Walter E. Williams

Both Republican and Democratic interventionist like to focus on job losses as they call for trade restrictions, but let us look at what was happening in the 1990s. Cox and Alm report that recent Bureau of Labor Statistics show an annual job loss from a low of 27 million in 1993 to a high of 35.4 million in 2001. In 2000, when unemployment reached its lowest level, 33 million jobs were lost. That's the loss side. However, annual jobs created ranged from 29.6 million in 1993 to a high of 35.6 million in 1999.

These are signs of a healthy economy, where businesses start up, fail, downsize and upsize, and workers are fired and workers are hired all in the process of adapting to changing technological, economic and global conditions. Societies become richer when this process is allowed to occur. Indeed, because our nation has a history of allowing this process to occur goes a long way toward explaining why we are richer than the rest of the world.

Those Americans calling for government restrictions that would deny companies and ultimately consumers to benefit from cheaper methods of production are asking us to accept lower wealth in order to protect special interests. Of course, they don't cloak their agenda that way. It's always "national security," "level playing fields" and "protecting jobs". Don't fall for it -- we'll all become losers.


Walter E. Williams

Dr. Williams serves on the faculty of George Mason University as John M. Olin Distinguished Professor of Economics and is the author of 'Race and Economics: How Much Can Be Blamed on Discrimination?' and 'Up from the Projects: An Autobiography.'
 
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