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On Peter Navarro’s cascade of contradictions, confusions, misstatements, and half-truths in today’s WSJ | American Enterprise Institute

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The Protectionist-in-Chief’s Director of Trade and Manufacturing Policy Peter Navarro defends Trump’s tariff-fueled trade war in an op-ed in today’s Wall Street JournalGive Trump’s Tariffs a Fair Test.”

According to National Taxpayer Union Foundation’s Bryan Riley, Navarro’s defense of Tariff Man’s trade war is “riddled with misstatements and half-truths.” Ten to be exact, and Bryan sets the record straight.

Don Boudreaux is equally unimpressed with Navarro’s “cascade of contradictions and confusions so immense that even listing them would require an unusually long op-ed.” Don focuses on just two of Navarro’s sophomoric errors in a Letter to the Wall Street Journal here’s the first one:

First, in a March 6th, 2017 piece Mr. Navarro argued that U.S. trade deficits inflict such harm on the American economy that U.S. trade restrictions are justified as a means of trying to reduce these deficits. Yet in today’s op-ed he boasts that the “threat of auto tariffs has likewise drawn billions of dollars of new foreign direct investment from the likes of Toyota, Volkswagen and Mercedes-Benz.” Mr. Navarro apparently doesn’t understand the elementary fact that, because every dollar invested in the U.S. by foreigners is a dollar not spent on U.S. exports, the investments about which Mr. Navarro today boasts promote the very trade deficits that, in other contexts, he bemoans (see Venn diagram version above).

And Don concludes as follows:

I understand the importance of giving some of your valuable ink to prominent officials. But you insult your readers by repeatedly publishing arguments [by Navarro] that are so comically self-contradictory and intellectually insupportable that the author, were he to submit them as answers to a high-school economics quiz, would receive an F-.

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