Free Trade Benefits Harley-Riding Econometricians (and All Other Consumers Too)

Roughly 40 years ago, I completed a very useful econometrics course at the University of Chicago taught by the author of the commentary quoted below. Life is hard to predict, with or without econometrics. Who could have predicted that Eddie Lazear would end up on a Harley?

(p. A15) When I served in the George W. Bush administration, a group of Harley-Davidson -riding cabinet members and White House principals led the 2008 Memorial Day Rolling Thunder motorcycle parade. I own a 100th Anniversary Year Road King Classic. I am disappointed to see President Trump singling out the iconic American motorcycle company for harassment–a precedent that could inflict long-run damage on the U.S. economy.

. . .
Mr. Trump may genuinely believe his trade tactics will pressure other countries to reduce their tariffs, resulting in freer trade overall. This is unlikely. In the meantime his policies impose steep costs on American firms, like Harley-Davidson, and the people who want to buy from them. The best way to get others to buy American is to produce high-quality goods inexpensively. Those American products that do well abroad, Harley-Davidson motorcycles among them, succeed because consumers value them, not because tariffs and trade-war threats force them to buy American.

For the full commentary, see:
Edward Lazear. “Keep Your Tariffs off My Harley.” The Wall Street Journal (Tuesday, Aug. 28, 2018): A15.
(Note: ellipsis added.)
(Note: the online version of the commentary has the date Aug. 27, 2018.)

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