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Bottom keeps falling out of trade data

By Neil Irwin
Ask some of the more optimistic forecasters out there where they see economic growth coming from in the years ahead, and a frequent answer is trade. Higher exports (and a more favorable overall trade balance) should drive job creation, simultaneously helping the U.S. recover more quickly and helping to right long-standing imbalances in the world economy.

Against that backdrop, Wednesday morning's international trade data are pretty depressing. It was one thing when the trade deficit widened in the May numbers; that could have been a fluke. The pattern has now repeated: Imports rose 3 percent in June and exports fell 1.3 percent, causing the trade deficit to widen to $49.9 billion from $42 billion in May.

There may be some temporary factors in play -- apparently Chinese exporters were rushing to get goods out the door before the expiration of a tax rebate. But more broadly, it seems like every data point that has come out lately has been disappointing, and this is one more in the line.

Skyrocketing imports were one of the major drags on second quarter growth, which was initially reported two weeks ago at a 2.4 percent annual rate. Now, trade appears likely to have been even more of a drain in the April through June period than was reflected in that estimate.

J.P. Morgan economists said they now expect the GDP number to be revised down to a mere 1.1 percent, given the new data on trade. That is way too close to stalling speed ("disturbingly low," as the J.P. Morgan analysts put it). They do note that there should be some payback in the form of higher growth in the second half of the year, however.

But more broadly, the thing to be worried here is that trade, which needs to be a key driver of the U.S. recovery for a whole lot of reasons, hasn't stepped up to the plate in the last few months.

By Neil Irwin  |  August 11, 2010; 12:09 PM ET
Categories:  Trade , U.S. Economy  
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Next: Economic agenda: Thursday, Aug. 12, 2010

Comments

It is time to declare a trade war on China. They are attacking us by keeping their currency to low. We need top counter attack with large taxes on Chinese imports.

Posted by: MiltonOliver | August 11, 2010 12:45 PM | Report abuse

Recovery Summer (in 2013).

Posted by: zippyspeed | August 11, 2010 12:46 PM | Report abuse

We live in an ethnic cleansing economy. Green cards are 1.1 million a year while unemployment is 15 million. Men's median wages are the same as in 1973. Colorado has already cut teacher retirement pay.

California is trying to put all employees on minimum wage. Obama's latest bill is to save teacher jobs with states unable to afford teachers for the non-white students, who are failing anyhow.

Libs simply blame the Tea Party calling them Nazi and Klanners because they want to save the America that existed just 50 years ago. An America of safety, civility, and stable pensions in the private and public sector. That America was killed by non-white immigration for being racist.

Posted by: OldAtlantic | August 11, 2010 12:54 PM | Report abuse

Just what the h!*$ is the United States supposed to export -- we don't make anything here anymore. Manufacturing is down to 11% of the U.S. economy, thanks to decent manufacturing jobs being sent offshore. And this isn't a partisan issue. Get rid of both the Democrats, with their Wall Street poodles Geitner and Summers, and the Republicans, with their mindless Chamber of Commerce blather about free trade. We need policies that create and maintain manufacturing jobs here at home. Those jobs made a strong middle class. Without them, we're left with little besides worthless investment bankers and other service jobs (meaning McDonalds and Walmart). Isn't there anyone out there in government or industry with brains and guts enough to deal with the reality of what's happened to the American economy?

Posted by: virginia-locovore | August 11, 2010 12:56 PM | Report abuse

H-1b, student visas, know-how transfer gave our manufacturing to China. There is no bottom in this economy. The GOP and Democrats gave it to China in know-how transfer along with our universities, Silicon Valley, and our factories.

We must reduce green cards to 25,000 per year and student visas to 25,000 per year, end H-1b and stop Wall Street's M and A engine of job destruction and factory relocation.

Posted by: OldAtlantic | August 11, 2010 12:57 PM | Report abuse

Aside from the currency issue, I would accuse the Chinese of gaming the situation, they like the status quo, they like surpluses, so when the world economy really looks to China to spend some of that surplus, darned if economics starts to slow down there. I don't think that's an accident, more of a way to shrug and claim they're not in a position to do anything.

Posted by: Anonymous | August 11, 2010 12:59 PM | Report abuse

We are already in a trade war with China: we are forcing them to continue buying our worthless paper so we can keep a couple thousand cruise missiles within reach of their mainland. They have no alternative but to continue funding our war machine; USA is like a Mafia-easy to join, but only one way out.

All you pessimistic Americans need to chill out and let the strategic thinkers do their jobs. We are on the winning end of this trade war; if they start dumping our debt we can crush them, literally. Who else is gonna buy their useless plastic trinkets? And do we really want to start manufacturing MORE plastic junk here?

I say let the deficit balloon as far as the Fed can stretch it. Let China keep polluting their rivers and paying for our defense. As long as MY government has a large enough navy to shut all global trade I know my child will thrive. And it is even nicer knowing that I'm not even paying for my own protection- the Chinese are!

Posted by: timtiminhouston | August 11, 2010 1:04 PM | Report abuse

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Posted by: Anonymous | August 11, 2010 1:13 PM | Report abuse

It is time to declare a trade war on China. They are attacking us by keeping their currency to low. We need top counter attack with large taxes on Chinese imports.

Posted by: MiltonOliver | August 11, 2010 12:45 PM

Ahhh, ignorance is bliss.....
so you start a trade was with china which in turn will stop buying our treasuries triggering an economic meltdown, way to go.
PS I don't know why but I feel that the Chinese populace is much better equipped to weather an economic meltdown than the American one.

Posted by: biglio | August 11, 2010 1:14 PM | Report abuse

China just reported a record breaking $28 Billion dollar trade surplus. We have in reality over a 10% unemployment. China sets the exchange rate so low that no one can compete against them. Is Washington now accpeting campaign contributions from China ?? We are destroying our economy while only a few importers in the U.S. and a few exporters in China win ?? Oh yes, please the remove the "U.S." from the U.S. Chamber of Commerce .. it is anything but U.S. ... Thanks

Posted by: jimtwest3 | August 11, 2010 1:15 PM | Report abuse

A flat 5% redistribution of income tax/VAT should be levied on corporations and individuals. The money will be disbursed via a bank issued credit card with corresponding photo-id. Voting registration, additional security services (like airport pre-clearance with background check), census should all be available. A full share goes to Americans 18-65, a third share for seniors and dependents, a 2% share for wards of the state. The money can only be spent on American made goods, medical (incl cosmetic), education (incl parochial), public transportation, adoption, and funeral costs. To qualify and stay qualified for a full share you must make $20,000 or work 1000 hours or similar combined time doing community service. Housewifes/husbands, clergy, students, the handicapped, people caring for the elderly, sick, handicapped or raising children are all exempt. A free full physical, paid from this tax, available every three years, submitted once every ten years, would allow early diagnosis of disease and cheaper treatment. The fine for washing credit card dollars is a years denial for the seller and a $5000 fine for the buyer. The Reagan investment tax credit should be passed to quicken the rebuilding of our manufacturing base. A giant national manufacturing mutual should be created for cash poor filers to pledge their credit. Cash investments in ground up, ecologically safe, fuel efficient plants and industrial parks can bring the ITC to 15%. The hit on the treasury will be enormous and the ITC should end when we have rebuilt our manufacturing base. The rebuilding of the base will create 10 million jobs and the restored base 20 million. Even Republicans would agree this is a tax cut for investment in America (5% vs 10-15%). No tax credits allowed against redistribution tax. At over $4000 a share a ready market of American made consumption will take place with the $100 American made ceiling fan bought before the $70 Chinese made. Seniors can be charged 5% of medicare costs to the 1/3 share amount to end medical over testing to be sure.

Posted by: jameschirico | August 11, 2010 1:24 PM | Report abuse


The Obama Administration and even more so the Pelosi-Reid Congress, are anti-trade.

Couldn't have a worse trio in charge if international trade is to be our economic salvation.

Posted by: Gidgmom | August 11, 2010 1:27 PM | Report abuse

China cannot afford a trade war with the US because if they were to stop exporting to the US they would have massive unemployment and social unrest. The solution for them would be to let their currency rise in return for low or no trade tariffs. This would also mean lower imports, higher exports, and lower unemployment for the US.

Posted by: MiltonOliver | August 11, 2010 1:35 PM | Report abuse

Most all remarks to this article continue in the vein of mindless, Tea Party blather. The James Cherico plan is an effort to do something thoughtful. It is too much for me to grasp in one quick reading, but I do appreciate his attempt. I especially like the community service part and the favoritism for those 18-65. I am 69 and believe that the generation raising families are the ones being squeezed and need the most help. They are penlized vs the seniors because they have no effective lobby and don't vote enough.

Posted by: Anonymous | August 11, 2010 1:40 PM | Report abuse

Most all remarks to this article continue in the vein of mindless, Tea Party blather. The James Cherico plan is an effort to do something thoughtful. It is too much for me to grasp in one quick reading, but I do appreciate his attempt. I especially like the community service part and the favoritism for those 18-65. I am 69 and believe that the generation raising families are the ones being squeezed and need the most help. They are penlized vs the seniors because they have no effective lobby and don't vote enough.

Posted by: Anonymous | August 11, 2010 1:40 PM | Report abuse

"Progressives" are fabian socialists, aka marxist/leninist. They are pushing our nation from the "demoralization" stage into the "Crisis" stage of our fabian socialist takeover, see Ex Communist Subversive for explanation of what is happening to our constitutional republic @ http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bivEvWDWxlI&feature=related and http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vlkPkJInUmU&feature=related

Posted by: Anonymous | August 11, 2010 2:31 PM | Report abuse

You have CEO's and boards exporting not only jobs but the technology to build products. Once you have given (sold) the technology there is no coming back unless you can under price the next producer. American workers can not live on 20¢-85¢ per hour, no matter how hard corporations and the rich whine. So, long story short, rich will get richer at the expense of the working man.

Posted by: Anonymous | August 11, 2010 2:36 PM | Report abuse

Mr. Irwin, I model the economy for a living and I posted precisely what was going to happen a few weeks back. Now, the second part predicted by that analysis kicks in. Government intervention by the free traders, which is will fill up the international broker's hogs trough for about 60 days. Then, the entire world collapses into a major depression. The fundamentals, ignored by the ignored by the craven money grubbing swine that have run Washington, and that includes leaders of both parties, anyone who thought that the free trade Ponzi scheme would keep on running, have shown everything from the money supply to real unemployment to be even worse than the early stages of the Great Depression. The economies of the west are going to end up in ruins. Investors are going to flock to Asia as a fantasy safe haven. But, don't think that India or China is going to escape this. India is already experiencing out-of-control inflation and that is about to be caught by China, which is going to collapse their own housing market. CITI, AIG, and those same Wall Street firms that nearly went under during the US mortgage crisis, are going to get a whole round of much much worse "defaults". I look for China to simply blame them and not pay). There isn't any money in the US for another round of bailouts and, so, AIG is going to fail along with CITI, Chase, and a long list of "institutions". The local, state, and federal public employee retirement funds that have propped up this ramshackle suicide run and going to go, right along with those firms. The whole thing will blow up just before the November elections and the morons on Wall Street and in Washington, who *could* minimize the impact by acting RIGHT NOW, are going to fiddle with their global trade, weak dollar policies, and make matters even worse.

Posted by: mibrooks27 | August 11, 2010 2:46 PM | Report abuse

You have CEO's and boards exporting not only jobs but the technology to build products. Once you have given (sold) the technology there is no coming back unless you can under price the next producer. American workers can not live on 20¢-85¢ per hour, no matter how hard corporations and the rich whine. So, long story short, rich will get richer at the expense of the working man.

Posted by: Anonymous | August 11, 2010 2:57 PM | Report abuse

MiltonOliver is correct.

That said, we also need to stop the foreign civil wars of Republican adventure that provide Red China and Russia with cheap resources at the expense of American blood, tears, and treasure.

And trust bust the Too Big To Fail firms. With no severance pay, options, or benefits for the execs making more than $250k at them.

Posted by: WillSeattle | August 11, 2010 3:38 PM | Report abuse

Anonymous - Not quite. The average hourly labor cost in China is $0.91 an hour. It is slightly less than that in India. Both counties have enormous disparities between the new rich and middle class and their old poor. There are at least 430 million people in India literally starving to death, with no "safety net". The social upheaval, riots, and draconian suppression going on in Kashmir and Northern India are due to this. Indian's answer has been to arm paramilitary gangs and thousands of people are being murdered. India IS going to fall apart. There are no good estimates for China, but around 1/3 of that county's population is in similar straights. Both nations are unstable and ruthless oligarchies, with the west merely pretending that they are "democracies" or on their way towards it. Our trade policies have been predicated upon the belief that trade ties, and especially giving them US jobs and factories, will buy cooperation and peace. The idiots doing this created a monster and set us up to take the fall for the looming collapse. Essentially, Clinton-Bush-Obama created unstable and somewhat modern armed enemies and that will be the start of the Third World War.

Free trade is almost over. The polling data in this country is largely suppressed (why?), but the best data available shows 84% of voters want job outsourcing and guest worker programs completely and suddenly ended. Right now. We have known, for quite some time, that most of the trade imbalances echo hidden and massive job outsourcing. If you comb through government records, and trust them, a very big "if" when it coms to trusting our own government, we have outsourced around 45 million jobs since Clinton embarked upon this suicide run -- more than 8 million just since Obama took office. And the pace of outsourcing has been accelerating. Government intervention has been to "double down" on the trade gamble -- the Tariff Reduction Act, issuing more H1-B visas than ever, insane attempts o adapt the German export model to the US. Likewise, there are around 5 million "unemployed", more accurately "displaced", US hi-tech workers as a result of the H1-B and L-1 visa programs. Those guest worker programs have discouraged our college students from majoring in engineering, the computer and hard sciences, so he government has effectively gutted our ability to dig our way out of this mess. Most employed US engineers are functioning as managers and have, at best, rusty technical talents.

The underlying fact is, however, a mere 5.2% of our *total* exports are of manufactured goods. The remainder are underprices raw materials, like timber, minerals, and agricultural produce, essentially making the US look like any other third world victim. The weak dollar policies of the Fed, to somehow stimulate exports, hasn't led to that because there are no protections for domestic manufacturing. Instead, it has led to ever more job outsourcing and, even worse, factory and production capacity outsourcing.

Posted by: mibrooks27 | August 11, 2010 3:42 PM | Report abuse

It seems pretty clear to me that the "free trade" agenda has failed. Those with whom we seek to trade freely are, in fact, quite protectionist as the CEO of GE recently let on. The US is the world's most coveted market still. It's time we started demanding concessions from those seeking to send their goods here. We can start with China and begin to ratchet down the flow of goods from there until every container of cargo coming from them gpes back full of American exports. We may not make much any more but we still can if there are buyers and it's up those wishing to sell to us to make sure there are buyers in their countries. China, of course, could start by making sure every movie and copy of Windows sold is legitimate and paid for.

Also, we need to reverse the icetives on US companies and make it more attractive to keep their manufacturing domestic. All this may give the World Trade Organization a headache and I say, "Who cares?"

Posted by: Anonymous | August 11, 2010 3:44 PM | Report abuse

WOW!!!!!

THE STOCK MARKET IS DOWN 262.92 TODAY

HOW IS ALL THAT HOPE AND CHANGE WORKING FOR YOU?

OBAMA AND THE DEMOCRATS GIVING ALL OUR MONEY AWAY IS SURE DOING OUR ECONOMY GOOD, ISN'T IT?

WHERE ARE THE JOBS JOBS JOBS DEMOCRATS?

BLAMING BUSH STILL?

WE NEED TO IMPEACH THIS IMPOSTER OBAMA.

OBAMA: DO US A FAVOR AND QUIT.

Posted by: COOLCHILLY | August 11, 2010 4:07 PM | Report abuse

80% of the US economy is based on domestic consumption. All we have done with the free trade experiment, is outsource domestic production that used to supply the bulk of that domestic market. Any, even the most simplistic analysis of the data will show hat we have not increased real exports. They have, in fact, decreased. Our "leaders" are idiots. The voting public has been screaming for the past several years about ending job outsourcing and ending nonsense trade agreements like NAFTA, CAFTA, the hodgepodge of agreements with Indian and China and all of those other emerging Asian economies, ending guest worker visas like the H1-B, etc. The polls show an overwhelming, like 84%, opposition to this stuff. But our elected officials, the press, columns like this one, have purposefully ignored that. That is what is driving the distrust and disgust with government and our institutions. The only question that remains - "What good is a government that ignores the wishes of the people it supposedly represents? None!" Do we need a second American revolution? What will it take to end the economic insanity that passes for common wisdom in Washington and New York? The only solution to our current ride to hell lies with a strong dollar policy and draconian protectionism -- high trade tariffs to begin with, taxes and fines and fees on multinational corporations for outsourcing and *any* non-US transactions (and, "yes", the idea is to run them out of business), and tariffs raised until cheap foreign imports are starved out of our markets and domestic production resumes to fill those market needs.

Posted by: mibrooks27 | August 11, 2010 4:07 PM | Report abuse

@ mibrooks27. Very interesting....

Posted by: Anonymous | August 11, 2010 4:11 PM | Report abuse

If the US cuts off imports from China then the domestic Chinese economy risks falling into a serious recession, which would cascade and make the last recession, "The Great Recession," look like a summer picnic. China and India skating through the last global recession were what stopped a world depression a la the 1930's. The US and Eu economies are in no shape to pick up the slack.

Posted by: crete | August 11, 2010 4:46 PM | Report abuse

I definitely agree with "mibrooks27" that there is basically no connection between the will of the people and the outcome of actual politics. That is because the U.S. voting system is based on the totally undemocratic English model from hundreds of years ago!!! Why doesn't anyone in this country understand that??? What we need is PROPORTIONAL REPRESENTATION, whether that is nationally or within states themselves. That is the only system that translates the will of the people into actual policy. Please read:

http://usparliament.blogspot.com/2009/09/manifesto-for-us-parliament-2009-update.html

Posted by: JOlsson1 | August 11, 2010 4:55 PM | Report abuse

For many years now, our leadership has said we must do more biz with China. What has all of this biz accomplished? Wal-Mart has gotten fat, importing everything "made in China." But how has the average Joe benefited?

Posted by: Anonymous | August 11, 2010 5:07 PM | Report abuse

I'm not a fan of free trade, but there's much misinformation in the above comments. We do export manufactures with only around 10% of exports primary raw materials and agricultural products rather than the 80% cited in the comment above. Solving our trade problem is the best form of stimulus and the one that doesn't rely upon adding anything to existing purchasing power of companies or individuals. Since 1990 we have sent out to the world more than 5 trillion US dollars. The cost in terms of lost jobs is around 5 to 7 million jobs due to the disparity in our trade accounts and the differential between employment in labor intensive industries and capital intensive industries. As I've written many times, the $ 500 to 700 billion in lost income and jobs is the best form of stimulus and the cheapest, however, it will require a rethinking on the part of America and the world as to what free trade really means. To go cold turkey would put too many workers out of their jobs. There is a better way -- we can alter the tax code to penalize companies that benefit from selling here and buying there, while rewarding companies that sell more abroad and buy more of their inputs here. A simple adjustment in the tax code to vary the corporate tax based on their contribution to American prosperity can leave the decision to out source to companies rather than governments. If a company sells 70% of their products here and buys 35% of their inputs, then it would pay an effective tax twice the marginal corporate tax rate, or 70% of profits. If it is the reverse then it would pay just 17.5% of its profits. To solve our trade problem with exports is, as one of the readers points out, difficult, ikf not impossible. With imports almost twice exports, then to reduce the deficit exports have to grow at a rate well over twice the rate of growth of imports just to stand still.

It is time the Democratic administration stops worrying about the world at large and starts to concentrate on rebuilding American manufacturing. Not new products, but the old products that used to be our bread and butter. If we concentrate on healing America first, then the world will heal as well.

Posted by: DBlond | August 11, 2010 5:09 PM | Report abuse

crete - Perhaps I wasn't plain enough. The Chinese economy IS collapsing. Actually, the world's economies are collapsing. The international trade ties are such that the entire set of trade schemes in place over the past several years have relied upon US consumption. Go take a look at the statistics. What the idiots who came up with this model did, was sacrifice US production to prop this ramshackle scheme up. I guess they, just like those MBA's who thought that home values would climb forever that created the mortgage meltdown, assumed that there was no end to the dollar supply in the US with which to buy those imports. Well, we crossed a point, back in 2007, where the amount of available funds were less than the amount of imports. Ever since then we have been essentially borrowing money. Worse, this has driven a vicious cycle of competition for ever lower prices, chasing ever fewer dollars. The result has driven the accelerating production outsourcing as vendors seek ever lower production costs to maintain their margins. Chinese imports have declined by 2/3 over the past year while exports have grown three fold! That, if anyone cared to pay attention, has come at the cost of massive production outsourcing from this country. Real income for most American has declined during that period, too.

Public employee pension funds, the fuel behind a lot of this, has been chasing/demanding ever higher returns to prop up ever growing unfunded liabilities. This, in turn, has caused those fund managers to engage in more and more risk, basically the same sort of mentality that drives a gambling addict to blow his entire paycheck on desperate chance that he can win just one big one. (But, those managers need to win an entire streak. It ain't going to happen!) The result of all of this, if graphed, are a series of intersecting lines that plot to RIGHT NOW.

The whole mess is unraveling right before our eyes and, when it is done, the economies of the US, China, India, Europe, virtually he entire world, are going to completely and utterly collapse. In the very near term, though, AIG, CITI, and a bunch of those Wall Street firms, that were bailed out and have continued the same risky business practices ***are going to collapse***. There wont be the public will nor the money to bail them out a second time and, so, they will be allowed to fail. Those failures, in turn, are going to overwhelm the Fed, FDIC, Fanny, Freddy, etc. and, like domino's. It's going to be one hell of a mess and Washington, BOTH PARTIES, and Wall Street are to blame. The social upheaval, the riots, starvation, human misery and suffering, deaths, instability that is looming in the NEAR future scare me half to death.

Posted by: mibrooks27 | August 11, 2010 5:21 PM | Report abuse

"Off-Shoring American jobs is good for America."

-George Bush

Posted by: Anonymous | August 11, 2010 5:26 PM | Report abuse

DBlond- You had best take another look at the numbers. A grand total of 5.2% of our exports are of manufactured goods. That has been declining for over a year, now. ALl of this is pretty easy to figure out from the Commerce Department statistics. (ignore the reports. They are blather and spin.) What, pray tell is left? What is left are raw materials and money, and money is just another raw material. Furthermore, you are wrong about the amount of money we have invested offshore. It isn't 7 trillion, it is 37 trillion dollars (and that is a conservative estimate).

Posted by: mibrooks27 | August 11, 2010 5:28 PM | Report abuse

We can't fix this until we have a fair trade level playing field. We can't have that, so long as Chinese manufacturers only pay their workers $150 a month, like they do at FoxConn where Apple makes its iPads and iPods and iPhones. We can keep telling our legislators and president we want action (good luck with that) in the form of tariffs against Chinese imports -- or we can organize boycotts ourselves and just stop buying anything made in China! Do it now! Read more on my blog at www.FreeingTibet.com

Posted by: JohnRobertsFreeingTibet | August 11, 2010 5:40 PM | Report abuse

I'm going to go out on a limb here, but I figure the stock market, that is the entire world's market, begin collapsing on Friday. The projects from the model pointed to mid to late August, but government actions with regards to trade last week and Fed actions further undermining the dollar appear to have speeded up things.

And, just think, if we threw out every weak dollar free trader and adapted meaningful protectionist laws and a strong dollar policy, we could experience the looming catastrophe as a minor second "dip" and grow out of it in less than 18 months. We wont and a lot of people are going to pay for that mistake with their lives. Just remember the monsters, swimming in those twin cesspools in New York and Washington, who did this to you.

Posted by: mibrooks27 | August 11, 2010 5:42 PM | Report abuse

I have a good friend in Germany and visited her recently. Not to say that they have everything right or that I am well versed in economics, but one while driving Germany, Austria, and northern Italy there were small manufacturing plants dispersed throughout, so that any small town was close to a plant. I saw engine parts, clothing, cosmetics, cookware manufacturing and many others during my visit. The quality was high, but the people I met buy products to last, not what is trendy or cheap. It seems they collectively know they've got to maintain an industrial base.

Posted by: merbc | August 11, 2010 6:44 PM | Report abuse

who trashed the economy? even GOP says it was the GOP
http://www.marketwatch.com/story/reagan-insider-gop-destroyed-us-economy-2010-08-10?pagenumber=1

Posted by: cmsatown | August 11, 2010 7:35 PM | Report abuse

Every one of these trade deals from NAFTA to Normal Trade Relations with china has done nothing but enrich those at the top while forcing an ever faster race to the bottom on the rest of the world's population.

Scrap them all.

Posted by: Anonymous | August 11, 2010 7:54 PM | Report abuse

What does America make that anyone else in the world wants to buy?

Posted by: Anonymous | August 11, 2010 8:08 PM | Report abuse

As long as we are talking about "political" economy, why is this nation continuing to admit hordes of immigrants -- far more than any other nation, and both legal and illegal, both well trained (H1-B) and not, during these years of record unemployment? Why do our tax and trade policies continue to reward the CEO who exports well paying jobs abroad? Why isn't any of this up for discussion on ABCNBCCBS or the New York Times or the Washington Post? Why do our politicians assiduously look the other way whenever ordinary Americans express their clear preferences on this issue?

(For background, a few facts from Wikipedia:

Legal immigration to the U.S. increased from 250,000 in the 1930s, to 2.5 million in the 1950s, to 4.5 million in the 1970s, and to 7.3 million in the 1980s, before resting at about 10 million in the 1990s.[44] Since 2000, legal immigrants to the United States number approximately 1,000,000 per year, of whom about 600,000 are Change of Status who already are in the U.S. Legal immigrants to the United States now are at their highest level ever, at just over 37,000,000 legal immigrants. Illegal immigration may be as high as 1,500,000 per year with a net of at least 700,000 illegal immigrants arriving every year.[45][46] Immigration led to a 57.4% increase in foreign born population from 1990 to 2000.[47])

Posted by: JohnQCitizen | August 11, 2010 8:12 PM | Report abuse

As with all things relative, it all about timing. At least, that's how I see it.

Posted by: jralger | August 11, 2010 8:15 PM | Report abuse

Boycott anything Chinese. Can't find a substitute, do without. Be willing to pay a bit more for goods made in North America. Demand and create a demand for American goods. To blindly continue to buy Chinese goods is folly. WalMart: are you listening. If not, boycott WalMart.

Demand that our government and industries stop acting like ideological ostriches and get their collective heads out of the sand and pursue clean energy, education and infrastructure.

And, by the way, put a sock in it about these family values "cultural" wars and recognize that respecting our differences and working together as Americans is what will get us out of the woods.

Posted by: Anonymous | August 11, 2010 9:31 PM | Report abuse

Dear Right-wingnuts,

This concept of an open market works fine if all players are at the same basic economic level, much like western Europe. Throw in an India, Thailand or a couple Chinas with no patent or copyright laws and what you get is 21st century chaos.

Anyone on the right notice that 40 years of right-wing fiscal policy taken straight from the 1890s and 1920s have failed us again?

Welcome to the Greatest Depression, a proud repeat product of the GOP.

Posted by: BigTrees | August 11, 2010 9:43 PM | Report abuse

Remember when one by one steel, autos, textiles, furniture and many other industries were being shut down and given away, with nothing in return ? Pronouncements from Washington assured us we were better off, citing pension and medical costs and the need to phase them out in favor of cheap imports. Optimists said don’t worry, dreaming loudly of the coming high tech information age, the magic bullet that will someday propel us from the abyss. Today of course those same voices are largely silent as the majority of advanced degrees in math, science, and engineering are awarded by America’s finest universities to foreign students, and as U.S. corporations routinely export fundamental technologies while simultaneously importing thousands of H-1B engineering and software professionals from the vast pools of technical talent in India and China where the newest R&D centers have been built. And neither are they saying much about the billions of dollars flowing into banking industry bonuses at a time high school teachers in math and science are lucky to have jobs, never mind the mediocre pay. What should be clear by now . . . . policies like these explain rapidly growing deficits, bankrupt governments, and ranks of jobless Americans far more accurately than temporary effects of a recession. We can only hope elected officials soon realize that true superpower status can not be sustained by a superficial debt ridden economy built on derivatives, strip malls, $10/hr jobs, and cheap imports at Walmart.

Posted by: Anonymous | August 11, 2010 9:54 PM | Report abuse

Clearly Americans under this new global order have been assigned one task: to consume, but not produce.
It's an economic equation that's just as lopsided as our trade imbalance. In fact, they're directly related.
Why is that so hard to see?

Posted by: mtpeaks | August 11, 2010 10:00 PM | Report abuse

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Posted by: Anonymous | August 11, 2010 10:22 PM | Report abuse

The US imports 12 million barrels of oil every. At $80 per barrel that is $1 billion per day or $31 billion/month. Over half of our trade deficit comes from buying oil. Instead of doing something to increase domestic supplies, our leaders have suppressed drilling, banned in the Arctic National Wildlife Reserve, moratorium on drilling in the Gulf of Mexico, banned off the West Coast, banned in the Arctic Sea, banned off the Florida Coast. We deserve our trade deficit.

Posted by: Anonymous | August 11, 2010 10:26 PM | Report abuse

Just stop with he other excuses, okay. It's all about job outsourcing. We have outsourced so many jobs, so wrecked our tax base, so crippled our industrial base, tat we don't have a prayer of recovery. I am praying for WORLD WAR III, where the US absolutely destroys our current trading partner's, turns China and India into glass covered wildernesses, and exports death. THAT is what the global parasites deserve and that, believe it or not, is what they are going to get. When this government fails, and it will, it will be replaced by an all American Napoleon and the world will reap the wind. So, incidentally, will todays Wall Street parasites and our political class. Sleep tight, with the thought of guillotines to lull you to sleep.

Posted by: Anonymous | August 12, 2010 12:30 AM | Report abuse

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