Would Taxing Imports 0.05 Percent Improve the Trade Balance?

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Wednesday, 09 June 2010 05:17
Probably not, but most readers of the Post probably don't realize that this is what is at stake in the debate over a proposal by the Democrats that would raise taxes on the foreign earnings of U.S. corporations by $14 billion over the next decade. This sum is equal to approximately 0.05 percent of projected imports over this period. It would have roughly the same effect on trade overall as a drop in the value of the dollar relative to the euro from 1.2 dollars to the euro to 1.203 dollars to the euro. (The decline in the value of the dollar affects both imports and exports.) In other words, this tax will have no measurable effect on the trade balance even though many politicians will likely make a big issue out of it.