USA Today repeats flawed Fed claims about China and imports
In USA Today, reporter Kathy Chu suggests some unexpected “benefits” from U.S. trade with China, and cites a recent study by the San Francisco Federal Reserve. Unfortunately, Chu overlooks some key points about America's lopsided trade relationship with China. The real issue is whether American consumers actually benefit from the subsidized, low price of many Chinese imports.
First, the San Francisco Fed study cited by Chu utilizes a flawed methodology. As economist Michael Mandel explains, measuring total imports by their artificially low cost, rather than the actual volume of goods imported, is misleading when estimating consumer purchases.
Second, America's $270+ billion annual trade deficit with China is a tremendous economic drain that has, according to an Economic Policy Institute (EPI) study, displaced 2.4 million American jobs between 2001-2008. The result: Our manufacturing sector has fallen behind, and U.S. workers have lost good-paying jobs while subsequently earning far less in retail and service positions.
Touting the benefits of “increased services such as marketing and sales” simply obscures the reality of America moving from productive jobs to lower hourly wages in service positions.
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