost U.S. exports” (Nation, April 27) repeated the errors that have rendered U.S. trade policy a failure, with massive deficits and the transfer of production overseas.

Mr. Griswold wants sanctions lifted on Cuba, but the sanctions are about politics, not economics. Cuba is a poor island where the Castro regime controls what little money there is. Lifting sanctions would only benefit the regime and its loyalists while adding virtually nothing to U.S. balances. Some unscrupulous firms might profit from helping the communist dictatorship, but such behavior is not a proper objective for national policy.

Mr. Griswold claims that “fewer dollars will be available … to buy U.S. exports” if we place restrictions on, for example, imports from China. But the world is awash in dollars. From 2003 to 2008, the United States ran a cumulative trade deficit of $4 trillion. Foreigners have dollars; they just won’t spend them on U.S. exports. They prefer to advance their own economies by running surpluses and investing the profits. We should reform our policies to do the same.

The largest, most accessible market for American production is here at home. Even last year in a recession, imports ran nearly $2 trillion and were well over that amount in previous years. If we cannot beat foreign rivals here, we cannot beat them overseas. Taking back the U.S. market should be our priority objective, something we can do by our own initiative and legislation. National prosperity depends on increasing our own ability to produce.


Burke, Va.

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