Trade deficits: Not quite disastrous enough?

Posted by mmcmullan on 09/05/2013

Tomorrow’s jobs day in DC. We’ll be updating the #AAMeter, which we use to keep an eye on President Obama’s promise to pilot the creation of one million manufacturing jobs by January 2017.

But, following Commerce Department data that shows the same old trade deficits persist -- and one big bummer of a new trade-deficit record -- we’re going to reserve excitement for any kind of big jobs bump.

Writes Jon Talton, economics columnist with the Seattle Times:

The monthly trade deficit represents a complex calculus of winners and losers. Hopes that the trade situation might “reset” after the Panic of 2008 were another pipe dream. As to the sustainability of the deficit, it’s been growing for 30 years with consequences that are real — lost jobs and industries, contributing to inequality — but not disastrous.

Emphasis added ... because in this day and age, an American trade surplus would be a jaw dropper. But Talton is right; despite decades of deficits, the economy is still functioning. Yet we’ve lost roughly 5 million manufacturing jobs in the United States since the year 2000. So when will we cross the threshold and acknowledge America’s import-heavy trade stance is verging toward disastrous?

What can you do to help lower the trade deficit? Push Washington to act! Get on your elected officials’ case about supporting H.R. 1276, the Currency Reform for Fair Trade Act, which would hold countries accountable that manipulate their currencies to boost their exports at the expense of our own.

Read Talton's whole blog post covering America's trade deficit here.

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