Obama’s Phony Economic Patriotism

Daniel J. Mitchell
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Posted: Sep 29, 2012 12:01 AM

I despise protectionism. Mostly because it is bad economic policy, but also because politicians often use protectionism as a way of diverting attention from their own failures.

So when I appeared on Neil Cavuto’s show to comment on President Obama’s criticism of “outsourcing,” I was a tad bit critical.

I think my opening comments were effective. I wanted to help viewers understand that cross-border investment is a big net plus for the American economy. Indeed, this is why I’m so critical of laws such as FATCA that discourage foreigners from making job-creating investments in the United States.

And I hope people understood the moral point I made about how it’s not our business what private citizens do with their own money, but it is our business when politicians squander taxpayer money.

Though perhaps I should have asked the folks at Fox to put this cartoon on the screen.

I also got to take a jab at the failed Keynesian stimulus. And I explained that big government facilitates corruption and that excessive government spending undermines growth, so I’m generally happy with my remarks.

But not completely happy. I should have said that the average corporate tax rate around the world is 15 to 17 percentage points below the American level, not 15 to 17 percent, but hopefully people understood the point I was trying to make.

P.S. Romney’s been engaging in some China bashing, so he also deserves some criticism.

Two More Funny (and Accurate) Posters about Gun Control

I did a post two days ago with a series of signs and images making fun of gun-free zones.

I’m personally more partial to t-shirts and bumper stickers, such as the ones you can view here, here, and here, but folks seem to really enjoy the posters. Indeed, here are two more that were shared by readers.

The first one is self-explanatory.

Though I suppose the message in the poster is not completely accurate. As an economist, I do think laws – on the margin – can discourage both gun ownership and pot smoking. It’s simply a matter of the likelihood of getting caught and the severity of the punishment (which was the theory behind the famous $1 million fine for speeding in Sweden).

That being said, it’s foolish to have bad laws – such as ones that restrict the freedom of people to engage in peaceful behavior that doesn’t infringe on the rights of others.

Speaking of laws, I think the message in this poster is perfect.

Indeed, this is a pretty good way of looking at much of what the government does.

Anti-money laundering laws, for instance, require banks (at great expense) to snoop on the financial transactions of customers in the theory that a few bad guys might get caught. As even the World Bank has noted, totally innocent poor people are some of the biggest victims of this policy.

Just an law-abiding people are the ones most hurt by gun control laws.

By the way, if you can’t get enough anti-gun control info, here are some videos I’ve posted over the past couple of years.