George Will: Donald Trump, The Novice Protectionist

George Will: Donald Trump, the novice protectionist

WASHINGTON — Sooner or later, and the later the better, the president’s wandering attention will flit, however briefly, to the subject of trade. So, let us try to think about the problem as he seems to: Wily cosmopolitans beyond our borders are insinuating across our borders goods that Americans, perhaps misled by British economist David Ricardo, persist in purchasing.

Exactly 200 years ago, Ricardo published “On the Principles of Political Economy and Taxation,” explaining the doctrine of comparative advantage. Paul Samuelson, a leading 20th-century economist, cited this doctrine when challenged to name a social-science proposition that is both true and not …

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