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Not “Leaders.” Lackeys

Summary:
Here’s a letter to the Wall Street Journal: Today, the 200th anniversary of the publication of David Ricardo’s On the Principles of Political Economy and Taxation – the book that famously first explained to the world the key principle of comparative advantage – Greg Ip quotes GOP advisor Lanhee Chen’s observation about GOP members of Congress caving to the Republican base’s increasing hostility to free trade (“Is Trump Turning Globalist? Not So Easy”): “I don’t know any [Republican] members who are going to die at the stake for free trade. The majority for free trade just isn’t there anymore.” So here’s a question: why are politicians routinely called “leaders”?  The typical politician is less a leader than a tortoise is a racehorse.  A far more descriptive term for politicians is

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Here’s a letter to the Wall Street Journal:

Today, the 200th anniversary of the publication of David Ricardo’s On the Principles of Political Economy and Taxation – the book that famously first explained to the world the key principle of comparative advantage – Greg Ip quotes GOP advisor Lanhee Chen’s observation about GOP members of Congress caving to the Republican base’s increasing hostility to free trade (“Is Trump Turning Globalist? Not So Easy”): “I don’t know any [Republican] members who are going to die at the stake for free trade. The majority for free trade just isn’t there anymore.”

So here’s a question: why are politicians routinely called “leaders”?  The typical politician is less a leader than a tortoise is a racehorse.  A far more descriptive term for politicians is “lackeys” – craven, mercenary lackeys.

Sincerely,
Donald J. Boudreaux
Professor of Economics
and
Martha and Nelson Getchell Chair for the Study of Free Market Capitalism at the Mercatus Center
George Mason University
Fairfax, VA  22030

This WSJ report by Ip reveals just how mistaken were those libertarians who supported Trump because they believed that he would at least be less militaristic than other major candidates.  According to Ip, Trump is becoming more “globalist” on matters of foreign intervention while he’s sticking hard to his anti-trade and anti-immigration stances.  It’s the worst of all worlds.

Trump is a calamity – a threat both to whatever hope we might have for more peaceable times and to our prosperity.

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Don Boudreaux
He is a professor of economics at George Mason University in Fairfax, Virginia. Previously, he was president of the Foundation for Economic Education.

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