Friday, April 16, 1993 - Page updated at 12:00 AM

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Log Exports -- Transactions Involving Subsidies Make No Sense Economically

Your April 8 editorial favoring the elimination of log export subsidies was correct, as far as it went. However, it contained the following line: "Some subsidies to stimulate exports make economic sense. . . ." This passage demonstrates an unfortunate lack of understanding.

No subsidy ever makes economic sense. If one party to a voluntary transaction must be bribed to make that transaction, that transaction by definition does not make economic sense; if it did, neither party would need additional persuasion.

Subsidies and other governmental meddling in the market are undesirable noises that mask true economic information. They are artificial stimulants designed to get people to make transactions they would otherwise not. If people will not voluntarily make a transaction, then that transaction should not be made. Subsidies, then, are nothing less than thievery by government from the public to promote economic inefficiency, which eventually further diminishes the public's lot.

All of this is well understood by anyone who has completed an introductory course in economics, which (if I may be so bold) I urge your editorial board members to take. - Bill Muse, Seattle

Copyright (c) 1993 Seattle Times Company, All Rights Reserved.


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