I'm not kidding, that's what a column by Isaac Stone Fish in The Washington Post told us. We all know the list of complaints against China. They subsidize their exports of many products, costing US workers their jobs. They deliberately prop up the dollar against the yuan, making US goods and services less competitive. Our companies complain that China takes their intellectual property (doesn't bother me).

But Fish's Post column tells us the real problem is that Starbucks and other companies looking to profit from the Chinese consumer market may be hit by a government promoted boycott. I suppose if I had a million dollars of Starbuck's stock, I would be concerned. After all, their profits could fall by 5–10 percent, lowering the stock price proportionately. (Actually, most non-stockholders gain in this story, as big fans of free trade already know. If China pays less to Starbucks in profits, the dollar will be lower, which means that we will have a lower trade deficit, other things equal.)

For the other 99.99 percent of the American people who don't own large amounts of stock in Starbucks or similarly situated companies, it doesn't look like a big deal. Of course, it is interesting to see what sort of arguments The Washington Post takes seriously enough to feature on its opinion page.