February 19, 2013
In banking, consulting, lawyering—i.e., services—we had a nice surplus. That’s what we Americans do now.
Since Bush 1, when some of us began to argue loudly that a mindless ideological pursuit of free trade would imperil America’s industrial base, the total of U.S. trade deficits in goods with the world is approaching $10 trillion—10 thousand billion dollars!
Might this humongous dumping of foreign goods into the U.S.A., killing our factories, and the liberation of our transnational elite to close plants, outsource production, and bring foreign-made goods back free of charge into the U.S. market, have had something to do with killing the middle class?
The U.S. median income stopped growing in the mid-1970s, the same time we began to run 40 straight years of ever-expanding trade deficits.
And how are we doing with China?
Well, if one reads the weekend Wall Street Journal, Feb. 9-10, on page A3 in the lower left-hand corner is a box with a story headlined, “Trade Gap Shrinks 21 Percent as Oil Imports Decline.”
A positive headline, but about December only. In the 10th paragraph, however, was this tiny item: “Although the trade deficit with China narrowed 15.5 percent in December … the year-long deficit grew to a record.”
“Grew to a record”? What did that mean?
Elsewhere, one learns that the U.S. trade deficit in goods with China was not only an all-time record, but the largest between any two nations in the history of the world—$315 billion.
China now exports 6.3 times as much in manufactured goods to the United States, $417 billion’s worth, as we export to China.
Over two decades, Republicans in the lead, America granted Beijing most favored nation status, then permanent normal trade relations. Then we squired Beijing into the World Trade Organization.
And since the courtship began, the trade surpluses China has run with the United States have enriched, empowered and emboldened her so that, today, brimming with ethnonational arrogance, China has laid claim to all the islands in the South and East China seas and is telling the U.S. Navy to stay out of the Yellow Sea and Formosa Strait.
And the free-trade fanatics responsible for building up this Asian colossus challenging us in the Pacific now tell us we must “pivot”—i.e., shift—our planes, ships and troops out of Europe and the Mideast to Asia and the Western Pacific to contain the mighty and mammoth power their stupidity created.
Every nation seems to understand what our baby boomers were never taught. A trade balance is a measure of national power that reliably identifies rising and falling nations.