Debating over chronic US trade deficits: origins and consequences

This is the trap and the magic word set up for us “PROTECTIONISM” that kills all reasonable arguments except going indefinitely into a never ending trade deficit. Everything in life requires some degree of balance which the US has lost and unbalanced individuals like Trump dominate the scene. I do suggest using technology also to rebalance US net financial position vis a vis the rest of the word. I do not wish our grand children to grow in a renminbi dominated world, trust me, it ain’t nice.

Protectionism NEVER works…history is littered with failed countries who tried to stop the twin warriors of globalism and technology.  Two examples in our professional lifetime:

Regarding Globalism, Deng’s stunning opening of China is the most recent example Remember his slogan “To be rich is glorious!” All you can do is participate, and channel the agreement to you advantage.

Regarding Technology, the worst job losses are yet to EVERY sector.  Trading floors in Finance are being decimated. While in the UK recently, I read an article in the FT that  PWC estimates that 25% of all RETAIL jobs (the safe haven for any economy) will yield to technology…from supply chain to customer service….will be lost in the coming 15 years, if not sooner…and this is BEFORE we get to the Tesla-like smart factories.  Value and function are migrating into the CHIP, away from the electromechanical.

“You can t fight the tape.”

Trade deficits carry job losses by definition. You may argue US trade deficits are not due simply to trade agreements which is certainly true, many other factors are at play. Regardless, the rest of the world is so happy to have trade surpluses compensated by US deficits. And unfortunately the US is buying goods from foreigners and selling them assets. If we don’t reverse this cycle, soon foreigners will own the top properties and the top US companies and we all know well that money carries power by the end of the road.

Blaming this country’s job losses on our trade deficit seems overly simplistic.  The manufacturing sector where most of those “trade related job” losses have occurred has been impacted more by technology efficiencies and a strong

It’s no surprise that voters on the right and the left are uneasy with U.S. trade policy—and they have every right to be. For years, the United States has consistently run much larger trade deficits than other developed nations, and we have suffered more trade-related job loss as a result. While growing exports tend to support domestic employment, growing imports costs jobs and reduces domestic output. Thus, the size and growth of trade deficits is strongly correlated with trade-related job loss. Over the last 20 years, trade and investment deals have increased U.S. trade deficits and cost Americans their jobs. The agreement allowing China into the World Trade Organization led to trade deficits that eliminated 3.2 million jobs between 2001 and 2013 alone. Meanwhile, the United States already faces a trade deficit with countries in the proposed Trans-Pacific Partnership that cost 2 million U.S. jobs in 2015—a trade deficit which would surely get worse if the pact is enacted. But lost jobs are just the tip of the iceberg of trade’s broader effect on the economy.

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