Don’t Worry about Trade Deficits

Here’s a letter I sent recently to the New York Daily News:

December 3, 2009

Editor, New York Daily News
450 W. 33rd Street
New York, NY 10001

Washington, D.C.: In his December 3 column, “On jobs front, President Obama needs to show a little audacity,” Errol Louis worries about America’s trade deficit. He shouldn’t.

I run an ongoing trade deficit with my local grocery store. I import food from them every week. They have never purchased a thing from me in return. Even so, we both benefit. I’d rather have their food than my money, and they’d rather have my money than the food on their shelves. This is true even if an international border separates us.

If Mr. Louis is as worried about trade deficits as he says he is, he would never again set foot in a grocery store, start growing his own food, and engage only in barter transactions. If he doesn’t, he is either misinformed, or else he doesn’t really believe what he writes.

Ryan Young
Warren T. Brookes Journalism Fellow
Competitive Enterprise Institute
Washington, D.C.