The August trade figures are out and they are not good. The terrible trade deficit is where the jobs and the economy went but is ignored because it makes a few elites wealthy. Meanwhile our elites are whipping up fears about the budget deficit instead of the trade deficit, because they can use that fear to herd politicians toward a “grand bargain” that cuts taxes on the wealthy and corporations while cutting the things We, the People do for each other.
The Bad News
The U.S. trade deficit widened in August from July because exports fell to the lowest level in six months. The wider deficit likely dragged on already-weak economic growth.
The deficit grew 4.1 percent to $44.2 billion in August, the biggest gap since May, the Commerce Department said Thursday.
Exports dropped 1 percent to $181.3 billion. Demand for American-made cars and farm goods declined.
Imports edged down a slight 0.1 percent to $225.5 billion. Purchases of foreign-made autos, aircraft and heavy machinery fell. The cost of oil imports rose sharply.
[. . .] For August, the deficit with China dipped 2.3 percent to $28.7 billion. U.S. exports edged up modestly, while imports from China fell. For the year, the U.S. deficit is on track to surpass last year’s record, the highest ever recorded with a single country.
The widening trade gap with China has heightened trade tensions between the two countries. And it has become a flash point in the presidential race. GOP challenger Mitt Romney has promised a tougher approach than President Barack Obama with trade practices that he says are giving China unfair advantages.
Two key take-aways:
- We had an international goods and services trade deficit of $44.2 billion.
- The monthly goods deficit with China fell slightly to $28.7 billion from $29.4 billion in July. This is the second highest monthly trade deficit with China this year.
Here is the Census Bureau release.
Here is the Bureau’s Trade in Goods with China.
Trade Deficit Drains Jobs, Economy, Makes Workers Accept Lower Wages
The trade deficit, especially the trade deficit with China, costs jobs and jobs and jobs. From the post, Report On Job Cost Of Trade Deficit With China,
So just how many jobs are lost to trade deficits? A new report, The China Toll, takes a look at the effect of our trade deficit with China since that country joined the World Trade Organization (WTO) ten years ago, and comes up with some very specific numbers. In summary:
“Growing U.S. trade deficit with China cost more than 2.7 million jobs between 2001 and 2011, with job losses in every state”
The trade deficit also drains the economy, and sends essential pieces of the industrial ecosystems out of the country. Note that even if we double exports, as the President is working to do, we continue to drain our economy if this doesn’t catch up to the level of imports. From Trade Deficit – One Root Of Many Problems,
You buy things till your wallet is empty. So you raid the savings account to buy more stuff. Then you get a loan, and buy more stuff. Another loan, another, you keep buying stuff… Finally you’re selling off the tools you had used to make a living. That’s where the country is now because of the huge imbalance in our trade relationships. We buy more from them than they buy from us and we have let this go on and on and on. This is the deficit we should be worried about.
The trade deficit makes workers afraid, so they work longer hours, skip vacations and accept cuts in wages and benefits, which also hurts the economy. From Job Fear From Trade Deficit Is What Happened To Jobs And The Middle Class,
The middle class is disappearing. Our economy is “hollowing out” because the money goes to the top and the people fall to the bottom. This is because we allow American companies to close factories here and open them there, shipping the same goods back here to sell in the same stores, costing jobs, companies, industries and our economy. This makes us afraid for our own jobs and afraid to make waves. By helping a few at the top get fabulously rich, China has essentially recruited our own businesses leaders to fight against our own government – and us.
The trade deficit is the problem we should be terrified by, not the budget deficit. If we fix the trade deficit and jobs that will fix the budget deficit!