The Deficit of Economic Understanding Is, Unfortunately, De Maximus

Source: Cafe Hayek
by Don Boudreaux

“Josh Zumbrun reports as newsworthy Jeff Ferry’s warning that America’s trade deficit with China is undercounted because of the exclusion from trade statistics of the value of de minimis imports (‘The Tiny Loophole That Understates the Trade Deficit With China,’ June 17). These imports are consumer goods brought by travelers into the U.S. in bundles worth less than $800. Yet rather than suggest that the protectionist Mr. Ferry is justified in raising concerns over the fact that America’s trade deficit with China is larger than is officially reported, Mr. Zumbrun should instead report this fact: In our world of more than two countries, any talk of one country’s trade deficit or surplus with any other individual country is utterly and indisputably nonsensical.” (06/18/22)